Exceptional Children – Grounded at Hopewell Middle School

Written by Sedef Dion on . Posted in Middle School Yoga, Special Needs

I recently had the honor of teaching  a very special group of middle schoolers at Hopewell Middle School during their Exceptional Children’s Week.

Some of these children are in wheel chairs, some are on autism spectrum, some were verbal and others not at all.  The classes also include teens with down syndrome and other special needs.

As I greeted them entering the room, my heart was full of gratitude. I knew I would be able to help these teens move, breathe and connect with their bodies. With each passing moment, our yoga room at school was pulsing with an unbelievable energy, joy and hope. The kids were amazing and their grand effort to be present left me inspired to come back for more. Their incredible teachers were willing to pull, push, move and breathe with them and were absolutely powerful beyond words.

When teaching yoga to special needs populations, we as yoga teachers need to be grounded, patient, and willing to give 100% with out any judgment. Equally important is the willingness to connect with each person through compassion and love.

When we said Namaste and looked at each other, my heart was full again knowing that I made a difference in these kids’ and teachers’ lives. And that is priceless. I love what I do! Wahe Guru!

To Trust somebody takes time, patience and guidance. “I’ve Got Your Back” pose builds trust between student and teacher. Breathing deeply allows hearts to open.

When the heart opens, our inner light shines!

Sometimes one look can replace many words. We are all trying to ground and connect. Some are heel sitting, others in butterfly, stretching legs or standing.

Final resting pose allows the body and mind to surrender. Reassurance of a loving teacher’s hand is always there.

Connecting through movement and breath. Namaste is our final greeting. Namaste!

 

Grounded, Age Nine

Written by admin on . Posted in Community Supporters, Elementary School Yoga, High School Yoga, Middle School Yoga, Student Feedback

Flash back almost seven years ago…

I was in fourth grade and I went to school at Fernbank Elementary. A few times a week we would have these great pauses from academic work, in which we would do yoga. Whether it was making dog noises in down dog or meowing and mooing in cat cow, it was one of the best times of the day. For those of you who do yoga you know after an exhilarating class the much earned savasana is what you have to look forward to. But for those of you who have not worked with a group of 4th graders, laying still and being quiet is not their strong suit. Nevertheless yoga would grow to be one of my favorite things, and savasana became a much earned treat after a hard flow.

One day, Cheryl Crawford was telling my friends and I all about how this weekend she was training a group of adults to become yoga teachers. “Why can’t we be yoga teachers?” I asked truly wondering because if adults can do it so can we.  That night one of the other girls there called up Cheryl and suggested the name “Grounded Kids Peace Patrol”.

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It was the funniest thing to see a group of fourth graders laughing about how they were going to become “grounded”. That was how the Grounded Kids Methodology was started.

Flash forward  six years…

I am now a student a Druid Hills High School and it is the summer before my Sophomore year. I am at cheerleading practice over the summer which we hold at school. To get in shape we would do a number of various fun activities. One day it my be Zumba but on this day an art teacher offered to do yoga with all of this. After the great hour of yoga, I stayed to talk to the teacher about yoga and how I wish we could have it as a P.E.class, like I did in both Elementary School and Middle School. She thought this was an amazing idea and contacted Cheryl Crawford. Only a few days later I introduced Cheryl to  our principal, Brittany Cunningham. Shortly after, we had yoga as a PE class, open to everyone.

Flash forward to this year,

Only a year after the class started at Druid Hills, a full fledged movement was well in swing, getting schools all around Atlanta yoga. It only seemed right that I was part of this too. I am now an intern at the Atlanta Yoga Movement, only seven short years after I helped start Grounded Kids.

Dekalb County Wants The Yogas

Written by Cheryl Crawford on . Posted in Community Supporters, Curriculum, Elementary School Yoga, High School Yoga, Inspiration, Middle School Yoga

Today we officially added our “United States of You Curriculum” to the Dekalb County School Network and created official Student Learning Objectives (SLO’s)  for the State of Georgia.

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Afterwards, I sat down with Jennifer Powell,Health and Physical Education Coordinator of Dekalb County Schools.

I shared my heart’s desire to serve the district with yoga IF and only IF they actually want it. 

She said YES, she wants yoga for her district, and  wants Atlanta Yoga Movement to:

Teach Elementary, Middle and High School Yoga sequences to PE and Health Teachers during pre-planning week.

Provide PE and Health Teachers with yoga mats, our sequence posters and our instructional videos.

Create more yoga videos for the teachers to share with students and have as a resource.

Teach a Get Grounded 10 hour PLU Course to interested Dekalb County Employees.

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After our refreshing hour long chat, I went outside to jump for joy.

YES, this system is ready for yoga.

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As I was beaming and bouncing, out walks the Social Studies Coordinator of Dekalb County Schools.

She said she wants to learn how to practice yoga, and the Board of Education’s personal gym would be a great place to start.

“My anxiety is up to my nose, and I’d love to get healthy. I’m glad you are here for us as well as the students.”

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Here’s to clarity, connections, collaboration and bright energy in Dekalb County Schools.

May all Dekalb County students, teachers, staff,and parents have more ease in their body, in their mind and in their hearts.

 

Help expand our program by making a donation. A $50 donation can help us teach up to 100 students yoga at a time.

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