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Yoga off the Mat

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Most people thing that yoga is a series of poses that one assumes and moves through on a rectangular mat either at home or in a yoga studio or other exercise venue. Far from it... yoga is practiced off the mat. It is practiced in taking with you the idea of using your body and mind together and of remembering what Namaste (the traditional end of a yoga session) means. Namaste means the divine or light in me greets the light in you. It is one of the first things I teach youngster when I am teaching them only I use the phrase "the good in me greets the good in you."
Today in the 50 minute class I teach to 2-4th graders at a local elementary school, we did maybe 10 minutes of yoga off the mat. However, the rest of the time was a wonderful example of yoga off the mat. Each girl had the opportunity to share a story she had written, a story of something that had happened that made her feel good or a riddle. Each of the other girls (10 in all) listened carefully and gave supportive comments if appropriate. When it came to the riddles, Helena said, "Please, if you already know the answer, don't say anything. Let everyone have a chance to think for themselves." And all the girls did and had a wonderful time figuring out the riddles. All in all a very satisfying "yoga" class.
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