Sunday, October 25, 2009


Headstands must be approached very slowly with children. As children are often fearless, showing a child a headstand and saying, okay, you're turn, can end in disaster! To avoid injuries, we started our headstand prep with Dolphin Pose, first on our knees and then with straight legs- kind of like a Downward Facing Dog with your forearms on the ground, hands clasped together. Why is this Dolphin Pose? Insert opportunity for what my teacher, Jennifer Cohen of Little Flower Yoga, calls "Teachable Moments". A "Teachable Moment" is using any opportunity to add educational information to the class. So while the children are holding Dolphin Pose developing upper arm and core strength, we discuss that the shape our bodies are in resemble the shape of a dolphin. As we rock forward bringing our chins to our hands or the floor and then back up, we resemble a swimming dolphin. Dolphins as we know, are not fish even though they live in the ocean. They are mammals with lungs like us, and therefore need to swim near the surface, allowing their blowholes to take in air to breathe. So we exhale coming forward, inhale pushing back - concentrating on our breath is important especially in strenuous poses.The students were welcome to stay in Dolphin to work on strength or move on. The next step is to place your head on the ground between your interlocked fingers, elbows under your shoulders. With your seat lifted high, slowly walk the feet in until they feel like they're going to lift off the ground. I personally love this part of a headstand - take off! Using the wall or my help, the kids were welcome to get to that take off point and then bend the knees and come up into a headstand. Of course many of them wanted to try! Who doesn't love being upside down?! I know I spent most of my childhood hanging upside down from the Monkey Bars! And not to mention, what a great opportunity to look at the world from a new angle!

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