Focus Five: Prepare to Thrive and Feel Alive

Written by

Lillarose, Grounded Student, Age 10

(Grounded elevating student since age 3.)

It was a rainy day… A perfect day to do yoga to set my day straight and to breath in my emotions.  Sometimes we feel happiness, sometimes we feel sadness, sometimes we feel joy and even stress.  There is good stress and there is bad stress.  It’s okay to feel these emotions.  Let’s honor them all, let’s talk about it and let them guide us to be the best we can be.  The Focus Five Prepare to Thrive sequence will help anyone who needs to be calm, relaxed or to become more confident.

FOCUS FIVE

I like to think that each finger has an emotion.  Think that the thumb has happiness.  Breathe in happiness and send out light.  The pointer finger has sadness.  Breathe in sadness and allow the light to embrace the darkness, shining out.  The middle finger has joy.  Breathe in joy and send out light.  The ring finger has stress.  Breathe in stress and allow the light to hug the darkness, sending out light.  And, the pinky finger has love.  Breathe into love and send out love to the world.  When you breathe and press your fingers together you are breathing in all these emotions.  Feeling happiness, sadness, joy, stress and love are all natural emotions.  Embrace them all and honor the dark, sending out love, light and comfort.  When you exhale you are allowing them out and they go into other people’s breath and out into the world.

LOTUS BREATH

Imagine flowers… Like a Lotus flower, they are calming.  They grow in dirty waters, but are really pretty.  If you are in a difficult situation remember the Lotus.  You can always rise out of the muck and bring beauty to any situation.

WASHING MACHINE

In this pose, let your head and shoulders relax.  You will go in circles and in different directions just like life will take you.  Try to close your eyes in this pose.  Imagine life taking you somewhere.  Somewhere with a cool breeze and a gentle cycle.  Then, do it one more time with your eyes open and in the opposite direction.  Think about where the world is taking you.  Allow the water to rinse away all the dirt that is holding you back from living your life.

WAKE UP MOUNTAIN

Imagine yourself as a mountain… Strong and with a cool breeze.  Imagine you are that mountain.  You are feeling all the seasons (the spring, summer, winter and fall) in one swoop of wind.  Bring your arms in with an inhale and feel the wind inside you.  You will realize how beautiful it is.  When you move your arms up, exhale and allow the wind to breeze through the world for others to experience.

LEFT BREATH RIGHT BREATH

Imagine on one side you are breathing in your doubts.  On the other side, you are breathing in confidence.  With both sides there is a goodness… even the doubts.  The doubts help us push through to learn how to be more confident.  Stand tall and strong.  You are who you are.

FOCUS FIVE: PREPARE TO THRIVE

These cards are perfect to use on a rainy day, a sun shiny day or any given day.  Color, practice and breathe to prepare to thrive.

The singing bowl is just the thing to help you focus, clear your mind and set the day straight.

The One and Only Ivan Family Yoga

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Each year Little Shop of Stories, a bookstore in Decatur, has a city wide reading initiative called On the Same Page.   Readers of all ages enjoy the same book and for several weeks, activities are planned for the schools and the community leading up to the grand finale which is a guest reading by the book’s author.  The selected book for 2016 was The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

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The One and Only Ivan was inspired by the true story of a silverback gorilla, who spent 27 years of his life alone in a cage in a circus themed mall in Washington. After Ivan was featured in a National Geographic special he was placed on permanent loan to Zoo Atlanta where he was finally able to be outside and live contently with other gorillas.

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Grounded Teachers completing Refine your Teaching Step 3 earned their green bandanas with a service learning project by combining literature, music, art and yoga into a Family Event.  Participants (adults and children 4+) were invited to connect with their inner Ivan, Julia, Stella, Ruby and Bob on the mat and then create their own inspired piece of art by drawing with their breath.

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Almost 100 participants arrived at the Renfroe Middle School gym on a Sunday afternoon.

Parts of the book were read aloud as instrumentalists from Winnona Park Elementary played music to accompany poses that symbolized the characters in the story.

