Becoming Young Yoga Warriors
School may be out, but that doesn’t mean the fun and learning stops at Mount Saint Vincent. Lucretia Miller, the School Social Worker, took the week long break from classes as an opportunity to try out a yoga group with some of the children in residential treatment.
Thanks to The River Power Vinyasa Yoga, Miller is trained in the young warrior yoga model, which is very cognizant of the mental health components of yoga. Over the course of the week, she has focused on how the children can use breathing as a tool to decrease stress and increase body awareness.
“I’ve talked to them about how they might not always have Silly Putty when stressed, but they always have breath,” said Miller.
When the yoga group meets, they start with a welcome and talk, and then move into a sun salutation to warm up their bodies. Next, they do active movements, typically by playing a game that involves different yoga poses. One of the games, called the Wave Game, has each child pick a card with a pose on it and then execute the pose in a circle—like a wave.
“The games are a great way for them to not only learn the poses, but to also get energy out in a safe way,” said Miller.
After doing active movements, the children work to calm their bodies by doing drawings of the warrior poses and listening to the stories behind them. Finally, the children do savasana, or the pose of total relaxation.
Being still can be challenging for children, especially children who have trouble regulating their emotions. Miller helps the children during savasana by talking about their mat being a safe place, and that they need to ask permission to go on another mat. Then, she asks them to close their eyes and visualize her creating a safe and happy “bubble” around them, which she does by touching their head, and then squeezing their feet. After they are in their bubble, Miller sprays essential oils, which helps deepen their mindfulness and relaxation.
Overall, the children are enjoying learning about the culture of yoga and how to use breath as a tool.
“Yoga teaches them to see the light in everyone. We are all a part of a community where we’re learning from each other,” said Miller.