Everything in nature is made up of five elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether.
At Anahata Yoga, we focus on children yoga classes that not only fosters an awareness of oneself but creates a broader awareness of the world around us.
Fun Fact: 70% of the Earth is covered by ocean.
An Ocean Themed children class teaches kids the important role the ocean plays in our environment. The ocean is a home and food source for countless fish, mammals, birds, and more. We explore the unique traits of the creatures in the ocean and the characteristics each one expresses.
Through this topic, kids will gain an understanding of the extensive qualities of water; Soft, flexible and powerful. Additionally we focus on how some asanas and breathing techniques allow us to feel these qualities within ourselves.
Learning about the ocean and discussing the effects of global warming & climate change can be a good reminder for kids to think about how we can extend our yoga practice off the mat and learn to embrace change, understand consequences, and make better decisions.
In order to remember that we can all work together to help slow the effects of climate change, we begin our practice with a community tree pose.
Tree Pose with Mindful Breathing
Start in a circle and hold hands with your hands down low. Shift your weight to one foot, and rest your other foot on your ankle, calf or above your knee cap to come into tree pose. Inhale as you raise your arms all the way up joining your hands with the person next to you. Exhale as your lower your arms back down. Repeat this for three more breaths increasing your counts as your exhale. Whenever you are ready, change sides. Combining balance, and breath work helps to centre the mind and increases oxygen in our body to enhances our mood and our ability to focus and concentrate.
Below are just a few Asana inspired by ocean creatures that we can explore within this theme:
Crab Pose (also known as reverse table top and ardha purvottanasana in Sanskrit)
Sitting on your bottom, with your knees bent, feet flat and hands behind you. Lift your hips up hold it here for 5 counts. As Crabs usually have a distinct sideways walk, see if you can walk over to one side and then the other. Return back to centre and slowly come down. Repeat this one more time at your own pace. This pose helps to strengthen the arms and improves your posture.
Go ahead and try it with your partner
Have one partner lie on the mat feet pressed down and hands pointing back. Lift up and when you feel steady and strong, have your partner place their feet on your thighs and hands on your shoulders. Stay here for 4 counts.
Sword Fish Pose (Also known as plank and Phalakasana in Sanskrit)
Did you know there are over 30,000 species of fish in the ocean? If we don’t protect our planet Earth, research suggests climate change could wipe out 60% of all fish species.
Let us see if we can strengthen our core and come into a sword fish pose and stay here for 10 counts. This pose strengthens your abdominal muscles, shoulders and arms.
Try it with your partner
Have your partner hold high plank, whilst the other partner tucks their ankles in their partners shoulder area or upper back muscles near scapula and grab onto their partners ankles. Stay here for 10 counts.
Shark Pose (Also known as locust pose and Salabhasana in Sanskrit)
Lie on your tummy, clasp your hands behind your back and lift up your shark fin. Sharks are ancient animals, they have been on earth for at least 420 million years.
Let us hold this here for 10 counts. This pose can relieve lower back pain and improve your posture.
Now try it with your partner
One partner lays down flat on their tummy while the other partner stands above them and grabs their arms gently. Then slightly pull their arms to create an arch in their back. The partner on the floor should keep their hips and legs on the ground so this can stretch their back and shoulders.
-Share your ideas about what each of us can do to help reduce global warming
-Can one person make a difference to climate change?
-Why should we be concerned about the climate change – how does it effect us and the animals?
MEDITATION & MANTRA
To close our practice we end with this Mantra below. Chanting this mantra acts as a reminder to think globally, prompting us to go beyond ourselves and to really wish that every human, every animal, everywhere be able to experience the joys, happiness and freedom in their lives.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu–“May all beings everywhere be happy and free”
The practice of yoga not only helps us stretch our body and clear our minds but can also guide us toward right action and a compassionate concern for a safe and healthy planet to live on.