We already know several school counselors who effectively use techniques from children’s yoga in their practice, whether in individual sessions with students or implementing stress-relieving strategies for their schools. Feb. 24th, 2016, Asana Alphabet’s founder Ann Robideaux speaks with school counselors from New Jersey on this very topic. Here’s a wrap up if you missed it! (This e-version created in an effort to not use too much paper!)
Photo courtesy Rich Polk
Yoga from A to Z (or F at least!)
First off, if you were in attendance, remember you can take 10% off with your coupon towards the next intensive training in Hopewell, NJ this April!
Yoga is so effective because it is a holistic science with years of development behind it.
A is for Asana: Asana is the Sanskrit term for any yoga pose. Each yoga pose possesses specific benefits but even beginning yoga teachers can get down some of the basics fairly easily.
A sun salutation from Asana Alphabet teen yoga is a way of giving many different asanas that warm up the body, release stress by stretching the back of the body, coordinate breathing and work on sequencing skills (amongst other aspects). In general, when you are open in the chest, you are energizing the body. In general, when you fold forward, you are in a more calming position. So the sun salutation combines both energies to leave students feeling balanced both physically and mentally. All ages can do this—sun salutations can become more advanced with age and ability.
Counselors in particular may be interested in calming poses. We consider child’s pose to be a magical calming position.
Tree Pose is another pose which not only elicits calm, but requires focus as well.
B is for Balloon Breath and the Body-Mind Connection.
Breath connects the mind to the body and vice versa. A slow, long deep breath allows “monkey mind” to slow down and become calm.
Balloon Breath–for most kids, a vivid image makes practicing and becoming aware of the breath more fun. Check out this video on balloon breath here.
Other breath images: “blow out a candle” “blow dandelion seeds” “blow on a window in the winter”
C is for Community: A good yoga class or practice facilitates an awareness of community and in schools, respect for one another. In yoga, we can illustrate this principle by practicing partner yoga.
D is for Delightful Dancer Pose Indeed many yoga poses, especially those that arch and open the chest and shoulders, elicit a happy response. Try sitting with “good posture” with your shoulders in proper alignment (rather than rounded forward). With practice, the good mood will start to flourish.
E is for Excellence and recognizing our positive qualities
F is for Four Relaxations
- Using an instrument, like a singing bowl or triangle, focus on counting the amount of times it rings while relaxing.
- A spin off on the above, when sound ends raise your hand
- Tense and relax: When you hear the name of a body part, create muscle tension there…then relax when you hear the sound of the instrument.
- Visualizations in deep relaxation –Note that this yoga relaxation is given for adults. You can sub appropriate words for a child for each image, for instance, instead of Egyptian Temple, you may want to use something like “waterfall”. Students can also contribute their own words so they take ownership of it.
Visualization given at the meeting (you can read this as is or make substitutions for other words as you like):
A number of different things will be named now and you should try to develop a vision of them on all levels… feeling, awareness, emotion, imagination, as best you can… pause If you are able to find this vision your relaxation is complete for the time being… and if you are not able to, then you need a little more practice, pause Burning candle… burning candle… burning candle-endless desert… endless desert… endless desert… … torrential rain… torrential rain… torrential rain… snow capped mountains… snow capped mountains… snow capped mountains… … birds flying across a sunset… birds flying , across a sunset… birds flying across a sunset… red clouds drifting… red clouds drifting… red clouds drifting… … stars at night… stars at night… stars at night… full moon… full moon… full moon … wind from the sea… wind from the sea… wind from the sea…-waves breaking on a deserted beach… waves breaking on a deserted beach… waves breaking on a deserted beach… the restless sea… eternal restless sea… eternal restless sea… long pause
We highly recommend the book, “Yoga Nidra” by Swami Satyananda Saraswati for some very thorough explanation of using relaxation to change negative subconscious patterns and for other narrations as are listed above.
This was a short yet information packed PD opportunity. Please consider bringing Asana Alphabet in to help your teachers and staff integrate the benefits of yoga into their classrooms or join us at an upcoming training!