Peace = Power

 

Last week, on February 14, 2018, our nation watched in horror as news revealed the details of yet another school shooting. On a day celebrated annually as a day of love, our nation and the people of this Florida community witnessed an act devoid of love. They experienced anything but peace.

All over social media we see “prayers and condolences” offered to those touched by this act of violence because, for many, there are no words. As a nation, we’re in shock, and don’t truly know what to think, feel, or do first to prevent future occurrences.

We Weep
As parents, we weep with those parents, and for those parents. We weep because we now fear sending our own children to school, and we don’t know how to protect them.

As educators and administrators, we can’t imagine the pain of losing beloved students, and possibly even guilt from not being able to protect them. In WV, we weep because our educators are being devalued when to some children, a teacher may be the only advocate in their life.

As therapists, clergy, counselors, and role models, we weep for the loss of peace, hope, and for the brokenness that now exists. We weep because it seems there is never enough time, enough resources, or enough of us to help each child in need of our services.

As community members we weep because the dynamics of families are forever changed when tragedy occurs. We weep because we grieve the life and hope children bring to a community, and now so many of them are gone or hurting. We weep because a school, a safe-haven in our community will now be a permanent memorial of that day. Yes, I said “our community” because we’re all part of one greater community.

As a nation, we collectively weep. (I’ll refrain from inserting political comments here.)

As families we weep. We are so “connected” that we’re disconnected from what’s truly going on with our children. Gadgets outnumber family members, children are babysat by TV, and we hope they learn valuable life lessons from the backseat as we shuttle from place to place.

​We weep for the loss of values, family time, and the need for mental health services because so many children are the victims of trauma – in their own homes. Our nation’s teachers have a most difficult job.

Finding Peace

There are times it seems our nation will never find peace. It seems a very real possibility our children may grow up in a world where they feel unsafe, busyness equates success, and connections are made through Wi-Fi signals.

What can we do? A number of things, and I’m really only here to talk about one: choosing peace.

  1. We can remember and teach our children that peace begins with me. Peace begins with you. Peace belongs to everyone.
  2. Peace is a choice and a commitment. We can extend grace where it may be undeserved. We can hold compassion for those who are hurting, and their outward actions or lifestyle reflect their inner turmoil. We can be friendly to the unfriendly. Disregard those who are unkind and take little to nothing personally.
  3. We can teach our children to pause before they speak, act, or give energy to negative thought patterns. Give them a checklist of values, ethical guidelines, or scriptures through which to filter all behavior—then practice it ourselves.
  4. Choose to feel the collective sorrows of our nation and show our children how they can be part of the change. Don’t turn off the news, make a blanket Facebook post, and insert head in sand. Have the difficult conversations. Be real with them and then show them how to livein peace. What ways can your family get involved in the betterment of your community? Who can you serve with your time and resources?
  5. Slow down. Pay attention. Play with the children in your lives. Listen to the story beneath the story when others speak. Meditate and pray. Seek guidance and remain open to change.

This is longer than planned, and if you’ve made it this far, thank you. I wrote this from the heart after a series of conversations with my 9-year-old, who has his own challenges emotionally, and a social media comment gone wrong about how we can take action.

I’ve learned, and I pray my children learn, that peace is more powerful than violence, anger, greed, or hatred. A hug is more powerful than a hit, as my son said in different words at age 4.

Spreading peace begins with each one of us choosing peace personally.

  • It begins with each one of us deciding we are here for more than our nightly shows and personal gratification.
  • It begins with every human knowing they are here for a purpose, and only they can uniquely fulfill that purpose, so they get up off their glutes and use their skills, time, and resources to affect change.
  • Peace begins with each of us not taking everything so personally, being impeccable with our words, and staying focused on our unique mission (aka, stay in your lane).

What am I doing?

Personally, my family is a work in progress. As a divorced mom of two, we often have times of unrest. It’s not easy, and it’s not always pretty (or peaceful). I work a day job, and I teach yoga a few nights a week. This limits my time with the kids, and we do our very best to fill our time together with as much quality as possible. I am fiercely dedicated to raising children who love themselves and others, value family, and are dedicated to fulfilling their purpose in this world by actively using their skills and resources.

I’m using my skills as a yoga teacher to train others to share this discipline and practice with their future students. I’m teaching them how to apply the ethical guidelines to their own lives as well as to their teaching. I’m doing my best to teach them effective communication. I hope and pray the implementation of these tools helps them live more peacefully.

