October 2, 2019
I am in the process of putting more of my yoga online, so bear with me. My next goal is to add voice-over to my videos so that people can be guided through the sets. Today’s set is, accompanied by my son practicing his sax, so enjoy!
Here is the video of the practice and below are all the various chair adaptations for the set. If you have a specific issue and would like a different adaptation, please comment and I will make poses for you.
In this set, the warm-up is timed to about three breaths per movement. I have done the 4 U’s at 5 min. each, but you can do anywhere between 1-11 min each (just remember all segments must be of equal time.) *Not videoed: 10 min. deep relaxation (Allow your body to fully sleep. “I am in a deep sleep. I do nothing”)
Part 1: Prosperity Meditation (3 min): Pictures 1 & 2
~It is so powerful in bringing prosperity that more than 11 minutes would be greedy. This meditation stimulates the mind, the moon center, and Jupiter. When Jupiter and the moon come together, there is no way in the world you will not create wealth.” -Yogi Bhajan
- Alternately strike the sides of the hands together. When the palms are face down, the sides of the Jupiter (index) fingers touch, and the thumbs cross below the hands, with the right thumb under the left.
- When the palms are face up, the Mercury (pinky) fingers and the Moon Mounds (located at the base of the palms) touch.
- Mantra: Har. Chant continuously from the navel, using the tip of the tongue (pronounced “hu-duh” or a rolled “rrrr”).
Part 2: I’ve Got It In My Sight/Caliber of Life Meditation. (3 min) Pictures 3-6.
~Removes depression & discouragement
- Extend arms straight forward, parallel to ground. Elbows remain straight through the whole meditation.
- Curl fingers of right hand into a fist. Extend thumb straight up.
- Wrap fingers of left hand around right, so end of palms still touch and extend thumb straight up, so that both thumbs touch along their sides. There will be a tiny “v” between the tips of the two thumbs.
- Focus eyes on this “v”. Look as if through a eagle eyes, seeing far away and seeing the “v”.
- Inhale deeply 5 sec./ Exhale completely 5 sec./ Suspend breath out for 15 sec. (can increase hold to up to 1 min.)
Part 3: Ego Eradicator with Breath-of-Fire (3 min)
~Ego Eradicator opens the lungs, consolidates the magnetic field, and brings the brain hemispheres to a state of alertness.
Posture: Raise arms up to a 60 degree angle. Keep elbows straight and the shoulders down. Apply Neck Lock. Curl fingertips onto the pads of the palms at the base of the fingers. Thumbs stretched back, pointing towards each other. Feel a rainbow streching over your head thumb tip to thumb tip.
Eyes: Eyes are closed.
Mental Focus: Focus above the head.
Breath: Breath of Fire
Time: Continue for 1 – 3 minutes.
To end: Inhale deeply and bring arms overhead with the thumb tips touching. Open the fingers (like moose antlers), exhale and relax the arms down in a wide arch, feeling the rainbow expand.
Part 4: Peaceful Heart (2 min)
Warm fuzzy happy glow for you
Cross one hand over the other at the heart (try right hand on top and then left the next time; notice). Breathe long and deep. Bring the positive energy into your heart. Share it.
Sun Salutation Variation with Warrior Series
- Mountain, Up Mountain, Look Up To Hands, but keep them straight up *First notice your feet. Step hip distance apart. Big toes are slightly turned in towards each other. Knee is tracking the directions set by the line between second & third toes. Sit and stand a few times. Make sure the knee do not fold inwards or splay out; keep them aligned with your toe line.
- Utkatasana, Flat Back (1/2 Way Lift), Forward Fold
- Lunge, Lunge w/ Arms Up, Low Lunge
- Plank var. 1, Plank var. 2
- Downward Facing Dog var. 1, Downward Facing Dog var. 2
- Cobra, Upward Facing Dog
- Wide Legged Forward Bend, Twist var. 1, Twist var. 2, Twist var. 3
- Head Stand variations #1 fingers interlaced, pressing firmly on the crown of the head. This contraction helps to build strength in the shoulder complex.
- **Headstands are invigorating and revitalizing, resulting in increased positive energy and mental vitality. Headstands also improve circulation and balance.
- Crescent Lunge Set-Up, Crescent Lunge **I found in this instance, that trying to turn my back foot out into Warrior 1 caused tweeking in my hips and obliques, so I chose to do Crescent Lunge, a straight back-leg.
