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.
Last month I finally broke open my Pose Chips from Grounded Yoga. Okay, now how to use them, I thought. It just so happened that I was launching a new class that night called, “Girls Night Out” (8 – 12 years) and that I had a full house of 18 (some of which Iʼd never met). One of the main intentions for this new class was to create a space for girls to come together and connect. So, what a perfect opportunity to use the Pose Chips as a tool to do so. As the girls were arriving, I came around and placed a pose chip on their mat. I asked them to keep it safe for the whole night. Once everyone arrived, I introduced the “Pose Chip Icebreaker – Get To Know You Game” and hereʼs how it works:
1. Everyone begins in a seated position.
2. One by one, ask the children to stand up, say their name, read their pose chip and show the group the posture.
3. Remind the rest of the children to pay attention and remember which pose goes with which person because they will soon be tested!
4. After about 6 – 8 children, pause the group and say one of the childrenʼs names who introduced themselves. That person is to remain quiet in a seated position while the rest of the group shows you the posture that went with the selected personʼs name (I like to use a bell to cue them to sit back down after practicing/showing you the posture).
5. Continue to say several more names (one at a time), asking the rest of the group to show you which pose belonged to that person.
6. Carry on with the remainder of the group, asking each person one by one to say their name, read their pose and show the group the posture.
7. Once you have gone through everyone, resume to testing the children by saying one personʼs name and asking the rest of the group to show you the corresponding posture!
Not only is it a fun “get to know you” game but it is also a great warm-up as the children move in and out of a number of postures!
Near the end of the night we break out into a full on yoga dance party! The children are asked to either hold onto their pose chip or remember their pose for the dance game. When the music plays, the children dance freely around the room. When the music stops, they freeze. For the first person, I say a name and they show their pose. The rest of the group follows and does the posture. After that, the person who was first selected choses the next person by tapping them on the shoulder during the dance movement.
When the music stops, the newly selected yogi does their pose and the rest of the group follows. It keeps going in this way as each new child selects another to show their pose when the music stops. Another great way to use the Pose Chips! Thank you for reading.
Vanessa Braun, Storyoga Instructor
In the busyness of life, we tend to get contracted, even with our yoga practice. We want to be aligned, with good form and practice these principles in sequential order. At times, all of those details can bog us down. Bring playfulness into your yoga practice and think of it like a game. See what part of you is winning in certain poses. Pick three actions to focus on:
1.Rock solid steadiness 2.Spacious, full, bright, paper-smooth breath 3. Scissoring the midline
The directions for Warrior 1 Up are here, but don’t stop there. Think Rock, Paper, Scissors with each pose and notice what becomes more clear.
Have you ever head the term “The Ground Truth”? Spies say it when they want to know what really went down, no cover-ups and no interpretations. Apparently in life or death spy situations it’s important to know the ground truth in order to move forward in the mission. In NASA, the ground truth is part of the calibration process where a person on the ground makes a measurement of the same thing the satellite is trying to measure at the same time. The two answers are then compared to help evaluate how well the satellite instrument is performing.
Both definitions relate to yoga in that we aim to be transparent and finely tuned. John Friend explains that “In practicing and teaching Anusara yoga, the intention is to align with the flow of Grace, to awaken to the truth that our essential nature is part of this divine flow, and to lovingly and joyfully serve this flow.” In Grounded, we teach kids how to recognize this Ground Truth about themselves and each other so that knowing they are divine, tapping into their authenticity and serving the world from that sincere place is just a way of life. By the time we are adults, many of us are afraid to own our light, let alone shine it as bright as we can and finding our personal ground truth is hard work.
It’s easier to just not see things about ourselves (did my words crush your spirit?) or the world (genocide didn’t end with the Holocaust) or those we pass on the street (we are connected). Too often we only reveal whatis already protected and only open up to what we’ve prepared to handle. Awareness is only the first step. Upholding the truth takes warrior like courage and dedication.
The ground truth is that we all have tremendous power AND the responsibility to uplift one another with our words, influence politics and create peacethrough our actions and connect in a soulful way with strangers.
To set intentions for the New Year join us in listing the truths you’re willing to be a warrior for. What do you already know for sure and what ground truths will you seek in 2012? To state the obvious, finding the ground truth begins with being grounded. As the spies would say, this is your mission should you choose to accept it.
