In this day and age, when our nightly news is filled with terrifying stories from around the globe, it can sometimes be difficult to think of trusting others. However, without the ability to see the kindness or genuineness in others, we are left lonely and separated from the greater community around us. How do we teach our children to be cautious, but also trusting of the overall goodness that people possess? To me, it is about reinvesting in connections.
As the sun finally starts to shine a little brighter and the last of the snow melts, I begin to think of warmer weather, of springtime, and of the potential for life and growth once again! In the coming weeks, I will use the inspiration of spring to explore the theme of Trust (Satya).
What does is mean to have trust? Consider the following three definitions, as provided by dictionary.com.
1. To rely upon or place confidence in someone or something
In this day and age, when our nightly news is filled with terrifying stories from around the globe, it can sometimes be difficult to think of trusting others. However, without the ability to see the kindness or genuineness in others, we are left lonely and separated from the greater community around us. How do we teach our children to be cautious, but also trusting of the overall goodness that people possess?
To me, it is about reinvesting in connections. Our technology keeps us connected at a moments notice, but it does not allow for the same level of comfort or richness that an in-person conversation can provide.
This spring, I will be trying to spend less time in front of my computer or phone and more time in person with those I really care about. I will be reinvesting in these friendships and taking the time to see how the people I care about are doing. I will give support, and I will also build connections with people whom I can rely on when I’m struggling and need the comforting hand of a friend or loved one to help pull me back up on my feet.
2. Reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence
Trust is also about understanding ourselves: who we are and who we want to become. It is about challenging ourselves, dedicating ourselves to things that matter to us, and confidently sticking to the core values that underlie the actions we take in our lives.
3. Confident expectation of something; hope
If you had asked me in January whether this winter would ever end, I admit that my hope, my faith, was challenged! And yet, here we are in April. The street parking spots have returned to their normal sizes and the sidewalks are once again easily accessible.
An important aspect of trust is having hope and believing in your own ability to actualize those hopes that you hold most dear.
In the coming weeks, we will be working with our students on building their sense of confidence and trust in themselves as yogis and as individuals. We will also be focusing on ways to remain engaged with our neighborhoods in ways that facilitate the building of community, of connection, and of trust. Lastly, we will spend time thinking about what our hopes are for ourselves and for our world and how we can be part of fulfilling these visions. We will learn how to nurture our relationships, our world, and ourselves.
We invite you to join us on this journey. We will do yoga, we will do art, we will talk, we will play, and we will breathe!
Ideas for helping students build their sense of confidence and trust in themselves
1. Have each student identify a yoga move that they have not yet been able to master. Encourage them to pledge to spend a few minutes each day practicing this pose. The goal is to push themselves to accomplish new things and have confidence in their abilities. However, the other goal is to recognize that sometimes this takes time, effort, and endurance in order to achieve.
2. Before class, cut handprints out of cardboard (they can be also purchased in packs from many craft stores). Ask students to write, on each finger, one personal strength that they feel they possess. Then in the center of the palm, write one thing that they want to keep working on. Offer an opportunity for each student to share what they have written and facilitate a conversation on how students can work towards accomplishing their goals.
Ideas for remaining engaged with our communities
1. Inspire students to pick a cause and volunteer a weekend of their time. Not only does this encourage investment in their community, but it is also a great way to foster a sense of competency in kids.
2. Bridge Building . . . I love building bridges with kids! I assign kids into groups of 2-3, depending on the size of the group, and give them popsicle sticks and masking tape. Bridges can be suspended from two chairs, tables, or any other raised surfaces, but no part of the bridge can touch the ground. The assignment is to build a bridge that can handle the weight of ten soup cans (that I lug into class). This game requires teamwork, communication, negotiation, and creativity in order to be accomplished. Additionally, it can also be the start of a productive discussion around the metaphor of bridges: how do we get where we want to go? How do we build metaphoric bridges in our own communities? How do we support ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities?
Ideas for fostering hope
1. For an art activity at the end of class, invite students to think about a person in their lives who could use a kind word. Perhaps they know of a sick relative, a neighbor, or a friend who is going through a hard time. Provide supplies for students to write an encouraging and loving card to this person.
2. Group mural: Provide a large piece of paper (a role of butcher paper works nicely) and invite the group to create a mural about their hopes for themselves and for the world. This activity not only requires collaboration, but it also demonstrates that what a group of people can create together can be more powerful than what one person can do on their own.
Katie Novick, a Licensed Social Worker, received her teaching certificate from Childlight Yoga in 2010 and is the newest member of the CLY Merrimack Valley team. She has been running therapeutic groups with children and adolescents since 2008 and is excited to be focusing her group experience on helping kids to learn yoga skills that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. Katie believes that yoga can be used to help children build physical and mental strength, to feel in tune with themselves and with their peers, to learn skills to help them relax when the world gets stressful, and to increase children’s sense of self-esteem.
For information on ChildLight Yoga's classes for adolescents (Girl Time Yoga, Karma Teens, Peace Ambassadors) and all other ages, please visit www.childlightyoga.com. Classes are currently available in Merrimack Valley area and Newburyport, MA as well as Portsmouth and Dover, NH.