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.
Fiona, age 6 is a deep Grounded Kid. Her artwork shows us that sheep put their mind into their body. We can learn to do the same.
Practice cat scratch fever to find the place in the middle. Pause there to breath deep like a sheep.
Baa, Baa, Deep Sheep,
Have you any space?
Yes, Sir, Yes, Sir
in the flow of Grace;
Curve my spine upwards,
Curve my spine down,
Then pause in the middle place
feeling safe and sound.
Stay soft and still inside and face the world connected to your mind/body.
As Earth Day approaches this year, I am struck by what it means to truly foster Peace on this planet. I remember as a child, learning about anti-nuclear protestors who chained themselves to fences and were forcibly removed and jailed. These brave souls became my heroines and heroes in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. I was moved to tears singing Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind” and hearing stories of civil disobedience and the message of non-violent resistance. Later in the 1990’s, when I danced barefoot on Earth Day, a lump would form in my throat when I celebrated each small victory (and the Gigantic Hearts) of environmental activists who sacrificed so much to save a single tree and worked to preserve open space for our children’s children. Peace.
Last week my seven year old son earned his yellow bandana as a Grounded yogi. Much moved, I watched him tell his yoga students a story. He described a girl who wanted her father’s attention during her father’s important meeting. The father wished to keep his daughter occupied, so he tore off the page of a magazine with a picture of the Earth and ripped it into pieces. Knowing that his daughter was not very adept at geography, he was certain the puzzle would keep her busy for quite some time. The little girl happened to notice that a picture of a person was on the back of the picture of the globe, so she simply put together the picture of the person and then flipped it over to display the completed picture of the world. Her father was astounded at how little time it had taken her to complete the picture, so he asked her how she did it. She replied, “It was so easy, Daddy! Just turn it over and look at the other side.” She further explained, “I put together the person, and the whole Earth came together, too.” Yoga teaches us that we can bring peace to the planet by first accessing the peace within and then sharing it with others. Peace.
Today my heroines and heroes are the children to whom I teach yoga. I am inspired by their stories every day, and I am moved to tears and action as we celebrate together. I dance barefoot with them and piece together the puzzles of our lives. These brave souls teach me how to stay aligned on (and with) the Earth, how to sing, and how to stand up for what is right and true.
One such messenger wrote the following statement about what YOGA IS…. She inscribed this message of Peace in about five minutes. When she shared her words and her Gigantic Heart, I felt a lump form in my throat, and I was reminded of how imperative it is to continue to spread this peace to others. And, so today… I pass along this third graders message to you. Peace.
Yoga is Peace. No fighting is involved. As you stretch out, you realize how peaceful it is. It is also love. Pure love is a light inside of you. In your dreams it makes a warm glow in your heart. As the light spreads, peace and love spread. It spreads all over the universe. War stops. The injuries are cured. For a moment, there is no such thing as rage or wounds. The light can only be spread by your peace and love. Practice this strategy in yoga. I dream of a world full of love and peace. A world without rage or wounds. And that can only be true if you start it. The warm light is glowing. More people are starting yoga.
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti… and Happy Earth Day, too.
1. HAVING A SECURE FEELING OF BEING IN TOUCH WITH REALITY AND YOUR PERSONAL FEELINGS.
2. A FIRM FOUNDATION TO BE INSPIRED AND INSPIRE OTHERS.
Two weeks ago my Grounded class wrote letters of congratulations to Emily, who had just earned her White Bandana. She’s nine years old and lives in Atlanta. The kids in my class were amazed that at just nine she had achieved this. They were inspired. The letters they wrote were thoughtful, complementary and from the heart.
Let’s refer to the second definition of Grounded. Katie is in my Grounded class and has earned her Red Bandana. She is just 6 and only writes her name, but loves to draw and is quite an artist. She was not disappointed when the others wrote the congratulatory letters, because she sent an amazing piece of art. Let’s move to the very next week’s class. It was the day before Thanksgiving and she brought her friend, and they were the only two in class. After Katie taught her friend the Solid Ground Flow, we got out our gratitude journals. I was over the moon when I watched her write in her journal. I think the picture tells the story!
That’s what Grounded does. Emily in Atlanta was inspired to work hard for her White Bandana, my kids were inspired and wrote her letters of congratulations and Katie was inspired to WRITE. And I just realized I was inspired to write my first blog!
How will you inspire others today?
It all began one morning while following Grounded Yoga’s Facebook page. Co-Founder, Amy Haysman posted a super cool picture of Deepak Chopra’s “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheros” that peeked my interest. On the cover of Chopra’s book is a new super hero with the world in her hands and with text that reads, “Harnessing Our Power to Change the World”. I had to go further and research more about the book and the author. In his book, Chopra teaches us that by exploring the boundaries of energy and awareness, allowing us to better understand ourselves and our potential, we are capable of changing the world. Yes! Of course!! This made total sense to me. So, I decided to take on the challenge of saving the world by tapping into my own Chakras. I found that I was becoming more grounded, more creative, more present, and more aware of my surroundings than ever before. My soul just opened up! This was only the beginning of my Chakra Adventure! I had to take what I was learning into my classes. I taught a six week Chakra System series to children ages 4-11 Super Hero style! It was Chakrariffic!!
Kids LOVE tapping into their super powers!! Discovering the different levels of activity each Chakra has and igniting them through yoga is life changing! When we gain more balance and become more energized our super powers become stronger helping our senses work more clearly. Just as Hulk, Spider-Man , Wonder Woman, Wolverine, and Supergirl all have super powers…We do too!!! When we ignite these super powers life becomes more blissful!! Just ask Chakra-man.
The Red Chakra forms our foundation! “KA-BOOM!” It is related to our survival instincts and the ability to live in the present moment. Breathing in LIFE!! When tapping into this Chakra we feel more secure and rooted! The Orange Chakra connects us to others through our feelings, desires, and movement. “OM-POW!” It is related to creativity and the ability to express ourselves clearly. The Yellow Chakra is known as the “Power Chakra”! “ZAAAP!” It rules our power, independence, and energy level. The Green Chakra is related to our ability to feel centered and peaceful. “Zing!” The Blue Chakra bridges the body and mind and is related to talking and self-expression. “OM-BAAM!” The Indigo Chakra is about insight and visualization. “THWAP! And, the Violet Chakra is about wisdom and awareness. It’s related to our spirituality! “NAMASTE!”
I taught the Chakra System during a 6 week series. We learned about a new Chakra each class and created our very own Chakra Super Heros by the end of the series. Our heart centered word throughout the lesson was “bliss”. Anusara Yoga founder, John Friend was asked in Yoga Journal Magazine’s September 2010 issue if he was happy. He answered, “Yeah, I’m blissed out! I’m dancing better with the Divine all the time.” I want to be blissed out!! I think we all do!! When we tap into our super powers we reach blissfulness. “Chakraaariffic!”
Be on the lookout!! In January of 2012, Grounded Yoga’s NEW Lesson Plan Series on the Chakra System will be available for purchase. To go deeper, these oh so awesome energy centers will also be available on Grounded’s website in worksheet format for students to color.