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I love using Yoga, especially Grounded Kids Yoga poses in my role as a certified Peace Circle Trainer with educators. It such a natural fit as the philosophies of both are about tapping into that ever present true or best self. Creating a sacred and safe space for participants to practice using their deep and rich reservoirs of wisdom and compassion for self and others is the foundation of both Peace Circle (P.C.) practices and Grounded Kids Yoga.

Let me back up and explain as a semi retired school Counselor of 38 years who has used circles in classrooms and groups for the last 20 years, I now have the privilege and the skills to train any community group in Restorative Practices, especially Peace Circles. Many schools here in western N.Y. and more specifically the Rochester City School District are embracing these trainings and incorporating them into their school environments in an effort to uplift the school cultures for both students and staff. More and more evidence is now available to show that these experiences build relationships, reduce violence, harm and conflict and when wrong doing does happen using Restorative Practices is a humane way to hold those accountable. Harm can be repaired with this process with support instead of punishing and alienating people, most often students. Its an honor to be a part of this cause and using Grounded Kids Yoga in these trainings is extremely helpful and a wonderful tool to use and to teach others to use for themselves and their students.

BettyI am happy to say I when I began working as a trainer 3 years ago I started using the Grounded Kids Yoga in most of my workshops and now many of the other trainers are incorporating some of the poses as well. I always begin first by briefly explaining the philosophy behind Grounded Kids Yoga as we all know there are many different types of yoga. Since doing openings and closing for every P.C. session is an integral part, I teach participants Just Breathe, “I am”, Lotus Breath and Namaste’. (I also add my own success stories using this yoga with kids.) I explain the mind jar when we do JB and have one available to demonstrate. Many educators have since adopted this for their classrooms and counseling groups. Tree Friends is a favorite to use as a closing (as in the picture above with educators from July 2015). If time allows we do Mountain, Tall Mountain, Breath of Joy and Half Lift. I use a chime for some added mindfulness and talk about ways to use this in the classroom. Dark Seed Light might be hard to do in the classroom but having the kids do a quieting, centering breathing pose with the chime is what I teach educators to use as great substitute and a positive way to facilitate kids managing their own behavior.

The list is growing and I find teachers have become more open to all of these practices as they recognize the value of connecting more with their kids, co-workers and themselves. Its exciting that many of our city schools are actually building in time for teachers to this. By the end of a training they all seem so appreciative for the experiential learning process, feel more connected to each other and are encouraged to have practical and new ways to create a more positive atmosphere in their own groups and classrooms. I walk away so grateful that two of my loves have come together to give me such purpose as well as hope for many of our struggling schools.

 

For more information on Restorative Practices and Peace Circles:

http://www.pirirochester.org/

http://www.iirp.edu/

 

 Part of my practice is to create sacred spaces where I honor my guides, my teachers, a theme, what I am manifesting, what I am inspired by, and what I am teaching.

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This ritual helps me remember my intention, connect to the deeper teachings which I take quite seriously, and to myself {which I don’t }.

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My routine usually entails selecting pose cards or chips, children’s drawings, a poem or passage, photos of my heroes and heroines, and my particular notes and books about the message I am working on to share with my students.  I usually add stones and malas.

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When I gaze upon these creations, I see the world differently and know what I’m opening to.

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When I then close my eyes, I see myself differently. I know what I’m stepping into.

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I hold this space to focus my intention on the best outcome for my creations and projects. It works to enliven and build more life force in my body, lift the clouds of doubt, and sharpen my mind so it can penetrate beneath the surface.

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I start to gain a higher perspective and feel brighter and more clear and present~ and perhaps a bit silly. That just happens to be my wish for the children.

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Joseph Campbell says, ​”​[Sacred space] is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.​”​

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I want my students to experience themSELVES. I do this practice so I can give them that.

Oh, Say Can you See? The Sacred and the Silly~ Please share your sacred {and silly} spaces with us. What objects have you brought together to manifest your creative projects?

Sat Nam

 

Photos by Rachel Schattle & Annabelle Finley, my brilliant and creative interns.

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In X Out X

Yoga with the X

X-pand, X-plore, X-tend

In X In

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In X Out X

Yoga with the X

X-clusive, X-plosive, X-hausted,

Out X Out

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In X Out X

Yoga with the X

X-traordinary, Xpressive, X-hales

In X In

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May All Children X-plore the X-uberant X-periences of X-haling…

Sat Nam

XOXOX

 

 

 

Thank you, India

Thank you, India

for teaching me how to feel in my bones

the truth of my purpose

and my presence

here and now…

DSC02936 - Copy…How to build on my prana, on my vitality behind my communication….

 

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…How to refine my

communication

so it is effective and precise…

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…That I don’t necessarily need to speak the language,

{or even use words}

to share steadiness, compassion and connection..

 

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…I do need to do the {yoga} work beforehand to intuitively tap into the  children’s NEEDS…..

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and collaborate more and more and more with other like-minded individuals. Through what Yogi Bhajan has called the collective pool of intelligence……

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Because wherever passion and inspiration flows, connecting with  others creates an even  greater flow…

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and breathing

and chanting

and laughing

and moving together

is Universal…

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…And moving through the pairs of opposites without struggle or being affected by them is the universal teaching…

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… We need to receive in order to hold space…

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Love is a creative force within us that makes the impossible, possible.

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May we love deeply both which feels like hurt,

and that which feels like nourishment.

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 I bow to the subtle and not so subtle, {more like intense}, teachers inside and outside…

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…especially this one….

IMG_8836…who taught us

NOT to feel sorry for someone,

it’s diminishing and never helps.

Turn that energy into prayer.

Think, “How can I serve them?”

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself feeling sorry for them.

Serve them.

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May we  remember that LOVE is a creative force in EVERY human being.

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Thank you, Somer, Katia, and Kasia for teaching with me.

 Thank you, Somer for capturing the beautiful experience with your camera.

Thank you, India for your Grace.

Sat Nam

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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