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.
How does your engine run? It’s a simple question with a simple answer. Grounding red hot engines can be a little more complicated….
I took on a new challenge this summer- teaching 2-3 classes of yoga as a “little therapy” for kids with sensory-based concerns at a week-long day camp that runs throughout the summer- if you’re interested google PEOTSI here in Atlanta. These kiddos primarily have autism. With that in mind, here’s goes….
I begin each group with one simple question, “How is your engine running right now?” (That’s not mine- it’s from the Alert Program, but it’s a good line!) Trust me when I say on day 5 of a weeklong camp, we’ve got quite the array of engines. We talk about what yoga is- the breath, the body, and the brain working together and demonstrate the power of our breath. I hand out breath pompoms (those fuzzy little balls that you can get at the craft store). We explore our breath, noticing that a blue engine breath lacks power. Your pompom can’t really go anywhere with a blue engine breath. A red engine breath has power but it lacks control. A red engine breath sends your pompom off your mat and often crashing into someone else’s space. A green engine breath has power and control. It allows you to navigate your pompom up and down the mat, over speed bumps, and through tunnels. A green engine breath is grounded.
And so it begins…as I surveyed the group today, our engines were running hot! It’s a happy coincidence that red engines benefit from finding some SOLID GROUND. We set out feet and rooted the four corners with our magical glue and began to move through the flow. After a few rounds of moving, and seeing that we remained red, we did a lot of deep sensory input in GO TO YOUR ROOM followed by CALM DOWN. By the second time I called out, “CALM DOOOOOOOWN!” their engines were beginning to look more green. From here it was time to LIGHTEN UP and then find a little earth in PLOW.
With most of my red engines turning green, I turned my attention to those two little sleepy blue engines who were some rather FLAT PANCAKES. (I can’t really blame them. They’ve hiked and been swimming daily in addition to learning to ride a bike without training wheels all while attempting to work as a group.) We ROCKed and ROLLed to hands and knees. Again, it’s a happy coincidence that blue engines benefit from learning to SPEAK EASY. After a few rounds of CAT SCRATCH FEVER and LAUGHTER HERO we celebrated making it onto our own two feet with a LAUGHTER MILKSHAKE.
Since we were now mostly green, it was time to have fun exploring the BALANCE BEAM and a round of 3 poses (I promise to post this game- it’s a group favorite). We ended our practice with I am Happy I am Good.
It’s always amazing to me how by the time we end after the two silent chants, that each child- even those who struggle with the hand movements- is really in the zone. Our savasana may not look like yours, but it does the trick. We meet in DARK SEED LIGHT (for this group, I call it rock). I lead them through a guided visualization exploring the sights, sounds, smells, and textures around their rocks. After 1-2 minutes in rock, they roll up to sitting. We bow to our friends and looking to the good inside each other, we prepare to face the next activity with our green engines. Grounded. NAMASTE.
You’re Up Then You’re Down is in the Twist and Shine sequence of our Grounded Elevator Pose Series. In this sequence, the focus is on the Third Chakra located in the solar plexus, the core of your body. These poses challenge you to exert your personal power and strength of character. Self-esteem is born out of actions and a direct result of the choices we make in life. We feel good about ourselves by acting in ways that show our goodness and represent a commitment to living our best life.
A strong third chakra gives us the courage to trust our gut feelings and follow our intuition. By tuning inward, you access the YOU that is connected to an unlimited source of energy available to fuel your inner fire. Each breath is an opportunity to stoke that fire and begin again. Every moment is an opportunity to say YES to life. Think of all you’ve learned from overcoming obstacles and surviving hard times. Without falling down, you would not know how to rise up. You would not be afforded the chance to pick up the pieces and create a new structure. The difference between something living and non-living is the capability of remaking itself from within. Life is emergent. Getting up is an affirmation of being alive.
Choosing UP after being DOWN is a powerful expression of YES. We vitalize the third chakra and earn self-esteem in the process of living as we face our challenges one at a time.
Begin in Mountain pose. Inhale and cross your right foot over the left. Both feet are touching the floor. Engage your core, powering your entire body. Extend your arms out. You’re up! Exhale with strength as you lower down gracefully into a crossed-legged position. You’re down! Keep your same footing and with steadiness stand up as you take a long, deep breath. You’re up! Exhale back into Mountain pose. Repeat by crossing your left foot over your right. Whether you’re up or down, the choice is yours.