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.
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.
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.
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.
When you attend a children’s yoga teacher training, you are told there will be challenging times, there will be moments that you will have to make decisions on the fly about what to do about one disruptive four year old in a class of six and you will be given a handful of coping mechanisms that hopefully will help. You will have your plan and your back up plan, and your plan C in your back pocket, but nothing prepared me for the first time it happened. Nothing. It began as most of my classes did: Ommmmm, the “I am happy, I am good” song, and a “how is everyone feeling today?” check in. I had a grandmother joining the class as a guest with her two grandchildren that were visiting from out of town who were oh so eager to do some yoga. I was excited, they were excited, so far, so good… and then it happened. One little girl in the class began to draw attention to herself in a way she didn’t usually in class. I had a little background knowledge that things at home were currently unstable, so I gave her space to express herself as she became more settled into yoga class.
When she didn’t get the attention from me that she was seeking she stood in the middle of the room and screamed at the top of her lungs with her fists clenched and her eyes squeezed shut. As I brought her to the side of the room (while still directing a game the class was playing) I spoke with her softly and asked if everything was okay and if she needed anything from me. The screaming continued. I was surprised to see how this little four year old screaming right at me triggered me and I felt the heat begin to rise from the bottom of my belly. As this grandmother looked on I wondered how I would handle this. I rounded up the classroom and had them begin the “I am Happy, I am Good” song once more and brought the little girl outside the room in case the energy in the room and the attention from the other students was too much for her. I crouched down and asked her to join me in taking a few deep breaths, this didn’t work, I asked if she needed water, that didn’t work, I explained how this behavior was very disruptive to class and she would need to calm down before she could go back in the room. I left the door open so I could see her and went back in to prepare everyone for Savasana. A moment before Savasana ended the little girl reentered the room and decided that she wanted to join in on Savasana but it was too late, it was time for our closing circle and the screaming started again. I felt the heat in my face as the other students sat quietly to see what I was going to do. From somewhere deep inside I found compassion for the turmoil that was happening inside this little body and how hard it was for her to express herself. I looked at her as sweetly as I could and said, “do you need a hug?” She immediately stopped screaming, opened her eyes to look at me and began to sob and proceeded to walk curl up in my lap for the last five minutes of class while we did our closing routine and cried. Once class was over, she wiped her eyes and helped me clean up.
This moment changed the way I see children that are lashing out. Not that “do you need a hug?” Will work every time, but digging deep to relate to this little being and what they are trying to process outside of class. This is what yoga does. It opens us up to release feelings and emotions that are stuck. This is exactly what it did for this little girl and the only way she knew how to let it out was to scream. I am eternally grateful to her for teaching me this lesson and remind me again why I teach children.
Feed Compassion, Starve Blame
Feed Love, Starve Shame
Feed Smiles, Starve sneers
But whatever you do, don’t feed the Fears!
Feed the Truth, Starve the Lies
Feed Awareness, Starve Denial
Feed Sweet Serenity, Starve Bitter Shouts
But whatever you do, don’t feed the Doubts!
Jordan Schuster (13 year old Grounded Teen) found yoga when she started middle school. She has continued her study of yoga over the years completing her Grounded Teacher Training and obtaining her Green Bandana.
She is dedicated to her Grounded Teen and Adult yoga classes. She helped write the “Grounded in the Courtroom” video and plays District Attorney Anusara. Her Grounded lessons are infused with poetry and story. She is just so grounded in her heart that when she thought about her cousin who is getting married next month, she wrote a poem.
She said, “My cousin and her fiance are so in love; it is adorable!”
The Grounded Poet is on the right wearing her trademark T-Shirt that states “Melt Hearts, Not Ice Caps!”.
Please kiss me forever. Please feel that it’s true.
Please take me to the church and say “I Do”.
Please sweep me off my feet. Please carry me away.
Please ride with me as the sun ends the day.
Please look at me. Please see all of my flaws.
Please love me for only who I am in the raw.
Please show me your heart. Please take mine.
Please know that I love you no matter what time.
Please dream about us. Please remember it’s true.
Please know that I love you. Please know that I do.