Last night, at teen yoga, we spent our time summing up all the yoga decks that we have used (in the past 3 years of yoga). Some of them are store bought (i.e. Yoga Pretzels: 50 Fun Yoga Activities for Kids & Grownups and Yoga Planet: 50 Fun Activities for a Greener World) and others are ones that I have created due to necessity –yes one day, I’ll get them published and they’ll have catchier names (i.e. Balance Class Series Cards; Beginners Yoga Class by Numbers Cards; Yama & Niyama Cards; Affirmation Cards and the Affirmation Card Class Series).
We started with the Affirmation cards, talking about how to be good to ourselves by saying nice and uplifting things to ourselves and to others, tying in nicely to something we talk about later when discussing the Yamas & Niyama-Ahimsa-non-harming. What I do is save greeting cards and I look through magazines for affirming phrases and pictures. I gather these all up and cut out sayings, pictures etc… and glue them on small pieces of cardboard
- Be inspired
- Shine On
- Do What You Love
- Your Future Is yet To be Written
- Life is Beautiful: Choose Your Own Path To Happiness
- I’m Beautiful Inside and out
- Life is Nothing Without Friendship
Start by siting up tall hips stacked on top of sit bones, waist on top of hips, shoulders on top of hips, ears over shoulders, head lifting from the back with the chin slightly dropped-so the back of the head feels lifted but with a floating quality-kind of like a bobble-head toy.
How to perform the mediation with the mudra (hand position):
On Sa touch the pad of your index finger to your thumb-pad; on Ta touch the pad of your middle finger to your thumb-pad; on Na touch the pad of your ring finger to your thumb-pad; and on Ma touch the pad of your little finger to your thumb-pad. Apply a little pressure every time you touch the fingers. Continue moving the fingers throughout the exercise, even during the silent part.
Sa – Index finger to thumb – This means Wisdom and Knowledge
Ta – Middle finger to thumb – This means Patience
Na – Ring finger to thumb – This means Health and Energy
Ma – Little finger to thumb – This means Intuitive Communication
“Everything grows and then it changes, Comes back around in another form, The seed to the tree, tree to the earth, Earth to the seed and then it’s reborn” Lyrics by Shakta Khalsa.
What made this time especially fun, and we found a great way to keep our focus, is that we chanted in time to music. For this, I chose Stars-Sleep Tonight (Junior Boy Remix). We started slow out loud-in for the count of 4’s then 8’s and then we jumped the time, then shifting to whisper, then in our own heads. I loved hearing the girls voices. The whisper was the best, each sound like a little puff of air. It worked well with the song which has a nice groove .
We then brought out the Yama & Niyama cards and talked through each one:
Yamas: Paying attention to other living things:
Ahimsa– non-harming (physical; verbal; thoughts; non-judgmental; just do your best; acceptance…)
Satya– non-lying (Honesty is the best policy; Be honest with yourself; Create a more objective reality… )
Asteya– non-stealing (Don’t take what is not yours: items (jealous?), ideas (eavesdrop?), attention (steal the spotlight?), energy, Be mindful of your space!…)
Bramacharya– self-control (Behave; Achieve your personal best; show respect for others; Listen; Control appetite & desires; Eat better; Maintain anger & reactivity…)
Aparigrha– non-coveting (People who covet have a deep-rooted insecurity and a lack of self-esteem. Appreciate your own and others special gifts and talents
Niyamas: Paying attention to ourselves
Tapas- zeal for yoga
Svadyaya- study & introspection
Ishvarapranidhana- wholehearted dedication
Next: Child’s Pose and all its glorious benefits!
Next: Yoga Planet Cards: I broke the cards up into their 5 elements and then handed the packets out. We could choose one or two poses from each of the packets we had. We then put them together to form a sequence and each person read out loud and lead their cards:
Air- Breathe to calm, focus and nurture yourself
Earth- Build a foundation of strength
Fire– Become inspired with passion and conviction
Water- Be soothed and refreshed
Space– Find time to unwind and think
This is what we came up with:
Air: Sounding Breath (we practiced our ujjayi breath with fogging up an imaginary mirror by breathing out and saying “ahhhh” and then trying the same breath but with our mouths closed. We noticed how the breath now escaped , in a sense, from the bottom part of our nostrils. **This has become one of my favorites!
Earth: Flower (feel each stage and allow your body to droop, then grow into the pose)
Fire: Lion Breath (Or as we renamed it “Leaping Cobra Pose”)
Earth: Joy Breath (awesome breath with movement sequence. We actually were grinning while we did this and laughing!)
Water: Wash Away (let go of something you want to let go of) & Tap In (add something you want more of) **another new favorite of mine!
Space: Eagle Wisdom (legs crossed and arms in a self-bear hug)
Space: ½ Moon (was chosen because we had worked on this against the wall the week before and this was a free flying one!-so enlivening)
Space: Mini Savasana
Next: Yoga Pretzel Cards:
I broke the cards up into their delineations and then handed the packets out. We could choose one or two poses from each of the packets we had. We then put them together to form a sequence and each person read out loud and lead their cards:
Breathe– tune in and focus
Game– be playful and creative with friends
Balance– feel poised, composed and aligned
Stand– become stable, strong and grounded
Forward bend– reach, release and flexibility
Back Bend– be supple, open and trustful
Twist & Stretch– twist, turn and extend
Partner– have fun working together
Time In– unwind, rest and revive
Here is what we came up with:
Breathe: Bear Breath (We found this to be so relaxing. A definite tool for our tool box of things we can do to activate the relaxation response!)
Game: Yoga Pretzels (Each took turns calling)
Forward Bend: Dog (3 legged and a simple flip dog)
Stand: Dancer into Airplane
Partner: See Saw (gently)
Back Bend: Supported fish
Twist & Stretch: Lying Twist
Time In: Special Place Relaxation