Spring pics 2012 188

Count On Meditation to Be Your Best Self

Spring pics 2012 188We all know through research and probably experience that meditation is a good thing. It’s true that meditation helps children to feel better, know better and do better. That’s because meditators are in touch with their best self. If we’ve neglected to stay in touch with that part of ourselves, then how can we introduce that self to others? When access to our best self is as close as our next inhalation and expressing our best self is as easy as the next exhalation, then showing up to school, tests, parties, conversations, and even to do your chores as your best self feels natural. If your best self feels like a stranger, this meditation will help you tune in to your goodness and integrate that energy into your being. This powerful mantra, mudra and meditation practice prepares children, so when it’s time to show up as their most grounded and elevated self, they can bring it! 

Monkey Mind

The Royal Mind

Monkey Mind

Hmmm, Our Monkey Mind
Our Mind Monkey~
Is restless, and random,
Rebellious, and junky?

Silly, and scattered
Like a toddler in its movement~
Won’t settle down,
And needs vast improvement?

The mind is a problem,
That we need to control.
It’s random, and restless
And a bit of a troll?

That’s nonsense, we say!
And quite derogatory!
The nature of the mind
Is going for glory!

The mind is evolutionary,
progressive, dynamic.
Always seeking and moving
toward that which is magic.

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So, think NOT monkey mind
More like, mind is royalty~
A King to Serve
With Love and Loyalty.

But, how can we Serve,
The Great Intelligence of our minds?
By meditation and mantras
And movement refined.

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By exceptional quality
Of the company we keep,
What we see, what we hear,
How well we do sleep.

By lavish feasts of sutras,
Of songs, and of silence,
Of settling, and stillness
And speech for your Highness.

Much of your activity
Will settle in bliss~
Yet portions of Royal Mind
Will continue to hiss.

And that, my dear friend~
Is the Great Intelligence~
It wants more and more
Of higher elegance.

The Discipline of yoga,
Now, you see,
Is in permitting and inviting
This process~ to BE.

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TRUTH is the WORD

Inspired by Yoga Sutra 1.48: ritambhara tatra prajna

Dr. Seuss teaches truth
From his Fountain of Youth
Where wisdom is truthful
And truthful is couth.

“Today you are You,
That is truer than true.
There is no one alive
Who is Youer than You.”

Patanjali teaches truthta
In his book full of sutra
Chapter one: forty-eight
ritambhara tatra prajna

We take out the trash
That we’ve stitched and we’ve stashed
That covers our wisdom
And nishes our nash.

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Exhale low belly

To move toward that state
Stretch your arms out straight
Inhale, touch thumbs overhead
Exhale, flap to sides straight

Flap like a bird
Truth is the word
Each breath in think truth
Each breath out think word

3 minutes to flap
Let falsities unwrap
Take a full breath inside
Exhale yip or a yap.

Close your eyes to see
{Between eyebrows is key}
What truth is now revealed
That can set you free…

Chanting With Kids

After a summer of bribing children with popsicles to do yoga with me, I was thrilled when I finally got a call back from a local private school regarding a new yoga afterschool enrichment club. With all the details finalized and a list of 7 children registered, I started in planning class themes and sequences. I was so excited and eager to start teaching!

Fifteen minutes into the first class, kids were throwing socks at each other, rolling up in their mats, talking and laughing. With the cutest little 5 year old girl wrapped around my leg, I hobbled around the room trying my best to remain calm and to regain control of the room. After a few minutes of asking myself why exactly I was doing this, I took a deep breath and I sat down with little miss still attached to my leg. Another little girl climbed into my lap as I started to chant. Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.

At first I was more concerned with regaining my own clarity. But after a few repetitions, I noticed the class was settling down. I could hear them whispering… “Is she ok?”… “Are we in trouble?”… “What is she doing?”… “What is she saying?” To my surprise, the other 5 children were soon sitting in easy pose facing me, lips moving as they tried to join in. Several minutes later most of the kids had learned the mantra and were chanting with me. When I stopped they remained quiet and listened.

I told them that words have power. Negative, harsh words can wound (if we let them) but positive words can heal. When we chant positive words over time they become a part of us, empower us and resonate in our thoughts, words, and actions. Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu …may all beings be happy and free. Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we all acted and spoke in a way that made everyone feel happy and free? I think so and it starts with each of us.

As a new teacher, classroom management was a challenge. And I quickly learned that what might work for one class might not work for another. Kids keep you on your toes … which is why I love teaching kids. I am continually surprised at how much I learn from each class I teach. And with the help of a wonderful network of Grounded teachers, I have equipped myself with a variety of classroom management tools and enter class confident and ready for anything.

Today with over 70 classes under my belt, chanting is still my favorite centering tool. Chanting is part of my opening and closing rituals. I often use a mantra as a theme for a class or have kids chant while holding poses. I recently did a series of six classes based on the Tibetan translation of the six syllable mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum.” This mantra is often translated as simply “Jewel in the Lotus” but each of the six syllables is thought to represent the purification of one of the six realms of existence. Om purifies bliss and pride. Ma purifies jealousy and need for entertainment. Ni purifies passion and desire. Pad purifies ignorance and prejudice. Me purifies greed and possessiveness. Hum purifies aggression and hatred.

In the video, my students are chanting “Om Mani Padme Hum” in the class focused on the third syllable “ni” to cultivate patience. We formed a circle for energy circuit, and took turns passing a feather for feather breath, then we chanted for 6 minutes.

Whether chanting in English or Sanskrit; aloud, silently or just listening, the mantra will still work its magic. I usually choose short mantras that are fairly easy to pronounce and teach the mantra with a rhythm to make it easier for the kids to learn. I always send them home with the mantra and translation printed on a note card. Many of my students have said that they still have their mantra cards and I often hear a few of them softly chant on their own as they are rolling up their mats. I have even had requests to chant their favorites.
Kids need to talk and be heard, especially after a long school day of sitting quietly. So rather than shushing them; I chant with them.

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