Today I had the awesome opportunity to work in Ms. Sands Special Ed. Classroom. I worked with 5 students and a number of aides and Ms. Sands. Everyone was so receptive to my yoga class and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
I started class by asking the students to tell me what they thought yoga was. They all agreed that yoga was exercise. I added that along with yoga being energizing, that it also had the ability to calm you down. I said in yoga it is important to breathe because life is breath and that proves that yoga and life go hand-in-hand. I explained that in yoga it is very important to keep a still body to allow us to focus our minds.
We started today’s practice by doing Belly Breathing while sitting in easy pose. For Belly Breathing, when you inhale through your nose, you fill your bellies up round and when you exhale through your nose (although sometimes the first few breaths do need to be exhaled through the mouth); you let your belly go flat. Three large belly breaths and the focusing began. I also had them do “Bumble Bee Breath”, which is where you breath in though your nose and then covering your ears with your hands, hum as you exhale through your nose. This is especially effect for blocking out too much external disruption because when your ears are covered and you are humming, that is all you hear and is very calming.
Onto hands and knees for table top, hands below shoulders and knees below hips, where we did Cat and Cow’s. Inhale and round your belly up and look at your belly button as you inhale, curve you spine down and pull your shoulders back as you exhale for Cow.
Curl toes under and press up into Downward Facing Dog Pose on a good exhale. We picked up one leg and then one arm at a time for different variations of 3-Legged Dog.
Curling back into Child’s Pose, we took three calming breaths.
Standing now in Mountain Pose, we raised our arms above our heads and looked up at our hands and then slowly curled down to touch the floor in Standing Forward Bend. We let our heads hang heavy and nodded and shook them to release any tension.
Standing upright again, we took Chair Pose, which is a very powerful pose and uses a lot of leg and abdominal strength. Arms up, we tried to make out bodies look like lightning bolts. And then with an exhale, we relaxed again into Standing Forward Bend.
Putting our right foot forward, bending the knee to as close to a 90 degree angle as possible, arms above head, Warrior I Pose; hands to heart center, open arms wide (facing sideways) Warrior II Pose. Repeat on left side.
Lying on our stomachs had and elbows on the floor by our chest, we pressed up into Sphinx Pose, which are a chest opener and a back bend.
Seated now with our legs in front of us, Seated Forward Bend and then one leg extended at a time (with the other leg bent into the straight leg to create a triangle), Seated One- Legged Forward Bend. This pose mimics the standing pose we did next of Tree Pose, as they got to visually see how there leg would be bent while standing.
We then stood for Tree Pose and with great stillness of body and concentration on a fixed spot across the room; we balanced on first one leg and then the other.
The final pose is Savasana (Corpse Pose) which I said was the most difficult yet the most rewarding pose in yoga. We lay on our backs, with our arms resting by our sides, palms up. We let our bodies completely relax for 3 minutes to reap the benefits of our yoga practice and to allow for stillness of mind body and soul.
Wiggling fingers. Rubbing palms together and placing our warm hands over our closed eyes, we opened our eyes to allow the light in slowly. Then curling up on the right side for a moment, we took a comfortable seated position. Hands at heart center to compete our own circle of energy, we said Namaste (The light inside of me shines to the light inside of you) to end our yoga practice.