Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Saturday, September 18, 2010
In this day and age of connectedness to objects, such as electronics, I notice students have developed coping skills such as being plugged in while crossing campus to lend support for their isolation tendencies. Sometimes I honor that, and many times I purposefully step into that. You see, for me, it’s all about relationship. Call it Love, or Consciousness, but relationship is what we are all here for; walking the planet, living our lives, being the human experience. Each time I apply this philosophy to each student I greet (whether they are enrolled in any of my classes or not), I am rewarded with an exchange that is both memorable and deeply important. The opportunity to have hearts connect on a personal level in a setting known for its impersonal is extraordinary. How many of us went through our high school experience feeling invisible. Even though at times we may have been quite well adjusted to the armor we donned each morning to get through the day, occasionally there were kinks in it we most likely relive even today.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Well its been craziness since the Hood River conference with our drive back to Nevada, with a sleep and a hike stop at Crater Lake, a day and a half of teacher meetings and then off to another workshop in San Francisco, this time for my main discipline- acting.
Anyway...as promised...I'm going to focus on giving periodic ideas about yoga, kids ,yoga plus acting and yoga plus other cross discipline ideas.
So today's really fun tip! Teens and Tweens like nothing better than what? Yes, I know Taylor Lautner ( have you seen his abs????). Well I was actually thinking... their music. And I do mean their music..the stuff they listen to, share, and basically think any adult is crazy if they don't love it while at the same time think we are sort of crazy when we do. And who can possible keep up with the trends? Sorry too busy.
I know I get really jazzed when Masterclasses have "Good Day Sunshine" and the like. So why wouldn't they buy into classes with more enthusiasm when it's their music.
And how to get that music, you might ask???
As an acting exercise I asked my teen acting students to make me an 18 song mix on a CD- which I provided. Now for the acting end I asked for "The song that would be your theme song right now.", " The song that reminds you of your best friend", "A song that evokes an emotional memory"... But guess what else was on there? "The song that wakes you up and gets you moving" (Mountain 1), " The song that's really gets you pumped" (Mountain 2), "The song that calms you down" (Mountain 3). For the Savasana...I'm letting myself be surprised by some of the other acting questions I asked. But for a non acting class why couldn't you also ask for "The song that speaks honestly to you, about yourself". Oh-oh...just slipped in a Yama.
Then the fun. I took these home and made yoga mixes tailored for each class on ITunes as Playlists. I'll also use other tunes throughout our year for house music at our productions, and got a State Standard out of the exercise in using other mediums to express ourselves in the Dramatic arena.
Amazing results. They were so excited to make the CD's. Eager to hear their song played and sharing something of themselves with us all.
Hope this gets some equally great results for you all.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
What Researchers Say about MindUP™
“I must say I was skeptical at first. But I was surprised when I saw how quickly the kids (and then the teachers) bought into the program and practices. The kids just got it right away, and they seemed hungry for something that would help them manage the stresses in their life.”
-Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, Associate Professor of Education at University of British Columbia
What Teachers Say about MindUP™
“The program is amazing! I loved the activities you included in the senses activities. The kids were involved in lots of hands-on activities that would appeal to anyone. The questions for discussions were really clear for teachers. I like the step by step easy to use set up of the program.”
–Nicole, Kindergarten teacher
“When we had parent teacher interviews, I heard over and over how the children brought this home and taught other members of the family to use the techniques.”
-Jen, grade 4 - 7 teacher of students with learning disabilities and behavior challenges
Friday, August 27, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
On the subject of empathy:
Since I am the children’s classroom teacher I am reminded daily of the empathy that yoga can bring to children. If there is a physical or emotional problem between two children, I can usually help them turn it around by suggesting that they take three deep yoga breaths. Once they calm down and tell their side of the story, we can brainstorm based on the question “ were you acting in the yoga way?” Surprisingly, they almost always understand and say “no” if they were the aggressor. If I then say “what would be the yoga way of solving this problem?” They can usually come up with some good answers. Does this mean they will never grab another toy away from someone? No, but it seems to help them understand that they can breath before they act and think of how their actions might effect someone else. I find this very helpful and wish I’d been exposed to it when I was five.
