Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
--Emily Bronte “Fall, Leaves, Fall”
I recently read a blog on the Washington Post that talked about children’s “inability to sit still in class,” which has historically been viewed as a problem to solve. Through testing a group of 5th graders, it was found that only 1 in 12 students had what was considered “normal strength and balance” for children in similar tests in the early 1980’s! “Ironically, many children are walking around with an underdeveloped vestibular (balance) system today–due to restricted movement. In order to develop a strong balance system, children need to move their body in all directions, for hours at a time,” writes Angela Hanscom, pediatric occupational therapist. She concludes: “In order for children to learn, they need to be able to pay attention. In order to pay attention, we need to let them move.” (Read the full article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/07/08/why-so-many-kids-cant-sit-still-in-school-today/) This is why I am so passionate about bringing yoga, creative movement and dance into classrooms as often as possible. Moving bodies hold learning minds!
Try these autumn-inspired breath and movement activities with your family or classroom:
Dip Dance (via Maria’s Movers: http://mariasmovers.com/2014/09/23/dip-dance/)
To celebrate Rosh Hashanah this week, or simply indulge in autumn’s bounty! What does it mean to “dip?” How can you dip different parts of your body (into a big bowl of honey… or caramel)?
Music to Inspire Movement
Autumn (Allegro) by Vivaldi (Available on Spotify/iTunes/YouTube)
Autumn Leaves are Falling Down (Sing to tune of “London Bridge)
5 Autumn Leaves by Sticky Kids (Spotify)
Leaves are Falling by Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck (Spotify)
Fall Breath & Visualization (for relaxation, focus, redirection)
In autumn, leaves are blown off the trees and fall gently to the earth. Let’s imagine your breath is falling out of your mouth like a leaf to the ground. Begin sitting comfortably with legs crossed. Take a slow breath in through your nose. Open your mouth and breathe out, sighing “ahhhhhhhhhh” until all the breath has gone out. Doesn’t it feel good? Try again, this time imagining it is an orange leaf you are breathing down to earth. What other colors could you breath out in your Fall Breath? Repeat with as many colors as you want.
Wishing all of you a bright fall season!