Monday, August 16, 2010

My Paper Self

Alluem Kids Camp began with 30 feet of white paper. Rolled out across the studio floor, the kids paired up and took turns tracing the outline of themselves in savasana - the most relaxing pose in yoga. As the kids sat side by side with their paper selves, we began to discuss the chakras, the focus of camp this summer. Our bodies are filled with energy. There are 7 specific energy containers in our bodies called chakras that are located from the base of the spine, all the way up to the top of our heads. When we are full of energy and life and in touch with ourselves and our emotions, it means our chakras are very open. When we are lacking energy, tired, lethargic, our chakras may be blocked. Each chakra has a special purpose and color. On our paper selves we would identify the name, the placement, the meaning, and surround it with written or drawn examples. Following each chakra we would work on yoga poses that open these chakras, along with games and activities to correlate.
The 1st chakra, the Root Chakra, is located at the base of the spine and represented by the color red. It gives us the feeling of being grounded or rooted like a tree. When this chakra is open, you feel happy, secure, and confident. Bringing attention to our feet and waking them up, we lacing fingers between toes, rolled tennis balls under our feet, and played a little game of Toe-Ga! Mountain Pose, Chair Pose, and Tree Pose completed our grounded practice for the Root Chakra.
What are the things in your life that help you to feel happy, confident, and secure?
The 2nd chakra the, Sacral Chakra, is located near the belly button and through the hip region. This chakra keeps us in touch with our emotions and reminds us to chill out and go with the flow. Our imagination and our creativity are also sourced from this chakra. When we are relaxed and going with the flow, we can think clearer, we feel freer to imagine all the great things we can be, create great works of art or write great stories. Focus on the hips with Pigeon Pose, Cow Face, and of course some restorative poses like Reclined Bound Angle.
What creative activities do you take part in?
The 3rd chakra, the Solar Plexus Chakra, is located in the stomach area. This chakra is where our energy comes from. This was a perfect chance to practice some Laughter Yoga. It starts with a giggle while lying on our backs in a circle, feet touching. Before your know it, full fledge laughter filled the studio! Laughing so hard our stomachs started to hurt! It's a wonderful thing to watch! Bringing focus to the core muscles, by holding Boat Pose or moving through a Sun Salutation, helps strengthen the core and develope more energy.
What ways do we bring energy into our lives?
The 4th chakra, the Heart Chakra, is located in the center of the chest. This chakra is where we find peace and love. Opening the heart with Backbends, Camel, or relaxing back over a bolster under the shoulder blades, allows us to invite love and peace into our lives and reminds us to stay open to all things familiar and different in our lives.
What or who do you love? What brings you peace?
The 5th chakra, the Throat Chakra, is located in the center of our necks. This chakra allows us to communicate with others in our lives. It gives us the ability to be heard and the strength to speak out. Candlestick, Plow Pose, and Fish Pose all stimulate this chakra.
What ways do you communicate with others? What do you have to share with the world through your voice?
The 6th chakra, the Third Eye Chakra, is in the space between our eyes. This is your inner eye. Your two eyes see the material world. The inner eye sees the things that truly matter. It is your conscious. This conscious has a lot to do with our dreams, our imagination, and our ability to visualize.
What dreams do you have? What could you be or do if you could do anything?
The 7th and final chakra, the Crown Chakra, is located right above your head. This chakra is all about meditation and thought, or clearing our minds from unnecessary thought. Just as a shower cleans the grime off of the day, meditation cleans our minds from thoughts and worries that we don't need. It's good to start everyday with a fresh mind and stay in the present moment. Mudras, Candle Meditation, Mala Beads, Walking Meditation...there are so many ways to tune into ourselves and focus on what is truly important.
What ways to you clear your mind and listen to your heart?
By the end of camp, our paper selves were full of ways to recognize ourselves as a whole...a whole beautiful human being filled with energy, life, and so much potential! It was a great way to reflect on what brings us peace, light, love, and life. It brings a focus on what's most important - ourselves. When we know ourselves we can better share all we have to give with the world and relate to those around us.