I also get the opportunity to be part of a movement in WV to train our elementary educators to share meditation, mindfulness, and movement through yogic tools with the children and families within their circle of influence. We are trying to train as many educators in the state by the end of the 2017-2018 school year as possible. These educators will gain these tools personally and put them into practice in classrooms statewide within weeks of their training. Each one will be certified to teach Kidding Around Yoga in their community.

This is how I can help. It’s all I know to do. I can make my workplace(s) a mission field for peace. I can’t reach every child, so I share from my experience and empower others to teach children how to live peaceful lives. That’s powerful.

Peace begins with me. Peace begins with you. Peace belongs to everyone. May the words and actions of my life contribute to the collective pursuit of peace. This is (one) of my prayers.

Love what you are reading? Check out the Kidding Around Yoga website, or better yet, sign up for a KAY teacher training and spread the love of kids yoga in YOUR town!

 

 

 

Family Yoga Night

I can’t imagine a better way to create connection with your loved ones than putting together a family yoga session.

Our gym holds family yoga on a weekly basis, so instilling the same regularity in a home practice only makes sense. While I do enjoy the gym sessions, it’s age-based, and they do not include partner poses. Sometimes the lack of something inspires us to create our own perfect practice.

Here are some ideas:

Start with breath
We all know how to breathe right? And if we are teachers of yoga, no doubt we’ve had the talk with our kiddos about deep breaths through the tough times of life. So for family yoga night, spin that breath work into a fun ‘om’ harmony. See how beautiful you can harmonize as a family.

From sitting to standing
Usually, your practice will begin in seated position, so to get to your feet, work in a yoga pose skit of the weekend activities. Will you be walking the dog, feeding the cat, climbing mountains, planting trees, going for a boat ride, buying a pet turtle? See what I’m doing here?

Sun salutation
After you’ve reached standing position, it’s time to get the blood flowing. Introduce the sun salutation flow, and then let each person in the family attempt to lead that flow. You will definitely be warmed up by the end of this part of your practice.

Partner poses
The body of your session will be partner poses. Oh my goodness. This is going to be fun. Each of these poses combines stretch and touch, and some require balance. Relying on your partner to help you loosen your limbs! You can start with floor poses and work your way up to standing. And if you need any additional ideas, just enter a search for kid-friendly partner poses in your favorite Internet search engine.

• Rib-Splitting Seated Triangle

 

 

• Buddy Boat

 

 

• Sailboat

 

 

 

• Back to Back Twist

 

 

 

• Double Dog

 

 

 

• Open Heart

 

 

 

 

Family savasana
After the final partner pose, move everyone into savasana. One idea for this time of mindfulness, is to take your family on their dream vacation. Once you’ve led the relaxation of all body parts, and eyes are closed, verbally direct your loved ones on an imaginary journey to their ultimate vacation. What are the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings involved on this journey? Provide a soft voice instructing them in their choices to be made. Have them tuck this idyllic vacation away for future retrieval in chaotic moments.

After you’ve connected in this time of movement and mindfulness, you can spend the rest of the evening relaxing, maybe choose a meaningful movie to watch together, cook a healthy dinner together, or just spend time reflecting individually about the practice you’ve just shared.

My experience with yoga has taught me that mindfully slowing down, breathing deeply, stretching, are all practices we NEED to incorporate regularly. We all carry tension throughout the day, even our littles. When we practice as a family, we teach our children, and we learn their needs. What a loving way to spend an evening.

**Partner Pose photos are from the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture**

Love what you are reading? Check out the Kidding Around Yoga website, or better yet, sign up for a KAY teacher training and spread the love of kids yoga in YOUR town!

The Light in “The Last Jedi”

Yog. Or yog not. There is no try.

There is so much yoga embedded into the world of Star Wars. The Force is akin to Om, Jedi principles match the eight yogic limbs, and the shapes of droids happily lend themselves to poses perfect for little ones. From mindfulness to pranayama to asana, the options for Star Wars themed yoga classes are about as wide as the far, far away galaxy. The latest installment of the series, The Last Jedi, features an era of renaissance for the Rebellion. On the brink of rebirth and revival, the characters offer many memorable messages that can be implemented into your work with little yoda yogis.