- Warrior 2, Archer, Dancing Warrior
Kriya/The Four U’s
Originally taught by Yogi Bhajan on July 5, 1984
This is the set of “U.” It invigorates you by adjusting your Pranic Body with your Auric Body in direct contrast with the Ardine. These are called the 4 U’s and they are “for you.” Anytime you do these, you need to do a deep relaxation afterwards.
“The ‘4 U’ kriya sets the nervous system to withstand pressures of society and challenges of times. Do each posture for 11 minutes for 11 days without moving a muscle and this is said to create nerves strong as steel—’stainless steel forever.’ This kriya also works on eliminating fear and developing greater spinal flexibility. Different people will function at individual levels of development and capability. Therefore, though the full time for each posture is 11 minutes, practice according to your individual ability.”
-Mukta Kaur, SuperHealth
- U #1 variations
- U #2 variations
U #3 & #4 variations
I was inspired to create a chair yoga sequence with the aim to create healing energy for realignment physically, mentally and emotionally for a friend of mine, who is recovering from a Tibial Plateau Fracture . Not only does a physical injury throw the body out of physical alignment, like the game Topple where every little shift away from center creates the need for the body to readjust itself to be balanced. The left compensates for the right, the right compensates for the left and back and forth it goes. Like in the game, though if too much weight is shifted to one side, it topples over. In the human body, this can lead to other injuries, depression and general deterioration of health.
Yoga’s goal is to balance body, mind and spirit. It uses various modalities to affect the positive effect on the physical body, the emotional state, the state of consciousness and the energetic impression , but not solely through postures that are often unattainable for injured, stiff, elderly and physically disabled persons. I realize one of my gifts, is to help bring movement and balance back to these bodies, inside and out. I feel my yoga creates a safe space for healing, flying, dancing….wholesome goodness to create a pathway for self-healing.
The Sequence (click here for video of the sequence)
- 5-Minute Breathing (each section 1 min; between each section, release the nostrils and breath deeply several times with both nostrils):
- Breathe only with the left nostril (male, calming). Block of the right gently.
- Breathe only with the right nostril (female, fiery). Block the left gently.
- Breathe in with the left and out with the right, only.
- Breathe on with the right and out with the left, only.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing: In with the left, out with the right; in with the right, out with the left
- If you have trouble inhaling or exhaling, with a finger, gently lift the area on your face, near the cheekbone, on the same side as the nostril. Lifting that area can open the sinus passage and allow for freer breath. You can notice this in the accompanying video of the sequence. Before beginning the next exercise, take a moment to make sure your feet are aligned properly-big toes slightly in so that the outer edge of the foot is parallel with the outer edge of the mat. Feel the triangle beneath the foot between the pads of the big and little toes and the center of the heel. Notice that the knees should follow the same line created between the second and third toes.
- Spinal Flex (2-3 min)
- Suffi Grind/Coffee Grinder, both directions (2-2 min)
- Side Twists/Washing Machine (2 min)
- Shoulder Shrugs (2 min)
- Lazy Neck Rolls, both directions (1-1 min or 2-2 min)
- Alternate Leg Stretches (2 min)
- Life Nerve Stretch with Breath-of-Fire (BoF) , both sides (1-1 min or 2-2 min)
- Downward Facing Dog (2 min)
- Bridge (2 min) or 12-26 times
- Ego Eradicator w/ BoF (1-3 min)
- Healing Meditation/Rest (5 min)
- Triple Mantra by Bachan Kaur*
- Aeo (pts 1 & 2) by Brian Briggs
- Circle by Adam F.
- Expansions by Lonnie Liston Smith
- Brazilain Rhythm (Fearless Mix) by Mondo Grosso (esp. good for Breath of Fire)
- Life Is Something Special by NYC Peech Boys
- Bah Sama (Yoruba Soul Mix) (esp. good for Breath of Fire)
- Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung by Ajjet Kaur**
*Aad Guray Nameh, Jugaad Guray Nameh Sat Guray Nameh, Siri Guroo Dayv-ay Nameh (Surrounds you with a power shield of protection)
Aad Such Jugaad Such Hai Bhee Such Nanak Hosee Bhee Such (Clears away obstacles that block your personal growth)
Aad Such Jugaad Such Hai Bhai Such Nanak Hosee Bhai Such (All obstacle remover)
**Ra Ma Da Sa, Sa Say So Hung is the healing meditation used to generate healing energy for friends, family, ourselves, the planet.
