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Tag: calm


go-green-engine-ross1DE3E0How 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.


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gong.jpg - 8.46 Kbbell.jpg - 116.11 KbAs I was preparing for my Pre-Grounded classes this week, I knew I wanted to introduce these 4 year olds to something new and exciting. For the last couple of years, I’ve been participating in gong meditations and enjoying them very much. That wasn’t always so.  My first gong meditation was not a pleasant experience. The sound of gong was loud and frightening, almost overwhelming. As I learned more about the gong meditation, I grew comfortable with it and let the sound of gong permiate every cell in my body. Gong meditation is excellent for the parasympathetic nervous system which is ruled by sound. The intensity of the sound puts the entire nervous system under pressure to heal itself. Even though the gong meditation has many benefits, the sound is too much for young children. I decided to use a little bell instead and the bell meditation was born. It was a beautiful experience. 

The children lay down on their backs with eyes closed. A few wanted to be on their bellies and I allowed it. I explained that I would ring the bell for 2 minutes.  I began to shake the bell soft at first and then loud for the next minute or so. I then began to soften the sound until silent. There was not another sound or movement in the room for the entire time. 

When I asked about the experience they all had positive things to share. All agreed that it was relaxing and one child in particular described how she felt the sound of the bell deep inside her body. They were all fascinated and wanted this to be part of the class from now on. My vision when co-creating Pre-Grounded was to prepare the little bodies for a lifetime of yoga practice by planting the seeds into their big souls.The success of this meditation was clear as a bell. Sat Nam.





Atlanta Yoga Movement


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