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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Autumn Yoga Activites

Now that even San Diego is steeped in the spirit of Fall (rain, days below 70, russet and gold leaves blanketing every outdoor surface), it follow suit that our yoga should reflect this time of coming (more) inward, but still remaining aware of the earth around us.

I thought about collecting fall leaves before a class and having each child pick out one that resonates (though I'd use the word "one you like"). Then we'd hold the leaves, feel the texture, recognize the colors, maybe see if they had scent...are they brittle, or still a little pliable? We could use our breath to move the leaves on the mat and see how powerful our breath can be. With this exercise I need to remember to not have them do a lot of powerful exhales in a row as this can leave (many of) us a little lightheaded (though kids might enjoy that feeling, with the explanation that letting out too much breath too fast can make you feel less balanced).

Then we could start with tree pose, holding our leaves, then letting them go and seeing if we could hold our tree strong and still even while our gaze 'fell' with the leaves. And then, the fun begins. WE would be the leaves, falling slowly, spiraling around the room, drifting up and down, letting the wind carry us, and eventually coming to rest on our own mats in child's pose, taking a few calming breaths after our journeys.

Another activity would be to do leaf rubbings with thin paper, an assortment of leaves and some nice unwrapped crayons (the fat ones made for smaller children would work really well). That would allow to really intergrate the sense of the leaf texture, and allow them to have a keepsake of their yoga experience.

For savasana (or a brief rest if it can be incorporated) I could speak about leaves gently falling from a tree to rest on the soft ground, perhaps if there is time, falling into a stream of water, floating effortlessly along in the slowly setting sun...that might be nice guided imagery.

It's also nice to teach them, esp. during awakening after savasana, how to generate their own heat by rubbing their hands fast fast fast fast fast.... then placing them over their eyes that might still not be ready to open, and feel the warmth.

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