July 15, 2019
- Ego Eradicator
- Forward Fold
- Reverse Plank
- Alternate Leg Lifts
- Seated Meditation
Sit in a close-knit circle; everyone should choose a partner. If you have groups of 4, Patty Cake (if not enough people, switch to Rararara, Mamamama, Ramaramaramarama, Sa Ta Na Ma in partners)
- Gratitude Hands w/ Clockwise Hip-to-Head Circles (see above)
- Hold Hands in Silence (whole group holds hands; no one is left alone)
- Cactus Arms & Spirit Fingers w/Counterclockwise Circles (see above)
- Dance: Punjabi Style; Freely: Add Clapping
- Patty Cake (would like to try it with Rockin’ Robin)
- Ong Namo by Shakta Kaur Khalsa
- Ek Ong Kar by Tina Malia
- Brazilian Rhyme (Fearless Mix) by Mondo Grosso
- Hey Hey by Muete
- Naive Melody (Young Edits Sophistaicated Melody Version) by The Talking Heads
- Chattr Chakkr Vartee by Nirinjan Kaur
- Hallelujah by Jai-Jageesh
- Heartbeat by Taana Gardner
- Shake The Mind by C Cat Trance
- Adidas To Addis by Cut Chemist
- Har by Snatam Kaur
- Har by Tera Naam
- Rockin’ Robin by Michael Jackson
- Rararara, Mamamama, Ramaramaramarama, Sa Ta Na Ma
- Fantasia Inca by Various Artists
- Fantasia Inca by A. Caste
- Long Time Sun by Paramjeet Singh & Kaur
Dance In The Schools- Day One: What is yoga?
Dance In The Schools- Day One: What is yoga?
(Included at the end is a classroom/home assignment: How to make a Happiness Collector)
Funded by both Dance In the Schools and Friends of Baldwin, I am thrilled to be back for my sixth year at the Maria Baldwin Elementary School, Cambridge, MA, teaching my own Always Be Dancing Adaptive Movement program with their amazing second grade classrooms. This year, they have three second-grade classrooms and I am able to see each group 5 times. Having this opportunity to grow each year with the students and staff is priceless. Also, I love seeing the past participants who are now in third, fourth or fifth grade. Whenever they see me, they jump into tree pose or even strike a flamenco pose (as I also integrate my program with flamenco). This school has great community spirit and I love the diversity and how it is celebrated.
Good Behavior In Yoga:
Good Behavior In Yoga Class:
I deliver the rules verbally, also pointing out that they can read along that there is a picture for each rule that shows what I am asking them to do. That way there are many ways to help them remember the rules.
I stay on my mat. This is so each child has personal space. We take a moment to look at our mats, the size, the color… I asked them to think of a color that makes them feel happy. Holding an imaginary Hula Hoop, we then cover our whole mat, including ourselves, with a bubble of this color. Inside our bubble we feel happy, good and safe.
I listen with my ears. That way they can hear the directions that are being given
I watch what my yoga teacher is doing. I remind them that I will most likely being doing what I am asking them to do, so if they watch me, they will always know what is being asked of them.
I try my best to do each yoga activity. Yoga is about trying, noticing, feeling. Just give things a try and if you need help…
If I need help, I can ask my yoga teacher. If one child needs an adaptation of an activity, we all do it. Its just something else to try!
If I need a break, I can take Child’s Pose or I can sit quietly on my mat. OK…a big one. I stop everything here and I go through and teach what I call the “three resting poses” First, I teach Child’s Pose, have everyone take a breath or two to feel this pose in their bodies. Then we roll forward onto our bellies, for Crocodile Pose, everyone needs belly-time! Once again a few breaths to feel the pose. Then we flip over onto our backs, and I teach Gingerbread Man Cookie Pose. This is the traditional savasana pose. Take our breaths. When we all sit back up, I ask them to think about which pose was the most restful for them because I will ask them later during class to do that pose.
I use a quiet voice. Enough said!
I keep my hands to myself. (OK this one should really be up by “staying on your mat” That will be on the updated poster!) Here I bring back the color bubble. Keep your hands to yourself. Do not pop anyone’s bubble….