“Ben, when we touched hands, I saw your future. Just the shape of it, but solid and clear.” – Rey

The vision that Rey has is of Kylo Ren’s heart in the purest state. Seeing beyond the vrittis of his conflicting thoughts, she is able to see his core essence – and being solid and clear, it is much like a crystal quartz. Swami Karunananda’s Crystal Bowl Exercise is a fantastic way of highlighting this for your students and children.

In a clear container (glass or plastic), place a clear quartz crystal. This crystal represents the true self – the core of your being. Take a water bottle and pour water into the container, leaving at least one inch of room at the top. The water is the mind. When the mind is clear, we can easily see the crystal, or the essence of self. Next, begin to add drops of food coloring to the container. You can associate emotions to the colors: yellow as joy, red as frustration, green as jealousy, blue as sorrow. As the drops of individual colors settle, use a spoon to stir the contents of the container. When more colors are added and begin to mix with one another, the crystal becomes more difficult to see, but not impossible. Next, add sand to the container. Sand could represent very tough emotions (fear, anger), or even the little moments of day to day life (thoughts, to-do’s, etc.) that add up tremendously over time. Stir the contents once again. The mixture of color and sand in the container will become translucent or possibly even opaque. Can you see the crystal when the mixture is being twirled by the spoon? It can be tricky. It may even remain difficult to see when the contents settle. So much “stuff” has been added to the mind. But does that “stuff” change our true self? When ready, take the crystal out of the container. It will have some of the “mind” left on it – water, perhaps color, maybe a bit of sand. Using the water bottle, pour clear and clean water on the crystal. Just a tiny bit will remove the “stuff”, and there, just as before, will be the crystal – the pure self.

This visual shows that Kylo Ren (and everyone else within our galaxies) is good at their core. At times, the “stuff” makes it more challenging to see the pure self, but that does not change the fact that the pure self remains. In her video Raja Yoga by Lalita, Kidding Around Yoga teacher Lalita Vigander describes: “we identify with our thoughts instead of our true selves. Our natural state of calm emanates our true selves – our crystal.” Sinking into and identifying with his painful thoughts keeps Kylo Ren in role as the antagonist. Rey, awakened to her Jedi spirit, invites Kylo Ren to detach from pain and embrace calm. She sees the real him. The way of the Jedi invites us to approach our minds with peace and clarity. This exercise can be done as a demonstration in front of your students, or with each child mixing their own container and finding the hope of their unchanged core – their clear crystal.

“The greatest teacher, failure is.” – Yoda

How will we know if we never try?! This mantra can be helpful for yogis of all ages as they approach new asanas. Wheel, candle, and all crow pose variations may seem intimidating to newer practitioners. Failure is a First Attempt In Learning. It means you tried something new! And to be a Jedi, one must make many efforts. Encourage your yogis to try and try again. Whether success comes or not, there is always a lesson that will unfold.

“She cared more about saving the light than seeming heroic.” – General Leia Organa about Amilyn Holdo

While in charge of the Raddus, Vice Admiral Holdo advances her plans to bring the team to safety. When met with disbelief and rebuttal, she quietly persists, not letting the fears or doubts of others influence her decision making. Our little yogis are always looking up to us. Are we modeling the practices that we’re teaching? Are we always staying our true course? Know that wherever you are, young eyes are watching you and looking up to you. If you live your truth, they will live theirs.  

Additionally, when General Leia expresses this admiration for the Vice Admiral’s perseverance, she notes the selfless attitude that Holdo has. The Vice Admiral was more concerned with serving the greater good than being recognized for her leadership. This is a perfect opportunity to tie Karma Yoga into your teachings. Karma Yoga is about selflessly giving back to others with gratitude for what you have. Holdo was graciously thankful for her friendship with General Leia, and when it was her turn to steer the ship, she honored that companionship by doing what was best for the Alliance. What can your little yogis do to save the light? Perhaps this is taken literally – turning off electronics at home or in the studio when they are not in use, or perhaps figuratively – preserving positivity, empathy, and kindness within the community. What acts can you assign as OMwork for your students? How can we encourage them to selflessly save the light?

“This is how we win. Not by fighting what we hate, but by saving what we love.” – Rose Tico

Much like the characters in Star Wars, we live in turbulent times. Focusing our energies and our efforts on preserving these ancient practices that keep us grounded and on track will move our universe forward. Unconditional love is a result of a steady yoga practice, just as it is in the practice of the Jedi.

