This is Part 2 in a four part series on Om for Kids and Teens. Watch for Part 1: The Sound of the Universe. Part 3: To Om or Not to Om and Part 4: The Benefits of Om.
Hello, my name is Donna Freeman, founder of Yogainmyschool.com. Today we’re here to talk about the wonderful sound OM.
Invariably when I go into a school or to teach children, somebody in the class who has never done yoga before will come in, sit down on their mat and go like this, “OOOMMMMM!” They are all excited to begin chanting. So, I’ll show you how to do that properly and the aspects of OM you can teach to children.
Today Alea has joined me. She is going to learn a few mudras, hand positions that you can do while chanting OM. As well as the different aspects of the sound itself.
Now when you chant OM, it’s really helpful because the vocalization changes the energy in your body, it provides healing energy. It enhances your overall health. It calms your emotions and quiets the mind while providing relaxation. And increases the sense of togetherness.
When you chant om, a lot of people, because of how it is written in English, think it is just two sounds O-M. I actually prefer the written form A-U-M, for OM, because that represents much better the sounds which you are producing.
There are three and a half parts to om. The first is down here in your belly. It is a big aaaahhh sound. And then the uuuuu sound is up into your chest. From there the mmmmm comes to your head. It’s like a buzzing bee. Then there is blessed silence. When you OM you have those parts to it.
The other part is a mudra if you are comfortable with that. The two most popular are anjali mudra, or namaste hands. Anjali meaning heart. So you can bring your thumbs to your sternum. The other would be gyan mudra where you make a circle with your index finger and thumb and the rest of your fingers are extended, and then you place that on your knees. You can choose whichever one of those you like. Or if you are not comfortable with either one you don’t need to do it either.
Join with us in oming three times. Close your eyes. Inhale.
Take a deep breath. Bow your head. And allow your eyes to fall open.
Very nicely done.
So I hope that helps for when you are teaching OM to children and teens and bringing the lovely sound of yoga into your life. Have a wonderful day. Namaste.
Donna Freeman, founder of Yoga In My School, is interviewed by Stacey Shanks of Yoga and Life. We discuss building a kids yoga community of sharing, where to get inspiration for kids yoga classes, benefits of yoga for children, the impact of yoga on kids minds & bodies, the wealth of information found on Yoga In My School and in Once Upon a Pose, and the power behind thematic yoga adventure stories.
onday, March 28, 2011 was a great day, a momentous day, a once-in-a-life time kind of day. It was the day I woke up to find my name in the Wall Street Journal. Yes, the actual Wall Street Journal.
In mid-February I was contacted via e-mail by WSJ reporter Emily Glazer who had heard about Yoga In My School from Shari Vilchez-Blatt of Karma Kids Yoga in NYC (a million thanks to Shari). Emily was looking for information on yoga in schools, yoga for special needs, interesting/creative ways of teaching kids yoga. You’ve come to the right place!
I remember calling my husband, as he was out of town on business, and saying I’d received an e-mail from the Wall Street Journal. He chuckled and said to make sure it wasn’t spam but was actually from wsj.com. It was. Emily & I e-mailed back and forth and set up an interview date & time.
The interview lasted over an hour – a little longer than the 20 mins we’d planned on. Emily asked a lot of interesting, thought provoking questions and was intrigued by the interconnections between the brain’s function and movement. She was kind enough to ask about my personal story, how I came to be an expert in kids/teens yoga, and wanted as much information as possible about the kids yoga community and others involved in doing amazing things in bringing yoga to kids. For this we kept referring back to the Yoga In My School Interview series.
As well she wanted proof: studies showing the claims stating the benefits of yoga for kids were true. This is the Wall Street Journal after all, not a feel good article or a personal interest piece.
Needless to say my follow up e-mail was lengthy with lots of links to substantiate the kids yoga and mindfulness movement and shine a light on the many amazing people with whom I have the privilege to work (check out our Yoga Links I Love list).
Emily then pitched the story to her editors. She came back with further questions via e-mail and phone calls on various occasions wanting to know the number of schools in the US who use yoga, the costs of funding a yoga program, training expenses, locations where it is especially popular, and hurdles or obstacles which prevent yoga from being adopted into all schools. Some of these questions were challenging as I felt I was representing all kids yoga instructors with my answers and I wanted the information to be accurate, informative and authentic.
Emily then let me know that the article would be published on March 28th. I waited. In the meantime I learned that WSJ was also filming a video regarding kids yoga and that elementary students in Encinitas, CA were involved in a photo shoot. By Sunday the 27th I was simply happy to have been part of the process, that getting the message out regarding kids yoga and the good it can do for children of all ages and abilities was what was most important. I hoped that the WSJ’s article was open and fair, and that thanks to its reach and credibility more schools would offer yoga to their students.
It was with some trepidation that I googled the article Monday morning. First I found the video. How fun! Then I clicked on the article and found myself in tears as I read. Emily had done a fabulous job with the material … and I even got quoted.
So yes, Monday, March 28th, 2011 was a great day! A great day for yoga for kids and teens.
Please share the article with parents, teachers and school administrators in you know. Together we can make a positive impact on children’s lives, their mental, emotional and physical health.
A local yoga instructor is doing her part to promote healthy living for children. Donna Freeman is the author of the new book Once Upon a Pose and today she joins us in studio. She’s also brought along some kids.
We are talking about yoga and kids and how fun it can be. But you’re specifically looking at how to get yoga into schools.
Yes, yoga in schools is a really wonderful combination of bringing the health benefits and the intellectual and emotional training into the classroom. It’s just vital to bring it into the classroom these days. Kids need these skills.
Q: What’s some of the stuff you are able to do in the classroom?
You can use what we are doing today which is a whole lot of partner poses. Partner poses develop cooperation and team work and they get kids talking with one another and working together in a really unique way.
Another thing that is nice about a school is you can use what’s in a school, a desk and a chair, to do yoga. A lot of people don’t think of that because in their typical class, which is in a studio, and there is a mat and they aren’t sure how to adapt it to a school.
Q: What are some of the benefits for kids?
Increased focus, improved concentration, their creativity skyrockets, their impulse control is greater. As well, it reduces their stress so that they are in a mental and emotional place where they’re ready to learn.
Q: And you think you can use this in different subjects?
For sure. You can use yoga in a science classroom, mathematics classroom, language arts classroom, even in an art classroom. Y0u can incorporate yoga poses in all those subject areas.
Watch video for more …