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Grounded in Ethiopia by Mariela Andersen

Oh Ethiopia, how quickly you stole my heart! I originally set off on the journey to Africa to provide art therapy based art classes through a local non-profit in Atlanta called drawchange.The goal was to expose a group of impoverished children to art and allow them to express themselves through a variety of art mediums, many of which they had never had the opportunity to play with before. We packed our suitcase full of craft paper, paint, glitter, pom-poms, markers, crayons, clay, glue, etc. It was fascinating watching the children explore with these materials, especially since many had never even used a pair of scissors before. While the art they made was beautiful, the point was not the finished product. The point of the art activities was to encourage them to express their inner selves through art. It was about the process, not the end result.

The children we worked with in Addis Ababa Ethiopia all came from low income families. Many of them were not guaranteed their next meal. Thankfully the community centers we worked with often provide hot meals and beverages for them each day. They come to the center after school gets out. The center helps them with homework, provides music lessons and gives them a place of refuge to go to and connect with other children in similar economic crisis situations. We went to two separate community centers during our two week visit. One community center had a mixture of boys and girls ranging from ages 5-18 years old. Another community center was a girls only center with girls between 6-18 years of age, most of which were victims of sexual and domestic abuse. Both groups of children were very receptive to our being there. They liked to touch our white skin and different textured hair and did so with big smiles and bright eyes. It seemed as if just our presence was enough, let alone bringing a bunch of art supplies to play with!

In addition to teaching them this new method of self-expression through art, we also tied in some yoga as well. I was recently trained through Grounded Kids Yogaback home in Atlanta GA. During my training I learned the importance of allowing kids (and really all ages in general), to learn how to connect with themselves and their bodies. This ability to tune in and connect with oneself can and will benefit those who practice it throughout their lives. Similar to the art, yoga is not about perfection. It is about self-expression and the process of using yoga to connect with oneself and the world around them. Unfortunately, they don’t have access to yoga mats and the dirt floors didn’t seem like a much better alternative so we had to stick with poses that didn’t require laying on the ground.

Some of the children’s favorites were “Oompa Loompa”, “Mountain Range Laughter” and “Calm Steam Silly”. It was so precious watching their little faces light up during each new pose, some of which seemed quite silly and often left them giggling. Since we didn’t speak the same language, we were not able to explain the details of some of the poses such as “Go to Your Room” (since many of them may not have their own room, let alone with a door that they can slam) or “Washer Machine” (since its likely they still hand wash their clothes) however, we were still able to teach the poses by showing examples and they seemed to enjoy it anyways. As much as they liked the individual poses, they absolutely loved the group poses! “Tree Friends” and “I’ve Got Your Back” were big hits! We were also able to make a giant circle together and do “The Wave”. It was so great watching the children laugh with delight as they saw the wave make its way towards them in the circle. Even the adults had big smiles plastered on our faces. These poses were amazing in that they brought us all together to share the same experience, regardless of the language barrier.

Before the end of our time with the children, we left both community centers with Grounded Kids Yoga pose cards and a Grounded Kids Yoga pose poster. Our hope is that the children will continue to come back to the poses we taught them and practice them together and individually. The benefits from the movements and the breathe work are what is the most important, even if they don’t understand the name of the poses. I went to Ethiopia in hopes of helping to teach and inspire the children that I worked with; however, after spending two weeks around their positive spirits and bright smiles I couldn’t help but feel that they are the ones who taught and inspired me.

 

-Mariela

On the Same Breath and On the Same Page

We celebrated City Schools of Decatur on the same breath, breathing together, and on the same page, reading together.

We celebrated the success of the first 40 days deep breath initiative in Georgia!

Here’s how we honored On the Same Breath and On the Same Page: A free, open to the public class taught by Carrie Beauchamp, myself and three Renfroe Middle Yoga students-Jillian, Kira and Olivia.

Kenny & the Dragon, by Tony DiTerlizzi is the heartwarming tale about a brave rabbit named Kenny and his literature-loving friend Graeme the dragon. Their friendship inspired us to breath deeper, to receive more clarity, to get better at seeing people for who they are, not what they appear to be.

We celebrated City Schools of Decatur on the same breath, breathing together, and on the same page, reading together.

We celebrated the success of the first 40 days deep breath initiative in Georgia!

Here’s how we honored On the Same Breath and On the Same Page: A free, open to the public class taught by Carrie Beauchamp, myself and three Renfroe Middle students-Jillian, Kira and Olivia.

 

Kenny & the Dragon, by Tony DiTerlizzi is the heartwarming tale about a brave rabbit named Kenny and his literature-loving friend Graeme the dragon. Their friendship inspired us to breath deeper, to receive more clarity, to get better at seeing people for who they are, not what they appear to be.