After the rules (I only do this one time but I bring the board each week as a reminder, classes started with belly breathing. A great way to begin! I am a strong believer of breathing in and out through the nose, as an exhale with the mouth actually feels like a balloon that is losing air too fast (insert “balloon deflating too rapidly” sound here….FFFRRRAAPFT). I encourage breathing in through the nose, as if you are smelling a lovely flower and then letting the air gently leave through the nose on the exhale. It is more calming this way. Of course, there are two exceptions. If you have a cold/allergy or if you feel nervous and it makes you uncomfortable to breath that way.
One reason I bring yoga into classrooms is to help students and teachers that yoga is an accessible safe choice towards embodying self-control. Yoga is all about the self. Yoga is all about what it feels like inside your body. Only the individual knows what is feel like because no one else is inside another person’s being. The individual knows what is safe, what makes them feel good and how to calm themselves down. With increased self control, classrooms can flow more smoothly and teachers do not have to be noise/distraction monitors. For sure, yoga is not a cure-all, but it is one very accessible, adaptable and enjoyable tool for a person’s emotional intelligence tool kit.
Class begins with the ringing of the chime. Sometimes the best way to start class is form a relaxed and calm position to pave the way for better focused minds, bodies and energy. We inhale on the ring and allow the slow breath to release as we listen to the echo of the sound. Each child gets a turn. And with each chime, we focus our attention on the sound and on our breathing.
I will continue to use the bell as a way to bring back focus to the class. I want them to understand the difference between silent and noisy and stillness and movement. We all get a bit noisy, making silly sounds, talking, wiggling and then suddenly I ring the bell. The room quiets down. Of course, I made need to ring it again, but usually one ring is enough. Sometimes I play with the level intensity at which I ring the chime (loud vs soft), so they really have to be alert for its sound.
What is yoga?
relaxed & feeling good
stretch to become flexible
breathing to calm
Each class came up with similar responses, but the one I really liked was “getting flexible”. I love how it implies an opportunity for growth, for change. Just what yoga is about!
Jumping right into a short sequence:
Cow/Cat (adding moos and meows)
Downward Facing Dog (with barks)
Cobra (with hisses)
Child’s Pose (giving hand options to help the children figure out what feels best for them: under the forehead, fist-on-fist or hands by feet, palms up)
Now asking the students if doing that little bit of yoga make them feel calm/good/happy or like they were getting more flexible? I refer back to the word list they created and use them. I often throw in the question, “Is being able to touch your toes or do a backbend the only way to show that you are flexible? You might need to direct them away from more physical action descriptions for flexibility then someone can come up with alternative ways to be flexible (i.e. mind, energy)
One of my favorite yoga books and the one I have been using the longest is My Daddy Is a Pretzel by Baron Baptiste. It is a great kicking off point for basic yoga poses.
The kids think the title is hysterical and I immediately tell them to create their own version of a pretzel yoga pose: tie yourself up, twist and curl any which way.
What I have found is that the real focus of the book is in the varied types of jobs the children in the story say that their parents do each day. There is a gardener (tree), vet (downward facing dog), architect, (triangle), pilot (airplane), builder (bridge), farmer (plow), marine biologist (fish), works in Africa (lion), baker (pretzel). These jobs open up our ability to talk about what these job’s actually mean you do and kids either know or can piece together these answers by looking at the accompanying pictures. To make my teaching fully inclusive and to make sure I can make any adaptation necessary, I teach going into and out of poses my own way, so I do not use the accompanying pose descriptions. That way I can adapt and grow each pose organically with the group, rather than follow a set path. At the end, of course, we get to try another “make-your-own” pretzel pose. Lots of laughs and then I offer up the resting pose choice. We take a short resting moment.
One of my favorite moving meditations is “Yogini Went To Sea” by Shakta Kaur Khalsa (for only $9.99 you can buy the album Happy through iTunes). Shakta is the first children’s yoga teacher I studied with and she taught me the invaluable lesson of allowing your self to grow with each experience and also, she recorded the only recorded yoga songs that I use in my classes!
Classroom/Home Assignment: Create a Happiness Collector.
A Happiness Collector is a jar, bucket, basket or any other receptacle you choose where you put in small piece of paper that have on them written or drawn things that make you happy. These things can be anything that make you happy. They can be something that you did, that you saw or that you had done to you.
Choose your Happiness Collector
Every day take a moment to remember something that made you happy.
Write it down or draw it on a small piece of paper. Fold the paper.
Put it into your Happiness Collector.
Messages can be read whenever a bit of sunshine is needed, at the end of a week etc…
Children can be prompted with a phrase such as “I feel happy when I _________.