“We are the spark that will light the fire…” – Poe Dameron

Sharing the practices and benefits of yoga with the young people of our world is such an amazing gift. Love and light are qualities that don’t diminish. By sharing them, they grow. We, as yoga teachers, are the spark that will light the fire of future generations. Let us rise to the occasion with full force. May we embrace this incredible opportunity. We are laying the foundation for a world full of peaceful children. After all, in the words of wise Yoda, “We are what they grow beyond.”

Namaste and may the force be with you, always!

Sound: More Than Meets the Ear

When you hear a bell ringing, you are listening to energy making a journey. -Sarah Schain

Sound is an important part of the human experience. Just think about how music makes you feel! Songs, their melodies and rhythm, their patterns and harmonies can make us get up and dance joyfully or sit quietly and feel pain.

An article by Sarah Schain describes sound like this: “Everything that exists in the universe is energy.  We are all forms of energy. Sound is created by “sound energy” or additionally thought of as “mechanical energy”.  The thoughts and feelings we have vibrate at specific frequencies.  Frequencies can best be thought of in terms of musical notes. So, simply speaking; we are each individual energy forms vibrating at various and uniquely personalized frequencies.  Imagine that the feeling of happiness vibrates at a higher frequency than the feeling of sadness.  Envision each note on a piano scale correlating with a different feeling…..  You could answer the question “How are you feeling?” with a musical tune instead of a word! ”

As far back as the 17th century, scientists noticed that objects tend to begin synchronistic movements based on sound. Two pendulums placed next to each other eventually start swinging at the same tempo. Don’t believe me? Check out this video of 32 pendulums syncing up all on their own. Amazing, right?

So obviously sound waves have power. And water is an ideal carrier of sound vibrations. When you strike a chime or a gong, the air surrounding the chime also vibrates. The vibrations  spread quickly through our bodies, which are more than 80% water and this results in a very delicate massage of internal organs and even cells. Your body is literally bathed in the sound waves.

Harness that power, that universal energy, and use it to create an experience that will resonate with your kids long after the sound disappears.

  • Tibetan singing bowls are said to recreate the universal original harmonic frequency and stimulate the body to rediscover its own organic vibration. When exposed to the powerful vibrations of a singing bowl, the body is able to retune itself to its original, healthy frequency. This makes us feel more settled and calm. Tibetan singing bowls are easily purchased online and come in a variety of sizes and corresponding tones. You can also purchase singing bowl songs to use in class. Invite children to listen for the sound that seems furthest away and follow that tone until it disappears. When their chosen sound is gone, they choose another tone to follow. This keeps them focused, with their thoughts filtered out by the sound. Play the bowls (or the recorded bowl sounds) fairly loudly to recreate the strong vibrations. You can even place the bowls and the children’s bellies when you play them for an immediate recognition of the vibrations.
  • If you have access to a gong, your kids are in for a beautiful, relaxing treat. There’s something magical about a gong’s vibrations that just wash over and through your body. Have children come into Corpse Pose (simply lying flat on their backs, eyes closed) and begin to gently play the gong. At first, the sound may be overwhelming or strange to them. But eventually, the vibrations help the children calm down and even drift to sleep. If you don’t have a gong, you can find gong sounds on YouTube. Like the Tibetan singing bowls, you’ll want the volume to be fairly loud to create strong sound waves.
  • Try a walking meditation with little jingle bells! Give each child a jingle bell (or 2 if you have enough) to hold with their “monkey toes”. Then, very slowly, begin to walk. You want to be so careful, so mindful and smooth, that you don’t hear any jingles at all. I like to tell my kids to pretend they are walking in slow-motion on the moon. Make it a partner activity by having one child walk silently with a bell to their partner across the room. When they arrive, they jingle the bell and pass it to their partner to walk back without noise.
  • A great way to practice mindful listening is to use tingsha bells18402888735_434c64bd9a_z. Tingsha bells are like tiny cymbals joined by a leather strap that, when struck, produce a lovely lingering tone. Have children sit up tall on the floor (or in their chairs if practicing at school), eyes closed, palms up on their laps. Tell them their palms are going to act as extra ears, sensitive to sound waves (a science lesson, too!). Ring the tingsha once and as long as they hear the sound, their palms remain up. When they no longer hear the tone, they turn their palms down. Try this a couple of times. Then, you can use it to quiet the kids throughout the school day. When they hear the chime, they turn on their super-sensitive ears and listen for the end of the chime. Don’t have a tingsha bell? Any chime or bell can work.

What Kind of Garden Do You Want to Grow?

