This activity came out of a need to define shinning inner light. The
concept seems vague to some kids so I wanted to find a way to connect
emotions with yoga movements in a concrete way. Doing this activity is a
way for kids to verbalize their good qualities. Some kids are very familiar
with their dark sides, and they only hear adults point out what they do
wrong. They have to be able to identify their light sides and what they do
right before they can shine their inner lights. Once they have a few
concrete images to focus on, I think they can shine these attributes as they
do the yoga poses.
Here is a simple art activity for a class with the theme of shining your
inner light, the light within.
1. Remove the label from a water bottle and cut off the bottom.
2. Cut up the sides to make “rays of light”.
3. Have the child describe his/her positive attributes and write each on a piece of torn
4. Glue the tissue paper on the rays.
5. Ask the child to choose one yoga pose from either the pose chips or pose
stickers that best represents the attributes on each ray. It can be a pose
in which he/she can let that quality shine, or a pose the child needs to do
to work on that attribute.
6. To add on to this, ask the child to put the yoga poses in order to make a yoga flow. Add transitional poses if necessary.
7. This is a great activity to support Grounded kids in the Quest for Elevation as they can teach their flow to one another or the entire class.
8. Use a suction cup in the center or tape to hang these Rays of Light in a window to catch the sun and illuminate.
“Whatever follows I AM will find you.” This sentiment can be expressed in so many ways. “Like attracts like,” “Energy follows thought.” However we choose to express it, the belief that our thoughts influence how we feel, act and interact in the world is undeniable. This idea is a rich theme and one I’ve explored deeply in Grounded classes. The following activity can serve as an introduction, a culminating project, or an ongoing art activity throughout a class series. These beautifully telling photos are from a special 3 hour Grounded gathering with some of my long time students and a few brand new ones.
Discuss this concept with your students. Create a list of all the different emotional states they can think of. Share examples from other decks of cards (see resource list). Make sure that the students understand it is natural and important to feel the whole gamut of emotions and that this deck is to serve as a reminder of who they are at the core of their being. A good example to guide this understanding is that the sun is always there, even when it is hiding behind clouds in a thunderstorm. Talk about the power of affirmations. Have the students pick one particular positive heart quality word and ask them to remember a time when they felt that way. When was it? Where were they? How did it feel in their body? Who were they with? Incorporate as many senses as possible into the recall. Repeat this guided visualization often during the process of creating the deck of cards.
What You’ll Need:
- Index Cards – 11 or more per person.
- A box to hold the cards. I used a small gift box typically used to hold jewelry.
- Watercolors & Paint. I included metallic paint.
- Markers & Pens.
- Examples of affirmation cards and a word bank of heart qualities for inspiration.
- Paper for brainstorming.
- Time & space to create.
What To Do:
After brainstorming on paper, write or paint the “I AM” statements on individual index cards. Illustrate and write a sentence that further explains the statement on the same side of the card. Design the other side of the all of the cards alike.
If you’ve never used an affirmation deck or angel cards, I suggest doing so before leading this activity. Then you will be able to incorporate your own experiences and lessons and teach from an authentic place. There are many ways to use the cards. Some people pull a card each morning as a message for the day. Others use the cards to help tune inward to find answers for specific questions.
These Create Your Own Deck of Cards are intended to empower kids with the knowledge that they are in control of their thoughts and innately good, worthy human beings.
How To Use:
Shuffle the deck until you have the urge to stop. Turn over the top card, read it and contemplate the message. While shuffling, if a card happens to drop from the pile, take it as a sign that it is meant to be your card. You can’t make a mistake with these cards because they operate with the law of attraction. This means that you will always pull the card that is right for you at that moment in time. The cards validate what you already know to be true and help you manifest the awesome life you were meant to have.
Music: “I Am” sung by Guru Singh. Album, A Game of Chants
“I Am The Light Of My Soul” & “I Am Happy” & “Sa Ta Na Ma” sung by Snatam Kaur. Album, Feeling Good Today
“I Am Happy, I Am Good” by Shakta Khalsa. Album, Happy.
