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Over at the Happiness Project website Gretchen Rubin talks about living with a creed (hers is “Be Gretchen”). I have on my bulletin board a list of words to live by that I tore from the back of a  Yoga Journal magazine from September 2008. The authors of these quotes were not credited so I am not able to give credit but they are wonderful thoughts. Here are some that I gravitate to:

Do one thing a day that scares you.

While in yoga class, I try to teach that we must listen to our bodies while sometimes ignoring our minds. If we are getting ready to do crow pose, our minds might be protesting and creating unneeded fear based commentary. Face the unknown and lift your feet off the ground and see what happens. In this month’s Oprah magazine, there is an article about people subconsciously sabotaging different aspects of their lives because of deep fears. The act of facing those fears head on, asking “What is the worst thing that can happen” and thinking through the various outcomes of the scenario that creates the fear dissolves the fear. What is something that scares you? Traveling alone? Meeting new people? Getting up in handstand pose?

That which matters the most should never give way to that which matters the least.

How often do you put daily chores or meaningless responsibilities before what gives you peace, health and happiness? I’m not saying that we can ignore our responsibilities for selfish pursuits. Prioritize. I know that my mental state makes a huge difference in my family life. If I am stressed, it trickles through the family until we all are unhappy. Making sure that I take the time to do yoga, run and be with like minded friends makes me a better mom and wife. Because of that knowledge, I try hard not to schedule things during the time I can be doing those activities that give me health and happiness. That may mean I have to drag the kids to the grocery store because I used my free time to take a bike ride with friends but that is what I do because it matters most.

I try to help children figure out what their strengths are so that they can take this creed home with them. Using games (like Thumball catch) that asks them questions about their interests and beliefs helps the children stop and think about what drives and motivates them. This can lead to decisions that will create a happy life based on who they are versus what people say they should do or be.

Life is full of setbacks. Success is determined by how you handle setbacks.

Another great thing about yoga is that it is constantly evolving with the individual. Yoga teaches patience, perseverance, determination, focus, to trust oneself, to know when to push, when to wait and when to try again. Each time you get back on the mat the slate is clean. What great skills everyone needs to help handle setbacks in life.

A few others that I won’t expand upon are:

What we do to the earth we do to ourselves.

Breath deeply and appreciate the moment. Living in the moment could be the meaning of life.

The conscious brain can only hold one thought at a time. Choose a positive thought.

I love these and would love to know what creed you pick to live your life by. Please share!

Photo by Kyle Stauffer

Photo by Kyle Stauffer

I remember my first yoga class that started off with chanting OM. It felt awkward and made me self-conscious but the energy that came from everyone chanting simultaneously was nothing like anything I had ever experienced.

Prior to that I should mention that I did practice a bit of Trancendental Meditation when a boyfriend convinced me to try it with him one summer during college. Again I remember both the feeling of discomfort with the unfamiliar and awe of the energy that group meditation creates.

Last year my old 14 year old lab would wake me up at 5am with her lonely bark and I would go downstairs to keep her company as she couldn’t make it upstairs with us anymore. On those mornings I started my day with meditation. I switched it up often from my TM mantra to repeating a morning prayer to listening to affirmations that I downloaded from a great website http://www.mythoughtcoach.com. I regretfully do not practice meditation daily anymore, but it did help me start the day more grounded.

Can children benefit from meditation?

I absolutely believe that they can. In my class of 8-11 year olds I play a recorded version of the meditation Sa Ta Na Ma. In this meditation you start by touching your first finger and thumb. With each sound you touch your next finger to your thumb. It makes me think of rosary beads. The music is a bit funky and hypnotic. If you were to meditate using Sa Ta Na Ma without the song, you would first say the words, then you would whisper the words and lastly you would think the words along with the finger touches.

I have children in my class that make sure that I don’t forget to play the Sa Ta Na Ma song before savasana. I think that meditating before savasana helps the kids settle into deep relaxation more quickly. One student told me that she often uses this meditation to calm herself down at home or when she feels sad.

For younger children whose attention is not as long, I do centering warm ups using sound. We sometimes take a deep breath and then draw out the sound different animals make or pretend we are bees and hum or buzz until we are out of sound. The kids love these exercises and it gives them the unique experience of group sound and energy creation. There is a great centering song by Karma Kids called Rub Your Hands (OM Song) that the kid also enjoy though it is a tad too long. I recently learned from a fellow yoga blogger that hand rubbing is a great way to stimulate both the right and left sides of your brain. Brain Gym. Great stuff.

Find a mantra, sound or song to use and give meditation a try with the children in your life. Let me know how it goes!

Current Classes:

MIDTOWN ATHLETIC CLUB

Mondays:
6-7:15am Power Vinyasa (H)

Thursdays:
6-7am Power Vinyasa

Story Time Yoga
1-1:45pm

Sundays:
5-7 year olds
9:45-10:30am
8-11 year olds
10:45-11:30am

STUDIO MOVE!

Wednesdays:
10:30-11:30 Power Vinyasa

Fridays:
Yoga for Athletes
9-10am

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