 

Kenny is a little rabbit with a very big problem. His two best friends are heading into a battle of legendary proportions—with each other! In one corner there’s Graeme, a well-read and cultured dragon with sophisticated tastes. In the other there’s George, a retired knight and dragon slayer who would be content to spend the rest of his days in his bookshop. Neither really wants to fight, but the village townsfolk are set on it.

Heart Action: Friendship, Leadership, Bravery . Alignment Action: Lift Chest, Open Heart

 

Breath of Joy. Is there joy in tolerating differences, responsibility,honesty, pacifism and knowledge?

After washing away stains of preconceived differences, we woke up to any parts of us that aren’t aware of our core values.

Wake Up Mountain. We woke up our hearts, our minds, our ears, our voice with strong, heavy golden positive power.

We connected our power.

Our regrets, our set-backs, whatever is holding us down from being brave got kicked out!

 

Warriors question what isn’t true. With strong stance and open hearts.
Kenny’s book, King’s Royal Bestiary stated all dragons are terrorists. Obviously, his warriorship found that untrue. He had to teach his village the truth.

Tapped into intuition for guidance. Prepared to balance as warriors.

 

We listened  – to our guts, our hearts, our imagination.

When we fell out, we LAUGHED!

ROCKED the Boat!

 

Deep breathing teaches us to become friends with ourselves first so that we can be open to being friends with others.

Co-Created a Dragon Breath in a Dragon shape. A Bunny Breath in a Bunny shape. And shared!

Connected. Connected. Connected. Connected.

 

Rested.  Rested Rested. Rested.

Created a Coat of Arms to reflect our core values.

 

Thank you Little Shop of Stories for your partnership.

Thank you to all who showed up and celebrated being on the same breath and on the same page. And bunnies. And dragons. And friendships. Thank you to all of you who made new friends. We noticed!

Thank you Kelley Sue for capturing the joy, the friendship, the laughter of the celebration.

Press Release: Grounded Kids announce they’ve gone Square.

Press Release

Grounded Kids announce they’ve gone Square.

May 23, 2018

Atlanta, GA– Locally owned Grounded Kids announced today that it will no longer be offering rectangular products, and will focus intensively on offering square products effective June 1, 2018.  Company officials are expected to communicate this monumental shift in strategy to both certified and not yet certified Grounded Kids Teachers later this week via Facetime Live.

Grounded Kids officials expect this incredible change to improve yogic confidence and widen, lengthen and strengthen all kids who dare to practice yoga.  In addition to square pose cards and other productive and pretty products, Grounded Kids will continue to share their incredible workshops and trainings with wise people.

About Squares

A square is a planar figure with four equal straight sides and four right angles. A square is the quadrilateral of least perimeter enclosing a given area. Dually, a square is the quadrilateral containing the largest area within a given perimeter.[6] Indeed, if A and P are the area and perimeter enclosed by a quadrilateral, then the following isoperimetric inequality holds:

with equality if and only if the quadrilateral is a square.

And squares are really cool.

How Square Shapes will improve emotional/social intelligence

The square shape will permit children to reach a more harmonious state and to have the courage to not only be there but to also be square. The abundance of right angles are directly correlated with the abundance of right action.  In a square with all sides being equal, children can take into account equally all sides of a situation. As evidenced by the poses called “See It From My Side” and “I See It From Your Side” where children actually create right angles in their bodies it is clear that Squares are considered a “Fair” rectangle and induce a fair emotional state of being.

In recognition of the tremendous amount of societal pressure on kids and teens to ultimately achieve “hipster” status, Grounded Kids would like to make “being square” a viable alternative, and perhaps a more hip way to not be a hipster.

Grounded Kids has  recently uncovered deeply hidden knowledge about the sacredness of squares will be sharing this publically.  A square has transformational properties and even has two equal triangles in it.   More information is expected to be released.

About Grounded Kids

Grounded is how to funnel negative habitual pattern surges down through the nervous system and into the earth and transform these surges into higher energies of creativity, courage, compassion, strength, and connection. Grounding gives us the power to self-elevate to our highest destiny.

Kids collaborate in their revolutionary methodology. Together they learn how to ground when unsettled.  Energize when feeling sluggish.  Focus when distracted.  Take the high road of responding instead of reacting impulsively.

For more information,

Contact

To learn more about going square, please contact

groundedkids.com

Yogavator Operator, Media Relations

Office: (678) 974-5198

LOVE as an ACTION in Middle School

Yogi Bhajan taught us

“LOVE has two polarities-conditional and unconditional.

Conditional LOVE has expectations, which give us pain and joy.

Unconditional LOVE gives us ecstasy, self-fulfillment, self-respect, self-esteem, and knowledge of our higher selves.”

We connected to our lineage of teachings at Renfroe Middle, our training ground.

Our Step 2 teachers led the way….

We rooted into our legs so energy can serve building the energy in our hearts.

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