Sunday, September 28, 2014

Yoga for baseball championship

The Juneau All-Star baseball team headed to Sitka for their championship games and to give them the competitive edge I led them in group yoga - on the ferry! Try doing a standing tree pose as the ferry turns and rocks! The boys went on to win their division championship - was it the yoga? We will never know.....

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bridges and tunnels

Raya's first bridge
Today I taught the kids how to do bridges. I was going to do the half bridges but they all seemed ready for full bridges! I positioned them, then said I had an invisible string tied to their belly button that was pulling them toward the ceiling. I pulled the string and they all just popped right up - much to all our surprise! Soon the idea was hatched to make a tunnel - and the boys would crawl under the girls tunnel and girls under the boys tunnel. They had so much fun! For svasanna today I did a visualization where they were all lying in the bottom of a small boat floating down a canal under bridges. The bridges each had a color of the rainbow painted under  each one and they imagined the color as they floated under them.

Arielle's first bridge

Sandra's first bridge

Joe's first bridge

Boy's tunnel

getting ready for girls tunnel

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lotus, back rubs and pillow talk

 Yoga this week was filled with lots of group exercises. Sometimes when the classroom has a lot of issues, I tend to pack yoga with exercises that promote cooperation and consideration of others. Like the back rubs. Some were doing it too hard so each person communicated how much they wanted. Sometimes touching each other releases chemicals in our bodies that feel good and connect us to others. They had fun as usual!
Donna the lunch lady taking a one minute breather from washing dishes!

the closest one could get to full lotus in our class!

hissing like cobra snakes!

back rubs all around

pillow exercise - breathing full enough to raise the head on your stomach!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sunflower, crocodile swamp challenge

Yoga today was filled with group activities. We started with a foot massage - we each grabbed both our feet and started massaging our big toes. I told them about reflexology - how your big toe is connected to your head through a series of vessels. They wanted to know all the feet connections! I pulled it up on my iPhone and we worked our way down our feet massaging all parts of our bodies. We then made sunflowers by pulling our mats into a circle. We started in childs pose and then went up into cobra and made lion sounds. Next we circled up and played a game of quiet observation. Everyone sat in a circle with their eyes closed - then one person was tapped and they tip toed around the circle and found someone else to tap and switched places. At the end, everyone opened their eyes and they were sitting in a different spot in the circle.
Next was crocodile swamp. All the kids laid down with their hands over their necks. One person tried to step across without touching an alligator. If the alligators were touched they came up and roared. Of course some roared even when they weren't touched because roaring is fun. This caused some conflict. We will work on this game again.....
meadow tiptoes through the alligator swamp

quiet observation game

superhero pose

waterfall - we always do an inversion to bring blood to the head!

sunflower pose

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bow and arrow of love

This week was fun as we continued our exploration of pranayama breathing techniques. We started with talking about the breath and how important it is for life. Then I explained that Pranayama meant "life breath or life force." We talked about taking in fresh air and releasing stale and stagnant air. We blew our noses and did some breathing by holding one nostril on inhalation, then switching holding nostrils and exhaling. They had to focus on this and coordinate. When they are thinking and focusing, they aren't making lots of noise!

yoga challenge pose. We got a book with tons of poses in them and we looked at what seemed to be an impossible pose. A man had his knee over his shoulder! Impossible the kids said! I said - let's just try it. At first I just let them experiment on their own and then one student screamed he'd done it! The other kids tried and they could sort of do it too! I thought this was a good exercise in trying things even though they seem impossible. It wasn't a pose they could injure themselves on and hopefully it opened them up to new possibilities in seeing things.

cat and cow pose with animal sounds

pigeon pose- one of the most difficult

squat pose

one student couldn't resist the urge to jump up from squat

We created bows and arrows with our feet and hands - boys were using killing language initially, then I said they were shooting bows and arrows of love. They shot me and I swooned in happiness. They switched to this game!

they all want me to take their pictures in poses - it is motivating I guess. They also like to look at them and I think it is a good mirror for them. I also see adjustments I could have made that maybe I didn't see in all the chaos that sometimes becomes my class.

I led them on a magic carpet ride in svasana today. They requested it unanimously. We went to the South Sawyer glacier, slid down the glacier as it was calving, and sailed back over the channel. I also imagine us getting wet so I can spray the rose water on them - they never know where it will be, this time it was from the blow holes of whales - I told them it smelled like herring. (I was kayaking once and a whale surfaced near me and surrounded me with the smell of herrings. It was both terrifying and exhilerating.

A few kids couldn't help but try and open their eyes during svasana. I just reminded them to close their eyes every time until I finally got about thirty seconds of stillness out of them.

Namaste - "the good in me sees the good in you." I think they really enjoy this part of the class and, like svasana, is a staple of our class.