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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

symbolism and strength

This week was AWESOME! My friend Michelle came to class with me both Wednesday and Thursday....awesomeness. We taught a story that she basically made up on the fly. Her story was tells how God created all these different plants for different things, but there was one special thing that was created for many different reasons. We then ask the kids to describe all the different characteristics of the bamboo..... then we make the connection that we are like bamboo. I love when we ask them what the think the light means and hearing the different things they say, not that I always know what they say, and I love to see there faces when they come up with an idea. Kids are great.

After the story and the yoga poses, I teach them a song...
incorporated it into the song I taught for the second time at this school. It is one my friend Jean-Jacques taught me and I taught in November of 2009 at the art camp in Guate with kids from La Limonada.


We translate the song so they know what they are saying, but they sing it in English. It is really hard for them, especially "and let the light shine though." Usually they say something that sounds like "loo-ka-lu shampoo." I absolutely love it, cute cant even describe the level of how adorable kids can be.....I know that the words are totally different linguistically, but many of the children do know it clearly and when asked to sing it SOLO in front of the class I had two very very smiliy kids after they were done.

Wow, that was one of those moments every teacher knows them....when you realize you want to try something with a shy student who understands the current topic. You ask them to explain or display it to the class and when they do, they nail it. In that moment all you can think of is "thank you God for giving that moment to that child, they really needed that!" or "I am so glad I had the huevos to ask that student do that!" "Thank goodness that student felt supported enough to share that with the class" etc etc...

After the song, we get the kids in a circle to all sign their names on a huge stick of bamboo as a sign of our community and depending on which class or which day, they then rest on their back in svasana (final rest pose) for 5 minutes..... This is the hardest part for some classes, but I feel often the most beneficial.

Next week???? Michelle please come back!

Friday, July 22, 2011

La Sistema Respiratorio

Breathing, yoga and La Limonada. Why yoga in a place where people are struggeling to find work and food? How will yoga make a difference. I ask myself this all the time and people ask me as well. The last two weeks have been even more insightful to me why God has brought me here. We have been connecting the practice with a short lesson about the respiratory system.

I don't have statistics related to kids in La Limonada using drugs, but in the last 2 weeks I have seen 2 kids walk by me right in the street (about age 14-16) huffing glue. Glue is C H E E P. Here in La Limonada kids buy it by the Q. The Q=Quetzal is the currency here. 1 doller=7.5 when kids are buying glue by the Q that tells you that they get there hands on drugs for less than a dollar. They simply go to a house and buy it in a plastic bag. A plastic bag full of glue they carry around with them until it evaporates while they breathe it up. What the inhalents do is basically eat you from the inside really fast. And they get hooked even faster.

By teaching the children about the respiratory system, the will experience breathing deeply, how when they breath clean air it strengthens their body and how the body becomes weaker if exposed to chemicals and smoke. They breathing exercises also give them a gang to know how they can breath deeply so if they are
exposed to huffing, they can feel the difference in the strength of their lungs from when they use and when they don't. I tell the kids that the breathing exercises are also ways for them to calm themselves down if they are scared, angry or worried.

The pics in this blog are from this week.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What works?

Repetition works

...that is what I have realized....duh! I know, but now into the groove of my teaching I have a system. I have one main component each week that I thread through in each of my classes, but every class is different in someway, and there are NEVER the same amount of students from one week to the next.... I love this. :) But I love the challenge also of adapting my lesson to each age group and each class. In Mandarina (one of the schools in La Limonada) we have separated the older kids boys and girls. It is really interesting to see how differently they respond as compared to the students in Limon (other school. We did this primarily because of numbers and because the kids in Mandarina are a little older....but back to lessons.

This week the theme was seeing the uniqueness of each person, honoring/acknowledging each individual and making connections. Tall order! But it worked!
The physical theme ASANAS practice (poses) in the class meaning what we embody was "Connections"
...interlacing, crossing the midline of the body, connecting contra-later parts of the body and connecting hands with others partner and group. For you yogis: eagle pose, cow faced, partner lean back Anusara style stretch etc...

We took our theme of connections into PRANYAMA (breath rhythm) by again using (like we had in March when I was here) taking a simple rhythm from our hands and connecting that to our breath in the same rhythm, listen to each student in the class individually contribute a rhythm and validate that contribution by repeating it back to them.

Finally for DHARANA (meditation practice) the younger students listen to a guided meditation (I will include it in Spanish & English in a later post) about riding the waves of their breath like waves of a boat and staying connected to their breath while noticing the relaxed state of their body. Older kids drew an infinity sign for 5 minutes in two different colors (pictures to follow soon).

I have taught theses lessons this week 10 times already so each time I get clearing with my Spanish AND clearer with the lesson. I am learning SO SO much. Love it!

PS Im not home sick anymore. I am so so glad I am here yes, and looking forward to how the students will continue to lean and experience the benefits of the practice!