Monday, September 28, 2009

Building Confidence with Friends

When you ask a group of children to sit back to back with each - it's interesting to see who will move and who will hesitate. Every child has his or her own story, but a yoga class is built on trust. Trusting the teacher - trusting each other. Simply getting to know each other is key. We played a game I learned in my teacher training with Little Flower Yoga in NYC. My amazing teacher, Jennifer Cohen, made sure we were equipped with a wealth of knowledge regarding child development as well as plenty of games and activities to stimulate the development of a child. We played many of the games in the training ourselves to gain the full experience. The one I used in this class was called "Cross the Line". Placing 2 pieces of masking tape on the ground in parallel lines, the children stood face to face behind the lines. I read a series of questions, some fun, and some designed to make the child think. When the statement rang true for the child, he or she would cross the line and make eye contact with the others that they now had something in common with.

For example, "Cross the Line if you...":
- have a pet.
- play an instrument.
- can swim under water.
- love to read.
- don't like the dark.
- have cried this week.
- have helped someone this week.
- feel beautiful/handsome today.
- have ever been afraid of someone.
- have ever felt embarrassed.
- enjoy feeling peaceful.
- have done something you're proud of.
Some of the children needed encouragement to actually look in the eyes of the others, some were very comfortable. We discussed how it made them feel afterwards - relaxed, proud, apprehensive...
After this activity, I introduced the Warrior Series. Warriors are strong and bold. Warriors stand up for what they believe in. And that's the confidence that we want to see in our children and the strength children want to feel. Warriors have to keep focus, so we worked with Warrior 1 in partners. Facing each other and maintaining eye contact, we gave our best Warrior stares! Warriors also have to stay in the present and be aware of what is happening around them right now! Not what already happened and not what is to come, and that's what Warrior 2 is about - balance. Keeping your torso centered, not leaning to far forward or too far back, but staying right in the mi
ddle, balanced.
Which brings us to the worksheet below! After practicing Warrior 2, we chatted a bit about staying balanced - about staying in the present. We looked at the past and staying with relationships, I had them list the people who have helped them in the past. We should be grateful and not forget those people. Keeping them just in reach is what makes them special and keeps them in our memory. We talked about the importance of staying present in all situations, especially when we need to help ourselves. We talked about the future. On the worksheet I had them list ways that they could help in the future. Unknown to me, this particular group of kids were already actively helping the future - participating in fundraisers for local and global causes, as well as raising money on their own by selling lemonade or hand made bracelets. My heart was filling up with love for these beautiful souls!We ended the class with Back to Back Breathing - staying aware of their partners breath and maybe even syncing their breath. I could see they were already starting to become more comfortable with each other and themselves.

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