When I go into my kid’s yoga class, I tell them meditating is the most important thing they will ever learn in their whole life.  Yoga makes our bodies strong and also our minds.  We work on the muscles through the poses and I ask them to show me their muscles.

“But what about this muscle that lives inside our head?”  I point to my head and ask, “What is this called?”

“OUR BRAIN!”  they shout out.

“Do you think this muscle that lives inside our heads is important?” 

“YES”

“Can your body live without your brain?” 

“No.”

“Can your brain live without your body?” 

“No, then you would just be a head” one kid said. “Wouldn’t that be weird?”  

“Do you know how we can make our brain muscle stronger? Our brain lifts weights through sitting still and being quiet.” 

They looked confused.  I put my hand on my forehead and say, “This part of our brain is…repeat after me…the PRE…Frontal…Cortex.”  They repeat it.  “This part of our brain is responsible for making us kind, more focused, this is where love comes from and being rational. Do you know what rational means?” 

They say “NO!” (of course) 

“Rational means the opposite of emotional.”

I go on to repeat things that I have heard my kids in Title One schools say that are emotional and the opposite of rational. They say things like, stop touching me, get your hands off of me, stop playing, don’t make me come over there.    (Now mind you, my Title One school kids live in the toughest neighborhoods in St Pete, FL.  There are fights constantly, gangs, drug dealers, etc. in their neighborhoods.)  This parroting of lines comes directly from their immediate surroundings.  They all laugh because they know they have all said these things.

I put my hand on the back of my head just above my neck and say, “The emotional part of our brain lives back here.”  I bring my hand back onto my forehead.  “This prefrontal cortex helps us to focus and stay calm and be kind and helps us make good choices.”  

I ask, “Do you make good choices when you are mad?”

“NO.”  

“So we make this part of our brain stronger through meditating.  It makes this part of your brain bigger and stronger so it beats out the emotional part of our brain and you can make better choices.  Ok so now I will teach you one way to meditate.”

We touch our fingers to our thumbs and repeat these words PEACE BEGINS WITH ME.  We say it a couple of times

Then I stop to ask everyone, “What do you get when you plant a strawberry seed?” 

“Strawberries!” 

“What do you get when you plant a blueberry seed?” 

“Blueberries!” 

“So if you say I hate myself, I am ugly, fat or stupid, what kind of seeds do you plant in your mind?” 

“Hateful.” 

“Ok so if you plant the seeds of repeating PEACE BEGINS WITH ME over and over again what kind of mind do you get?”

“PEACEFUL!”

“This is how we make our brains stronger! This is how we learn to make ourselves calm.  Do you think you make good choices when you’re calm?”

“YES!”

“Ok so let’s do it! Let’s learn how to make our minds calm.”

We repeat PEACE BEGINS WITH ME.  We say it all together out loud, then whisper and then silently in our minds.  I leave them to meditate as long as they can.  While they are still silent I ask them to listen to me while I ask them a few more questions.

“Now how does your mind feel?”

“Calm, peaceful, happy, sleepy.” 

“Is there any anger in there?” 

Most say “NO” (and if they say yes then I tell them they need to meditate longer! LOL.) 

“If you did this every day, how do you think your mind would feel?  What kind of garden do you want to grow in your mind?”

Yoga in a Winter Wonderland

It doesn’t get very cold here in the south, so we often have to play pretend or make-believe when it comes to the winter season.  Our imaginations are so vivid that I came up with a winter wonderland themed yoga class.  Kids and parents love it! I tend to get a little over-zealous decorating, but you can do this class as an impromptu break from the usual, or you can plan ahead and go overboard, too!  It is a great class to do near the holidays, as a birthday, or just because.  Take a couple of the following tips and run with it.

·       To prepare kids for one of the most important parts of their yoga practice, meditation, get them running around a little first so that their bodies have all the “jiggles” out and they are ready to sit for a few minutes.  Tell them to imagine a blizzard is coming and they are the snow! Snow flurries start to fall really softly but then they become heavier and heavier and the wind swirls them faster and faster.  The children ARE the snow flurries flying, swirling, and blustering about the room.  As you get ready to meditate, talk about how blizzards eventually end and the air becomes soft as the ground swells with beautiful twinkling snow. Everything is quiet.

