This word used with a gesture of palms together held in front of the heart space (Anaji Mudra / Namaste Mudra ) can mean many different things and be translate in several ways. In the children’s class they are asked to take Namaste Mudra or hold hands over their heart and say the words Namaste. The meaning conveyed in the Funky Monkey Class means “thank you” or to paraphrase Kira Willey from her Namaste song “the light in me sees the light in you, I honour you as you honour me”.
Namaste in the Funky Monkey classes is used as a form of respect, asking the children to acknowledge themselves and others.
Domo Arigato Gozaimasu
This phrase is a Japanese form of thank you. When I use this term in class I am meaning “Thank you very much for everything you have taught me”. During my time as a student and also as a teacher of Aikido we finish every class with this phrase. It is used as a form of respect. For me personally I see this as an opportunity to be mindfully aware of how every single student contributes to the class and how I never leave a class without learning something new. I bow low when I repeat this phrase either silently or out loud as my form of gratitude and respect to the students who attend my classes.
Centering or Grounding points allow us to bring our attention into different parts of our body. I teach the children to feel for sensations. When we discuss centering I might ask them to place their hands on an area of their body where they feel a sensation or thought. This may correspond with how a yoga pose feels or an emotion or what they are thinking. I will always encourage them to come back to the “centre”. This might be at one point, the heart centre or the mind centre. Different centres will give them focus and allows them time to calm down (if they are emotional), concentration (if they are thinking too much) or find physical balance and centre of gravity (if they are physically unstable and cannot balance).
Physical Centre / One Point
The point just below the navel corresponds with the Sacral Chakra. In Aikido we call this One Point. This is the centre of gravity. Thinking of this point can help you feel stronger in your stance and you may be harder to move then if your attention is in the top of your head.
With awareness at this point, practicing balance and stability poses can become easier, particularly when used with the other two centering points.
Heart Centre / Emotional Centre
This is taught as being along the midline of the body. Anatomically the heart sits a little to the left of centre however asking the children to meet at the midline of the body provides them with another opportunity to physically align for balance and stability.
Discussing the heart centre in the Funky Monkey Classes is used not only for physical centering but also as a way of inviting children to notice how they emotionally feel. During some yoga poses I ask the children to notice how a pose makes them feel in their heart. They may even be asked to focus their attention at the heart by using Namaste Mudra or placing a hand over their heart space.
Mindful awareness of emotions is one aspect of teaching children to notice how they feel. No child is forced to name an emotion but rather it is used to invite them to start to notice emotions and hopefully eventually name how they are feel therefore encouraging open communication.
Mind Centre / Focus Point / Drishti
The concept of Drishti is a specific point of focus. Drishti can be an external point which the children are encouraged to look at. Crystals, spots on the floor and physical items are often used in the front of the children when practicing asana, particularly balance poses or yoga poses children may be struggling to stay still during. The children are encouraged to look at this item while holding the yoga pose.
Practicing yoga in this way teaches concentration and focus.
An internal method of Drishti can also be used to encourage stilling the mind in meditation. This method is not used often in the kids classes although during our meditation time I will ask the children to use their imagination and focus on something they are asked to visualise an object on the screen of the mind at the point between the eyebrows.
If you are interesting in your child learning yoga please contact me via email or mobile 0438 264 354