Sorry for my absence… I took a few weeks off from teaching and then had a busy week of travel to Saratoga Springs, NY with the nanny fam and then Deep Creek, MD with some friends! This past weekend we celebrated Valentine’s Day with heart openers and wove in ahimsa for a class that can be practiced any time of the year. Since we finished up with the Niyamas last month, we have moved on to the Yamas… or ‘things not to do’ in order to lead a happier and healthier life. Ahimsa is the first Yama, and can be translated to mean non-violence, kindness, or compassion. It seemed pretty serendipitous Valentine’s Day landed on the same week I wanted to discuss loving kindness.
Sick season seems to be in full-effect and our ‘circle time’ turned out to be more of a ‘triangle time.’ I introduced the students to bear grip mudra and led them through the ‘Sending Peace’ exercise found in YogaKids: Educating the Whole Child Through Yoga by Marsha Wening. Bear grip mudra is thought to stimulate the heart and help with concentration. After we filled ourselves up with peace and kindness and sent it out to each other, our families, animals, and people all around the world, we linked arms and took a few group ‘cat/cows.’ Then, we showed each other a little love by giving quick massages. Everyone turned to their right so they were facing the back of the person beside them and rubbed that person’s shoulders and then turned to the left and did the same. We then came on to hands and knees to warm-up with a ‘peace crawl.’
Any exercise that involves a song or a chant is a huge hit with the kids. I learned the ‘peace crawl’ in my Childlight Yoga training and the song goes like this… ‘do the peace crawl, up and down, moving slow without a sound, quiet my thoughts, focus my mind, lets crawl for peace a second time.’ After the second round, you can end it with ‘we can crawl for peace most anytime‘ or you can keep going as many rounds as you wish! While singing the song, we did tiger’s walk (from table top position, lift one arm and the opposite leg.) We then practiced all sorts of heart opener poses, which you can check out on the cheat sheet below. Finally, I tied-in ahimsa by reading The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace.
In the book, students are asked to draw acts of kindness on sheets of paper and then they form a quilt by attaching them to each other. I handed out pieces of paper that had patterns on one side and were blank on the other and asked my students to do the same… brain storm some random acts of kindness they could practice throughout the week and draw a picture of that act of kindness on the blank side of the paper. After we had all drawn four acts of kindness, we tied all of our papers together with some ribbon. I explained how kindness breeds kindness and then had them untie their blocks from the quilt. I gave them some extra sheets of paper and ribbon and encouraged them to take their quilts home and continue to add acts of kindness. We ended class with savasana and I walked around and shook out their ‘spaghetti legs’ to help them release any tension.
Next week, I’ll be moving on to satya (truthfulness) with my Yoga Buds at Avalon in Catonsville and *drum roll please* I’ll be teaching my first class of Yoga Buds at Prana Studio in Annapolis!!! My class times will remain the same at Avalon (Sundays at 1PM) and my new classes will be from 330-430PM on Sundays at Prana! Prana Yoga Studio is located at 2049 West Street Annapolis, MD 21401. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign-up or call the respective studio! Prana (410) 266-3401 Avalon (410) 869-9771
Here is my cheat sheet of the class-