“I Am What I Am” Grounded Pose (click for ideas)
I Am: Why Two Little Words Mean So Much by Wayne W. Dyer, Kristina Tracy and Stacy Heller Budnick (Mar 15, 2012)
I Think, I Am!: Teaching Kids the Power of Affirmations by Louise Hay, Kristina Tracy and Manuela Schwarz (Oct 15, 2008)
Manifest Your Magnificence (64 Affirmation Cards for Kids 6-12 Years Old) by Susan Howson and Mike Polito (2002)
In celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday we learned how to work our feet and our hands. Just as Suess’ Mr. Brown Can Moo!, Mrs. Cat can MEOW! In “Mrs. Cat Can Meow! Can You?” A Poem of Wacky, Wonderful Noises – While Clawing the Mat we allowed our inner animal out on the mat while paying close attention to our hands and feet. Are they wacky? Are they flat? Are they clawing the mat? When practicing this wacky flow while making Suesserrific noises you too will learn the importance of clawing the mat. In playing “Stop Foot, Go” (a zany spin on the all time favorite game, Musical Chairs) and studying the 4 corners of our feet we checked on our left foot and our right foot making sure they were fuzzy fur feet. While “Roaring”, “split – splatting” and “meowing” along with Mrs. Cat we learned that when our four paws are aligned we feel more steady, more grounded, and in balance with the universe.
To push ourselves farther and to study our hands more thoroughly, we used a block in forward fold
throughout this silly flow and colored a Feet and Hands coloring page inspired by Grounded teacher, Vanessa Braun’s Mandala picture.
Mrs. Cat Can Meow! Imagine That?! ~ A Poem of Wacky, Wonderful Noises – While Clawing the Mat
by Kelley Sue Hardin
(Inspired by Dr. Suess’ book “Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?”)
Oh, the wacky, wonderful sounds
Mrs. Cat can make!
She can sound like RAIN
In I Am What I Am
Dop, dop, dop
She can sound like a LION
In Pride Plank while clawing the mat
She can sound like a DOG
In Down Dog
Ruff! Ruff! Ruff!
She can whisper, whisper
In Dark Seed Light
Like the soft whisper of a BUTTERFLY
She can hover over her mat
And spread her wings
FLAP!, FLAP!, FLAP!
While lying on her belly
In Flat Like a Pancake
With fingers spread wide
And her back puffed up
She can HISS!
She can CLAW!
She can stick her tail up in the air
And MEOW! MEOW!
In Cat Scratch Fever
She can sound like a HORSE
KLOP! KLOP! KLOP!
In No Table Yes
She can sound like THUNDER
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
In Go To Your Room!
She can even slam the door
She can sound like a CLOCK
In Do The Twist
While moving her hands
Just like this… Tick, Tock
She can SPLIT!
She can SPLOT!
She can sound like a BUG
In Baby Got Back
Oh, the wonderful sounds
Mrs. Cat can make.
All while clawing her mat.
Why don’t you try them out?
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.
We teach kids and teens how to find humor in every day life and how awareness leads to amusement in even the most mundane places. This event took place this morning and it’s what I taught in my Grounded class this afternoon. I shared the story, taught the poses and we had an awesome, authentic experience. The kids were inspired to write down their own personal stories and the poses that prepared them to handle real life with ease. They loved using the pose stickers to illustrate their writing. Find all the details about these poses and more in our box of 84 Grounded Elevator Series Pose Cards. Enjoy!