·       A fun yoga game to play blends a race with yoga poses.  I call it Migrating Birds (you could even throw in a mini-lesson on seasonal migration!).  Have the children stand in a line side-by-side.  As you stand across the room, call to them “warm, cool, cold”.  The goal is to get to your side first.  Of course, the game is just for fun, so keep it light.  Anyway, when you say “warm”, the kids can crawl.  When you say “stop”, call a pose such as table, cat/cow, or tiger.  When you say “cool”, they walk.  As they stop from here, their poses should be standing such as mountain, tree, or star.  When you say “cold”, the children need to run to get south fast! Switch it up!

·       Show them a new pose, called penguin.  It is basically a duck walk. Start in a deep squat and tuck your elbows as you walk around the room.  This can easily be adapted into a partner pose where kids can hold each other hands in front of them to help maintain balance.

·       If you want to include story time, a classic, great book is Ezra jJck Keats, The Snowy Day.  It isn’t too long and it’s perfect for all ages.  If you want to do a craft, an inexpensive and not-too-messy one is snowflake making!  All you need is paper and scissors.  There are a ton of patterns online to teach you how to do different shapes. 

·       Lastly, a great activity to delve into raja yoga, and to get kids thinking about the “Big Picture” as well as philosophical ponderings such as the idea of change and permanency, is the Ice Cube Melt.  Startwith a piece/cube of ice and discuss what the ice cube actually is…it is water (remember your chemistry?).  Now, show them how things are always changing, yet their integrity is still the same. Use a hairdryer to melt the ice. Ask them what it is now. Laugh when they say “a mess!”.  Reiterate that it is water still, just different.  Ask them how that applies to them.  If they are older, this will be easier, however, even young kids will pick up more than we expect.

Add your own ideas, omit some listed, do your own thing.  Just make sure you share the magic of winter and create a cool yoga class!

Polar Bear Yoga

They are cute, fluffy, and super wintry, although you may not want to try to cuddle one! What are they? Polar bears, of course.  Kids love learning about animals, especially these unique bears.  A polar bear themed yoga class is the perfect opportunity to blend academic learning and fun activities. 

  • Start the adventure by greeting students as they enter the frigid arctic! You could decorate the space with icicles, snow mounds, pictures of Arctic animals, and streamers of green, pink, purple, and blue to mimic the Northern Lights. Make sure you still include a meditation, like Peace Begins with Me!

 

  • For a fun pranayama, or breathing exercise, have the kids pretend they are cold and “warm up” their hands with their breath! This will give them a chance to really feel their breath, its temperature, and how their belly inflates and deflates as they inhale and exhale. 

 

  • Before the class, let students know that they are to bring one of their favorite stuffed toys or their treasured pals.  During the class, children become mama/papa bear.  Tell them how mama/papa bears are very protective over their baby bears and that it is their job to keep their little bears safe, warm, and protected.  Pretend to feed and cuddle the little bears and show them how to do poses with their “baby”. They should be mindful of where their baby is, if they are warm, and keep them safe.

 

  • One of the best elements about this class is the ability to teach some environmental aspects in a way that happens organically and is relatable.  One of the ways scientists know our Earth is too warm is by the behavior and habitats of polar bears. (These guys are actually used in a ton of research pertaining to this topic).  You could show a quick video with real polar bear footage or even have a zoologist come to talk to the class about the bears and the challenges they face.  A game to play that helps kids understand how the bears’ habitats are diminishing is to lay out a humongous sheet of white paper that represents ice. Or, just have them place their mats side-by-side, like a giant chunk of ice. Have everybody practice their yoga poses with music on the sheet/ice.  As the music progresses, roll up the paper/mats, making less space.  As space becomes limited, the students (i.e. the bears) have to move off the ice sheet until there are only 1-3 students left.  Of course, really young students probably will not understand this analogy, but six years and up will.  It brings awareness and helps them to empathize with the bears.

 

  • Cotton balls, cardstock, yarn, and googly eyes are all that is needed to make some cute, little polar bears.  Have the students cut the paper in the shape of a bear or a circle, glue the ruffled (by pulling it out) cotton balls and the eyes to the cardstock, and add a scarf with the yarn.  If you have younger students, you could always pre-cut the bear shape.

 

 

  • As you are settling down and preparing for savasana, ask your students what bears do for a really long time.  They will most likely know about hibernation, but if they don’t, now is a great time to introduce the concept! Let them know that in their Secret Garden, they and their baby bears are going to hibernate over the long winter.  You could even write a guided meditation about snowy river banks, alpine trees, cozy bear caves, etc. 

Have fun with this class by using your imagination!