Prepare your body and mind for this mission with the Grounded pose, Warrior III with Intention. From Straight Leg Lunge inhale and stretch your arms forward. Stay parallel to the floor with your palms together. Interlace your fingers, extending your pointer fingers for the Intention Mudra. Exhale and lift your back leg as you shift your weight forward, both legs straight and strong. Inhale and hug into your midline, the center of the body where your core truth exists. Exhale and extend from your core in all directions so that your intention is powered by truth. Release back to Straight Leg Lunge. Jump switch and repeat on the other side.
The Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling has many meanings. I have found the meaning to be Love Conquers All But as you look more closely at the inner-workings of her books you figure out that each book represents a different Chakra. Chakras are energy centers located along the midline of the body.
The first chakra represents stable family roots basically our foundation. In the first book, Harry doesn’t have a family and feels unwelcome. His chakra is under active. He was forced to live with his magic hating relatives- The Dursleys. They have a son Dudley who has an over active chakra. He is very greedy and bullies Harry. When Harry found out he was a wizard and got accepted into Hogwarts, he went there on instinct, not knowing what to expect. He heard Professor McGonagall say, “While you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts”, and knew he had found his home and balanced his first chakra.
The second chakra represents identity- the idea of knowing who you are and expressing that. When the second book begins, Harry is still struggling with the idea that the Sorting Hat thought he would be great in Slytherin, but put him in Gryffindor because he asked him to. He is very withdrawn and hopes to figure this out when he gets to Hogwarts. But, the Chamber of Secrets has been opened by the heir a Slytherin (or so they say) and a monster is petrifying Muggle borns. When Harry discovers that he shares characteristics with Slytherin himself like talking to snakes he is even more confused. Finally while rescuing Ginny from The Chamber of Secrets and defeating the monster the sword of Gryffindor come to him through the Sorting hat. He then figures out he is a true Gryffindor. Dumbledore tells that the Sorting Hat placed him in Gryffindor because it’s not your abilities that make you who you are; it’s your choices. Harry then balances his second chakra.
The third chakra is the power chakra. When Harry Potter comes to Hogwarts in the third book, he faces his biggest challenge yet, Dementors. Dementors are the guards of Azkaban- the wizard prison- and there’s a reason that no one ever escapes from Azkaban. Dementors are soul-sucking monsters. They make you feel like you can never be happy again. They basically take away your third chakra. The only way to defeat them is to cast the Patronus Charm. Harry’s teacher Professor Lupin trys to teach Harry that charm, but it is extremely difficult because you have to feel happy and in control. You have to balance your third chakra and not feel indecisive and timid. It is especially difficult for Harry because the dementor brings back memories of the night his parents died. Harry finally masters the spell when Dementors attack his godfather, Sirius Black. And therefore balances his third chakra.
The fourth chakra is the heart chakra and is related to our ability to be centered and peaceful. Harry starts his fourth year by being entered in the Tri-Wizard Tournament, a competitive sometimes-deadly game between three schools. Someone at this school entered him illegally. The only thing that keeps him in the competition is the love for his friends and school. At first he is distant towards the people who try to help him in the tournament but then he learns he has to open up to those around him in order to compete well. When Harry and a fellow contestant Cedric Diggory get sent to a graveyard to be killed, Harry shows compassion toward Cedric when he dies it helps him escape the graveyard alive. He then proceeds to win the tournament and balance his fourth chakra.
The fifth chakra is related to talking and self-expression. It allows us to communicate. When the fifth book starts Harry is afraid Lord Voldemort possesses him. He is afraid that everyone around him will get hurt and is silent even towards his friends. He even trys to run away. Eventually thanks to his friends and some jokes and laughter from Fred and George Weasley he was able to communicate effectively and talk about it. He has balanced his fifth chakra.
The third eye represents the sixth chakra, its all about the mind and visualization. In the fifth book, Voldemort was able to go inside Harry’s mind and send him untrue pictures. When the sixth book starts, Harry is unable to close his mind to Voldemort, so Dumbledore gives him lessons to help him balance his sixth chakra or master his mind. The lessons help and Harry completely balances his sixth chakra and masters his mind.
When you think of the seventh chakra, you think of spiritually and a higher self. When I first read the seventh book I didn’t really understand it. I thought that Harry just came back to life because Dumbledore let him. But as years passed and I kept reading the book over and over I finally understood. It really represents the 7th chakra. Its all about higher beings and life or death. It also ties together the true meaning of the book which is love conquers all. It even conquers death sometimes. That is a great lesson to learn.