Today I started my once monthly yoga class in Anthony’s 4th grade classroom. The kids were all excited to see me and in the short span of 20 minutes, we got our yoga on! I know Ms. Forzaglia already does some yoga with her class, so everyone was ready and willing.
I started the class by asking “What is yoga?” Many hands shot up and I got: exercise, stretching, relaxing for your body and mind, slow movements and breath. Great words of wisdom and understanding. I reminded them that the most important thing to remember in yoga is the breath, because if we are not breathing, then we are….dead! Giggles? yes….but they get it.
We lay back on the floor and put one hand the chest and a hand on the bellies. I asked them just to breath (breathing in and out through their noses in the yoga fashion) and to then notice, when they breathed in, if the chest or the belly rose up? I mentioned that if the breath was lifting their chests, then they might be nervous, or excited or exhilarated or upset. I then had everyone put their hands on their bellies and with a breath in, we filled our bellies round, and on the breath out, we let the belly get soft. We did this for a few cycles and then let it go.
To get out hearts open, we pressed up into bridge pose, lifting our hearts, hips and chests to the ceiling while at the same time grounding our feet, elbows and back of the head into the floor. Settling back, we brought or knees to our chest and then gave ourselves a big hug.
Coming up to stand, I taught a modified A series which is:
breath in….arms rise above head
breath out…fold forward into a standing forward bend
breath in….hands to shins into a 1/2 way lift
breath out…lowering down into a string plank (or the start of a push-up)…holding there and breathing in, out, in before
breathing out….lowering all the way to the floor
breathing in….pressing up into cobra pose (legs, pubis on floor; arms slightly bent with elbows pulling into the body)
breathing out (and hissing)….to the floor
breathing out….pressing up into Downward Facing Dog pose
breathing in, out, in, out
Looking at hands and either walking or jumping feet to hands
I then turned on some music and we flowed through the A series a couple of times, adding in high then low lunges with a drop back.
One standing pose: Tree pose for focus, calmness and balance. Hands at heart center to create symmetry in the body; hands above the head to increase the belly work and balance.
A one minute Savasana to end class with a short lesson on Ahimsa which is exploring non-injury as a way to achieve harmony with our environment, peace between peoples and compassion within our selves (extending it past bullying, into the realm of positive thinking, self-acceptance and healthy eating).