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Ivan the Gorilla- An artist with patience

“I am Ivan. I am gorilla. It’s not as easy as it looks. People call me the Freeway Gorilla. The Ape at Exit 8. The One and Only Ivan, Mighty Silverback. The names are mine, but they’re not me. I am Ivan, just Ivan, only Ivan. Humans waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot. Everyone knows the peels are the best part. I suppose you think gorillas can’t understand you. Of course, you also probably think we can’t walk upright. Try knuckle walking for an hour. You tell me: Which way is more fun?”

*Down dog – knuckle walk*

“I am mightier than any human, four hundred pounds of pure power. My body looks made for battle. My arms outstretched span taller than the tallest human. My family tree spreads wide as well.”

*Chest beat – tall mountain*

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*Sa Ta Na Ma – I am what I am – I am friendly, I am brave, I am patient, I am real*

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“My visitors are often surprised when they see the TV Mack put in my domain. They seem to find it odd, the sight of a gorilla staring at tiny humans in a box. Sometimes I wonder, though: Isn’t the way they stare at me, sitting my tiny box, just as strange?”

*See It From My Side *I See It From Your Side*

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Stella the Elephant- Old and Wise

“Stella says she is sure I will see another real, live gorilla someday, and I believe her because she is even older than I am and has eyes like black stars and knows more than I will ever know. Stella’s trunk is a miracle. She can pick up a single peanut with elegant precision, tickle a passing mouse, tap the shoulder of a dozing keeper.”   *Warrior 1 Up, Warrior 2 With Clarity, Triangle With Wisdom*

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“A good zoo,” Stella says, “is a large domain. A wild cage. A safe place to be. It has room to roam and humans who don’t hurt.” She pauses, considering her words. “A good zoo is how humans make amends.” *Soapbox Freedom*

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Bob the Stray Dog – Street smarts

“Bob is a stray, which means he does not have a permanent address. He is so speedy, so wily, that mall workers long ago gave up trying to catch him. Bob can sneak into cracks and crevices like a tracked rat. Bob is tiny, wiry, and fast, like a barking squirrel. His tail moves like weeds in the wind, spiraling, dancing. Bob’s tail makes me dizzy and confused. It has meaning within meanings like human words. “I am sad,” it says. “I am happy.” It says, “Beware! I may be tiny, but my teeth are sharp.”

*Dark Seed Light, Down Dog, No Whining, Flip Dog, Double Dog Dare*

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Ruby the Baby Elephant – Young and playful and curious

“Stand back, everyone!” Mack yells. “We’ve got a new arrival. This is Ruby, folks. Six hundred pounds of fun to save our sorry butts. This gal is gonna sell us some tickets.” *Rock and Roll*

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“Ruby pokes with annoyance at her roped foot. She takes a breath. “Ivan? Do I have to do the shows with Mack today?” *Calm Down*

“I think of Ruby’s endless curiosity, and of the questions she loved to ask. Have you ever danced with a tiger, Ivan? Will your fur turn blue? Why doesn’t that little boy have a tail.” *We Will Rock You*

Julia the young girl with a dream to free Ruby and Ivan

“Julia is ten years old. She has hair like black glass and a wide, half-moon smile. She and I have a lot in common. We are both great apes, and we are both artists. Julia’s drawings are wild with color and movement. She draws things that aren’t real: clouds that smile and cars that swim. She draws until her crayons break and her paper rips. Her pictures are like pieces of a dream.”

*Camel, Play with Fire, Laughter Hero, Do the Twist*

The afternoon ended with a Breathe and Draw art lesson.

We breathed back to back..

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and drew with our breath..

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“It was a day of collaboration, connection and celebration of a compassionate book.

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Thank you Katherine Applegate for the story.

Thank you Little Shop of Stories for the collaboration.

Thank you Sarah Coleman for the Renfroe Middle Gym

Thank you Kelley Sue Hardin for capturing the radiance of the day.

and Thank you Grounded Teachers for Grounding and Elevating this day. Great to be on the same page with you all…”

~  Sat Nam….Cheryl Crawford

See this link for more information about On the Same Page.

