“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s Party!'” ~ Robin Williams.
Scene’s from our morning walk to school.
“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,
Family Summer Solstice & Super Moon Celebration!
Sunday, June 23 10am-noon at mandala daydreams
815 North Vulcan Ave, Leucadia 92024
Join us at mandala daydreams in Leucadia as we celebrate the summer solstice! We’ll enjoy Family Yoga together with Next Generation Yoga’s Beth Guerrette, followed by summer crafting & explorations with the kids. Parents will join Steph Zito in the quiet cottage as we manifest intentions for the new season. Let’s culminate with a family dance party, a la bubbles, hoops, and more! Light seasonal snacks will be provided.
$20 suggested family donation, no one will be turned away.
Check out our morning schedule of events…
~ Family Yoga Class with NGY with Beth Guerrette
~ Children’s summer crafting and affirmations with Beth
~ Parents gather in the quiet cottage with Steph Zito for manifesting intentions & meditation
~ Family dance party with bubbles, hoops, and more
~ Closing Circle *
Light seasonal snacks will be provided.
For more information, and to let us know you are coming please leave a comment or email Beth at email@example.com.
All Love >>>>
Beth & Steph
And then we touch the Earth below.
We say Hello to the Sun
And then we plank and lower slow.
We salute the tiny snakes
And all the great big dogs
And we end in crescent moon.
(Inspired by The Yogi Pokey by Mini Yogis!)
This week we celebrated our Home, Earth! We discussed all the small things we can do to make a big difference for our planet. Some of the ideas shared were….
Planting, gardening, picking up trash, recycling, sharing, and one yogini said “helping the government” (!)
My preschoolers enjoyed reading The Earth Book by Todd Parr. Following the book we practiced poses such as bicycle, tree, mountain, flower, and various animal poses.
We also sang the song above and learned about Half Moon pose, which connects the earth and the sky, and celebrates everything in between! Of course we also enjoyed a whole lot of dancing since Earth Day is kind of like The Earth’s birthday 🙂
My first graders further explored how to help our planet. We worked in small groups to develop our own poses for the statements
:: We walk and bike when we can.
:: We pick up trash and recycle.
:: We use both sides of our paper to help the trees.
:: We use less water when brushing our teeth, showering, and bathing.
:: We give away old toys and clothes rather than throwing them away.
It was a really wonderful experience to watch the groups work together and come up with some very clever poses to help us remember these ideas. I took photos of each group which will be posted in their classroom!
In all my classes we practiced our focus and balance in tree poses, playing Windy Trees, and using bean bags and drishtis. What an experience to witness these yogis, with whom I’ve been working since September, find they can balance a bit longer! Their sense of surprise and accomplishment just shines.
Next week we’ll continue exploring and connecting to all that surrounds us. Happy Earth Day everyone! Love one another.
Spring has arrived, and brought a New Moon! What an ideal time for envisioning greatness, for setting our intentions out into the universe. And in our Yogi Playground classes this week, for celebrating all the gifts Spring has to offer, including fresh air and breath!
This has, however, been a challenging week for me. Germs took over our bodies and home, leaving both myself and my 17 month old son sick sick sick and sleepless. So much so that I had to cancel my Oak Tree class, a private group class in San Gabriel.
I was so bummed to have to miss the Spring Equinox with them this past Tuesday, but learned that The LA Arboretum offered it’s free day! The parents and yoginis gathered together to enjoy Mother Nature in all her glory. Yogi Playground field trip! I suggested that the yoginis share poses based on their observations….flower, lotus, tree, bird, the list goes on and on! And isn’t this what yoga is all about? Yoga as a way of life, on and off the mat….Namaste Oak Tree Ladies!
I’m happy to report that all are now well in my house, and I was able to celebrate spring with my dearest yogis, my 2 sons, at Descanso Gardens. Seriously, this place is so so wonderful! My 4 year old even found the opportunity to practice his Tree & Warrior Poses (note, without me asking!). I’m inspired to host a Yogi Playground “Off the Mat” series. Hmmmm……
In my school classes, we focused on breath. Using Pinwheels, straws, and cotton balls as props, we explored deep inhalations and exhalations and observed how these breaths made us feel. We also took an imaginary walk through the meadow where we encountered bugs, flowers, trees, birds, butterflies, among others! And of course, we practiced the corresponding poses.
Next week is a big culmination week! My first graders are preparing for Spring Break, and one of our classmates is moving to Bangladesh! It’s sure to be an exciting week. And my preschool classes are ending their 8 week sessions. How do we culminate? With a Yogic Celebration! An opportunity for all yogis to share their favorite poses through song and game.
Namaste to all my Yogi Playground families and supporters! May all be blessed with Love and Grace as we begin this new season of rebirth!
Winter in LA? Ha! I chuckle. The weather has been so beautiful lately and has really inspired me to spend a majority of my time outside. One of my favorite outdoor activities? Hiking! And it’s never too early to share this with our little yogis. Of course many of my classes are in the schools, inside, on our mats. So let’s bring the hike to the classroom…
To prepare for this class, I packed a backpack full of materials, both found and handmade…a stick, a rock, a toy airplane, bark from a tree, a toy bug, as well as cards with images (flower, cave, turtle, crow, eagle, creek, the list is endless really). And yes, I packed an empty juice bottle. <sigh>
Place the backpack in the center of the circle. (Note, a basket is great too.)
We begin getting ready for the hike. To music, we “dress” for the day- boots, hat, sunscreen, bug repellent (tapping our bodies, waking us up), a backpack. Don’t forget a map, compass (ask the kids what should we bring)! And we are ready to go.
:: Let’s first greet the sun on this new beautiful day (Sun salutation, variation dependent on age).
:: For younger classes we sing “Hiking, Hiking, hop, hop, hop….” song. For older classes we simply hike on our mats, perhaps starting uphill, looong slow strides, yoga runs, tiptoe. One student chooses an item from the backpack and so our adventure begins! Students continue to take turns choosing one item from the backpack.
For example, if we pull out the “creek” card we may need to hop rocks, wade through the water, look at the fish, turtles, etc with corresponding poses.
If we find the cave we become brave warriors entering the cave together. Perhaps we find bats! Maybe sleeping mice.
Look up! Eagles and/or crows overhead! Look down…bugs, mud.
If you pull out the bark, we become trees. A stick? Stick pose! You get the idea 🙂
This class becomes a Choose Your Own Adventure of sorts, and sparks great conversation and creativity. Don’t be afraid to let your yogis veer from the bag. Listen to their ideas!
And yes, if the empty juice bottle is pulled. We frown at the litter. But we recycle, pick up any other “trash” around us, and discuss the importance of leaving no trace, only footsteps.
:: As it gets dark and the moon appears, we begin to lay down under the stars for a camp out. Rather than candlestick pose, we use flashlight pose for the mountains (candlestick variation making small circles with our legs, great core strengthener).
Potential poses introduced/practiced: stick, mouse/rock, flower, tree, airplane, resting bugs, warrior II, road runner, half moon, star, eagle, crow, turtle….to name only a few!
This is also a great time to practice Lizard on a Rock, and to have fun hopping over “sticks” and “rocks” as the children take turns!
There’s so much that can be added and/or modified for this class! What would you do with your yoginis?