Guest Post: Warrior II & New Year’s Resolutions

As third-grade teacher Stephanie Kennelly notes in her post below, reflection and goal-setting are important activities that even young children can learn. “Using mindful movement,” she adds, “helps facilitate these life lessons.”

Our thanks to 1000 Petals for letting us share this post, which originally appeared on their blog.

We don’t want to be stuck in the past, or too far into the future.
Stay balanced in the present moment.

As we move into a New Year, many of us are working on resolutions. Reflecting on the past and setting goals for the future is important for personal growth. These skills can be taught to young children, and using mindful movement helps facilitate these life lessons.
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I recommend using the Yoga Calm curriculum and the Past, Present and Future Activity as a launching pad.

I began by having the students take two Post-it notes (different colors) and write a positive word or phrase about the past on one and the future on the other.

children writing on post-itsHere are some examples:

Past: Learning to ride a bike, my baby sister, being on a football team.

Future: Learning multiplication, summer vacation, the Super Bowl (I have a lot of football fans in my class).

Then, we crumpled the pieces of paper in to tiny balls.

(Blog Bonus: See Warrior II from our Move Mindfully Card Deck for social emotional language on how you can cue the pose. Better yet, have students read the card and be the leader!)

I have a love/hate relationship with Warrior II pose. For some reason, in my personal yoga practice, it always seems to creep into the flow when I feel I have momentum. Then, the instructor stops us in our tracks. Challenges us to stretch our arms. Bend our leg. Pause. Notice. The gravitational force weighing on outstretched arms and thigh burn combine for a one-two punch of total discomfort. However, the inner fire always seems to ignite a deep place, and I leave the pose feeling stronger.

Back to the Post-its. The students crumpled up the Post-its, with the future and past phrases, and held one each hand. In the back hand was the past, noticing its effects on us and being grateful for where we are today.
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In the front hand was the future, eyes looking forward, dreams yet to be realized. However, where do we find the balance? Right in the middle. In the present moment.

After intense physical and emotional exertion, we brought it back to the present moment. We took our crumpled up paper and had a “snow ball fight”, based on a Responsive Classroom greeting. After a few throws, students picked two pieces of paper (since they were all mixed up, no student picked up their own). We sat it a circle and went around, reading the word or phrase on the post-it we recovered. This is an effective sharing technique because the writer can stay anonymous.

Later that day, when we came back into Warrior II, I posed a series of questions while they held the pose: What does it mean to be present? What keeps you grounded? What can you notice? How can you be aware?

My students loved keeping noticings and observations in their journals. Keeping a journal is a fantastic way to increase present moment awareness. Check out our store for the 1000 Petals journal and commit to a journaling practice today!

student journal student journal

How can you bring present moment awareness into your life? What activities may you try with your students? Leave a comment below!

Be Well,
Stephanie Kennelly

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