On the subject of grief:
A number of years ago my nephew was killed in a car accident. Because I was absent for some time I needed to share this information with my preschool and yoga classes.
For many of the children in my classes, my nephew’s death was the first time someone they cared for was grieving. For others, it brought up a memory of a lost grandparent or a pet. We had many discussions about this in class, all of which seemed quite profound and sensitive to me. But the most meaningful moments were and still are from the children who came up to me quietly and ask questions like “Teacher Judy are you still sad?” As adults, we forget that grief remains long after the last sympathy card. I have learned from these children to check in frequently with people who may be suffering from any type of loss.
On the subject of gender:
This is a conversation I had with Paige. “Teacher Judy, are you a boy or a girl?” “ I am a girl” “I thought so!” said Paige with glee. “How did youcknow?” asks Judy, somewhat worried about the answer. “Oh” replied Paige, “Iccould tell because you are wearing a bracelet” “Hum” what did I learn from Paige? I think, never make assumptions without verifying them.
On the subject of manners:
We had a visitor in one of the classes. I introduced her to the children and ask them to answer questions if she had any for them. Then I ask them what they could do to show their best yoga manners. “I know!” said Preston. “We shouldn’t say potty words!” The rest of the class solemnly agreed. This lesson is clear; never use potty words when you have guests. My apologies to all of my relatives who have come to visit.
On the subject of spirituality:
In one of my grade school yoga classes, I was part of one of the most spiritual discussions of my life. It was totally child directed. It started like this. Kieran asked, “Teacher Judy if you meditate long enough, can you fly?” I answered, “I think if you practice meditation long enough, your mind might feel like it’s flying, but your body doesn’t actually fly.”
The children seemed to accept this and one after another suggested where the best place to meditate might be. Their suggestions ranged from a quiet beach, your room, a desert, or heaven. The discussion then turned to heaven and if there is one or not, and if so can you mediate if you are dead. It was getting close to the end of class, so I told them it was time for Savasana (or Yoga Nap as some of the younger students call it). One of the children asked if they could sit in meditation pose instead of lying down. I said yes and many of them sat in full or half lotus for at least five minutes. This is a very difficult thing to do. This is what I learned: Children are very wise. Take time to listen to them and to meditate.
On the subject of compassion:
At the end of most children’s classes we sing the “Shanti” or peace song. If I forget the kids always remind me. After that I usually close with a prayer of sorts like, “may all the children of the world have a school to go to.” Right after the Haitian earthquake, I started to close class by saying “Namaste”, when Nathan asked if he could say something. I said yes and he said, “May all the children of Haiti have enough food and clean water to drink.” I already new this, but children are very kind.
I am entering a new stage in my life and very soon will become a partner in a yoga studio. I will teach many types of classes, but I know that kid’s yoga will always be the place I learn the most. I look forward to getting to spend the rest of my life hanging out with such wise people.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
“Stephanie taught YogaFit Kids to my second/third grade classroom every week during the 2000-2001 school year. By incorporating Cooperative Learning and Multiple Intelligences activities into the kids yoga practice, she kept the students active participants. I was quite impressed with Stephanie’s ability to engage all types of learners, in particular an autistic child. Many of the yoga asanas and breathing techniques were incorporated in our daily school day. Students and myself, the teacher, would find ways to calm down, focus, and re-energize with the practices we learned …I learned things I continue to use as I teach a third/fourth/fifth grade Emotionally Behavior Disorder Classroom this year. “
2003, Ms. Jamila Norris, Teacher
Gatewood Public School, Seattle, WA
“YogaFit Kids is fabulous! Each of my students looks forward to yoga with enthusiasm. This year with YogaFit, students who previously avoided movement and activity have taken leadership by demonstrating poses and even enjoyed playing yoga games. This transfers to recess and other fitness periods where these same students are now playing impromptu games of basketball and hockey! But YogaFit is more than just exercise. The students learn to cooperate with one another. They learn to be quiet and find peace in the middle of a hectic day. I use three deep group breaths now to help students transition to a new academic period. It works!”
2003, Ms. Rachel Harvey, 4/5 Grade Teacher
Gatewood Public School, Seattle, WA