“Fate whispers to the Warrior, ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’ The Warrior whispers back, ‘I am The Storm.'”
Have you felt that storm inside of you lately? Whether it be a firey surge, rainy tears of joy, pain, sadness, surprise, windy rushes of emotion, or the tumultuous hurricane of the day to day. We feel so much! As adults we’ve learned over our years how to harness our emotions, our “feels”, and how to manage them and conduct ourselves in a way in which we’re heard and respected ~ for the most part that is! Don’t get me wrong I’ve been known to let go, scream, cry, and be wild with emotion and That.Is.OK.
Our children are a storm of emotions as well! However, they are less “edited,” more “no filter” when it comes to how they are feeling. Screaming, tantrums, floods of tears, or ridiculous bursts of happiness, whimsy ~ surely we are no stranger to our children in these states. Our kiddos don’t always have the words for these feelings. They may not articulate, “I’m hungry and don’t want that apple. I want string cheese please.” Or, “You see, it hurt my feelings when you raised your voice and asked me to stop building Legos. I was so close to finishing my knight’s castle.” Right? Instead we hear their pure, unfiltered, raw emotion. This, my friends, is our storm. And it’s inside us all.
“You were wild once. Don’t let them tame you.” ~ Isadora Duncan.
It is so important that we do not suppress our emotions, children or adults. We are wild creatures! Butttt…..we also need to go to work, not yell at our co-workers or cry. We need to get through a shopping trip at Target with our kiddos in tow. We need to just have Peace, amiright? And so, we work to learn how to manage our emotional states, how to identify what’s really going on (“I’m noticing you may not be hungry for that apple.” “I see that I’ve interrupted you while you’re building Legos & you may need 5 more minutes.”). All of this affirms that our emotions are real and that we recognize them and have words for them ~ angry, happy, sad, confused, frustrated, etc. And that these emotions matter.
When I sit with children in our yoga circles, I call these emotions “our storm.” Now here in Southern California we’ve all been experiencing rare storms all around us ~ intense wind, rain, hail ~ and it’s been wild! I connect the storm we experience outdoors with the storm inside us all, cultivating our understanding and recognition of the world around us.
By making a storm with our bodies (see below), we are able to get wild, to yell, to move, to chant….and then, quite magically, to find the calm after the storm, to gradually slow down, find our breath, close our eyes. Be still as the earth after a rainfall, as puddles shelter the rain drops and slowly dissolve.
Just as our emotions create wind and thunder within us, we have the tools, the breath, to recognize the storm and return to a state of peace.
There are many ways to build storms with our bodies. Below are some examples to try with your lil’ yogis. And from personal experience, these work for adult yogis as well ~
Wind ~ Sit in criss cross applesauce and allow the “wind” to blow you from side to side, in a circle, forward and back, to bounce. Let the wind begin to subside as you return to seated position.
Rain ~ Gently begin tapping the floor with your fingertips. Then move on to your hands. The rain will get stronger and louder. Let it go on your mat! And then gradually the rain will slow down (back to fingertips), and grow quieter until there is peace (leave your hands resting on your mat or in your lap).
Thunder & Lightening ~ From a standing position, open and close your legs & arms (as in jumping or yoga jacks). Clap your hands together to form the sound of thunder. Pause with arms overhead and hands together as though you are a bolt of lightening.
Rainbow ~ Often after a storm we see a rainbow, reminding us of the light and the magic after the storm. Let your fingers rain down to your toes from a standing position. The reach for the sun, bring your hands into your belly with a “HOT” breath, firing up your center. Repeat as often as needed, gently softening with each HOT breath. Settle into a downward dog rainbow. Relax back into child’s pose, allowing the colors of the rainbow and it’s bright light to fill you with magic, color, and light.
Please do share below how these work for you and your family! All blessings, love, and gratitude,