I was at the post office this morning at 8:30 am GET UP, which in itself is funny since I’m a night owl and it’s summer and I abhor standing in the long lines. So much so that I use stamps.com (worth it!) and my own postage scale and printer. However, this particular package was international and I did not have a customs form at home, nor could I figure out the correct form to print from the USPS website. NO WHINING. My son runs every morning with his team and the park is across from the post office so I decided to beat the crowd and go on the way home from picking him up. WARROR III WITH INTENTION. He’s a champ to agree to sit in the hot car after running 8 miles. Anyway, it’s early and I’ll just be a minute. TWISTED TOGETHER. I packed up our wonderful Grounded materials at home using an official Flat Rate box, WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK, and carried it in, happy to see that there was only one person in line. GRATITUDE. It was even my turn before I had a chance to finish eavesdropping on a conversation between a city police woman in full uniform, including a holster packed with two guns, a taser and two containers of mace/tear gas or something that would surly knock some sense into anyone fighting this extremely well armed woman. DON’T ROCK THE BOAT. She was telling a post office employee that she had filled out a card for her mail to be forwarded while she was away but has since lost the paperwork and can’t remember the address to which she had her mail forwarded. ? . LAUGHTER MILKSHAKE. With a smile, I approached the older gentleman behind the counter and looked for his name tag in order to say hello. He didn’t have one because, as I soon figured out, he was new. NICE TO MEET YOU. I put the box on the counter and told him that it was ready to go to Australia other than the customs form and postage (the amount of which I already knew because it was a Flat Rate box and the website lists the prices for international Flat Rate boxes.) TRIANGLE WITH WISDOM. “Well” he said, “I’m not sure which customs form to use but it’s gonna cost a lot since it’s going all the way to Australia.” HOLD ON A MINUTE. I asked him to please find out about customs and I would gladly step aside to complete the form because by now, from the sound of violent breathing behind me, I could tell someone very cloaked was in a hurry. ROOT TREE RISE. While my post office man went in the back, I turned around just in time to see the mouth breather raise her hands and shout at the before mentioned police woman and her post office person “Our tax dollars at waste!” CAT SCRATCH FEVER. The officer replies “You got somethin’ to say to me?” PLAYING WITH FIRE. The human brain is the most amazing computer ‘cause I can’t even count how many scenarios ran through my head at that instant. YOU’RE UP THEN YOU’RE DOWN. My man returns with a form just as she who may snap at any moment throws a floppy white envelope on the counter and stomps away yelling for him to mail the stupid package. GO TO YOUR ROOM. Without missing a beat, my mail man calls out for her to “have a nice day” with all the innocence of someone’s first day on the job. RECTANGULAR RELATIONSHIP. So, with wide eyes, I take the form and ask if I could possibly have a few more to take home so that the next time I need to mail something internationally, I can already have the form completed. TWIST AND TARGET. He tells me that he doesn’t know if that is allowed because he is new and I send things all the way to Australia, but that I can find out on the USPS website. JUST BREATHE. I’m processing this info and hearing Australia over and over in MY mind but with Oprah’s voice when another employee steps out of the back and hands me a stack of forms. My man, the new guy, then asks for some help since he’s never mailed anything to Australia before and he wants to give me the best price since it’s heavy and going all the way to Australia. OOMPA LOOMPA. I feel compelled to remind him that it is a Flat Rate Box, but it is too late. They are already discussing the options. BRING IT ON. I decide to go fill out the form so I missed out on the end of that conversation. It ended rather quickly because before I entered the description of each content, the other employee screamed to all 2 people in the building, me included, “does anyone need to pick up a package from the back? Pick up a package from the back? Anyone?” FORWARD FOLD. This shout out continued every few minutes for the next 40 minutes, no matter how few (1) other people were there. DOUBLE CHECK. I bet you are wondering why I was in the post office for 40 more minutes. Here are the ingredients to the rich icing on my not so easy bake post office cake. FLAT LIKE A PANCAKE. 1 new guy, 1 pair of tiny reading glasses, 1 extremely long customs form, 1 rule that all handwritten custom forms must be entered into the computer, 2 hands but only one finger typing, 3 beeping sounds from the computer after each incorrect entry, a package in a Flat Rate Box weighing 11.3 lbs going all the way to Australia and 1 yogini with 11 years of practice. ROCK N’ ROLL. So, I wait and I breathe and I observe and I stretch and I connect and I AM WHAT I AM. Today I was at the post office for 45 minutes to mail our inspiring materials to a woman in Australia ready to receive and get grounded. NETWORK. They say that when you start practicing yoga you either transform or quit. I’ve become aware of the LIFE in life. The humor, the diversity, the commonality, the joy, the depth, the darkness, the vibration of people’s energy, the Grace. I’m GROUNDED for LIFE and loving it.