Many in the northern hemisphere look forward to the month of March. This is when the spring or vernal equinox occurs, usually around March 19-21. The spring equinox signals the transition from a long, dark winter to a light-filled spring. Of course, in the southern hemisphere, the opposite is true; the vernal equinox introduces the transition from summer to fall. No matter where you are on the planet, you can celebrate the equinoxes by helping your students deal with the concept of change. By incorporating themes of changing seasons into your class, you will give your students the tools to reflect and understand how the cycles of our natural world also reflect personal challenges that all people experience in life.
First, we will start with a list of conversation starters regarding changes that typically occur as we move from winter to spring. Next, we will explain how to incorporate yoga poses to ease into change. These are asana (poses) that will help your students understand how to embrace change in a gentle way.
Changing Seasons: There are common changes that happen in the northern hemisphere as we transition from winter to spring season. Ask your students to explain what these changes mean to them. Then follow-up by asking the class to brainstorm the positive effects of seasonal change. It is important to acknowledge that not all children enjoy change and many will be resistant to discussing change at first. Yet, in giving children the opportunity to discuss and reflect on change, we teach them to value their own feelings and opinions. We can encourage them to focus on positive aspects of seasonal change.
- Example: It gets warmer out.
- Sample Negative Student Responses: “I can’t go sledding anymore.” “My snowman melts!”
- Sample Positive Student Responses: “Birds come back.” “I don’t have to wear a coat when I am outside.” “Flowers begin to grow!”
- Example: The sun sets later in the day.
- Sample Negative Student Responses: “I have trouble falling asleep when it is not dark.” “I do not like to do chores outside after school but my family makes me do them for spring cleaning!”
- Sample Positive Student Responses: “I get to play outside longer!” “I get to stay up later!” “I get to plant flowers!”
- Example: The sun rises earlier in the day.
- Sample Negative Student Responses: “I can’t sleep in on the weekend because the light fills my bedroom.” “My family wakes up earlier than me and makes a lot of noise!”
- Sample Positive Student Responses: “It isn’t dark when I go to school in the morning.” “I get to see the sunrise on my way to school.”
Yoga Themes for Change: Next, try incorporating the theme of changing seasons into your class with movements.
Try a soothing and calming Palm Tree Vinyasa as a warm-up or instead of the Sun Salutation, experiment with the Moon Salutation. Try something new with your students or on your own in your personal yoga practice. This is a fun way to challenge muscle memory with new physical movements and a change up of old routines.
Some poses you may want to experiment with for your equinox class are:
You may also want to check out the Integral Yoga Hatha 1 video for the recommended asanas below. Cobra begins at the fourteen-minute mark in the video.
- Cobra and Half Locust or Locust
- Shoulder Stand and Fish
- Yoga Mudra and Yoga Nidra
The intention of Swami Satchidananda’s Integral Yoga Hatha 1 class is to allow the asanas to complement one another. This helps students strengthen their bodies and relax their minds. What a great way to help our students understand changing patterns in life and nature!
Of course, listening to your students’ ideas and suggestions and letting them show you how they experience the changing seasons through yoga is another way to get them engaged with the topic. Ask your students to share their own ideas of poses that change and transition smoothly. Explain that equinoxes are one way that Mother Nature helps us understand the continual flow of our own life force during times of change in the seasons and in our lives.
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