 

http://weareonthesamepage.org/about-the-book

 

UP-UP-UP With a Fish!

At the local Barnes & Noble families joined together for storytime and yoga to celebrate Dr. Suess’s birthday and Read Across America Day.  I was inspired by Dr. Suess’s “The Cat In The Hat” and Co-Founder, Cheryl Crawford’s Grounded Blog Post, “Suess Sutra 1-1: Big Picture Play of Conciousness”.

We tuned into our highest Self and listened to our small, limited and fearful side, inviting both to play with one another in a little game of “UP-UP-UP With a Fish!”. In Cheryl Crawford’s blog post, “Suess Sutra 1-1: Big Picture Play Of Consciousness” we are reminded that once we tune into our Highest Consciousness we begin to understand why we are here and where we should go. Our Highest Consciousness watches over us and helps steer us in the highest direction. By creating a lesson with a series of poses families invited their Highest Self (The Cat) and limited Self (the fish) to play together. By doing this we created space within ourselves by getting wider with each breath in and taller with each breath out. Now that’s elevation!

“Look at me! Look at me! Look at me NOW! It is fun to have fun, but you have to know how.”

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Close your eyes if you wish and breathe into your heart. Lets introduce 3 tricks along with the Cat that will help the fish along the way. Take a deep breath in through your nose. Breathe into your heart. Breath out through your nose. Continue to follow your breath. By bringing your hands together and placing your pinky and thumb fingers together, opening your three middle fingers in Lotus Breath lift the fish Up-Up-Up and support him along the way. Remind him that he will not fall,

“Have no fear!
You will not fall.
You will not fall.
I will hold you up high…”

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Yoga By Letter: L

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In L Out L

Yoga with the L

Listen, Look, Love

In L In

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In L Out L

Yoga with the L

Lame, Limited, Lazy

Out L Out

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In L Out L

Yoga with the L

Laughter, Luminous, Liberty

In L In

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In L Out L

Yoga with the L

Lousy, Labeled, Low

Out L Out

 

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We practiced Loving~Kindness in yoga club today. We began with finishing up our Loving Letters from last week.

Caroline wrote a letter to her fourth grade friend who is stressed out~
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Dorian wrote a loving letter to his teenage sister who has been worrying about grades~

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Lauren posted two letters in the hallway for her fellow fifth graders. She shared that many of them feel sad and let down.

IMG_8423Isabel crafted a note to her dear friend Charlotte who is still sick. We sent Charlotte healing energy and love~
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Anaiah and Zoe created this pose called Feet Forward.  We were all inspired to give ourselves a lovely foot massage and practice partner poses.

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And then we ended class with Energy Circuit and sent healing Love to Rachel in Oregon.
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May all Children

Love and Be Loved

Sat Nam

 

Yoga By Letters: K

Letter-K

In K

Out K

Yoga with the K

Kickstart Kinetic Kindess

In K In

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In K

Out K

Yoga with the K

Kicking, Killing, Kvetching

Out K Out

We practiced Kindness in our Yoga Club today~first being kind to ourselves and then with partners, and finally with others who are not in our club.

We breathed into our hearts and then partnered up and breathed into the back of our hearts because sometimes the kindest thing we can do is be quiet, listen and breathe for someone who is suffering.

Allie wrote this anonymous letter for someone to find unexpectedly.  She placed it in the teacher’s workroom.

IMG_8363Get Up Pose Chip Letter

Lola created this advice for her 4th grade teacher who is moving next week.

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Amala wrote a note to her teacher and placed the pose chip with directions in a special package.

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Isabel wrote a letter to her sick friend who couldn’t be at yoga club today.

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And Anaiah wrote a special note to her mom. She also told her mom that there is no such thing as too much kindness. {Heart}

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Next week we will reveal more. Inspired? Purchase pose chips and send notes to your friends!

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Sat Nam

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