Laura Barbour is a counselor at a suburban Oregon elementary school who uses Yoga Calm in her work with children and is now one of our newest Certified Instructors.
Recently, she shared an experience with us which we think shows both a great adaptation of Yoga Calm practice and how it can help develop intention and community. When we asked Laura if we could share her story here on the blog, she said yes without hesitation.
For the first assembly of the new school year, the staff and administration wanted to set a positive tone for the coming year. They wanted to welcome the new students and create a sense of community. Most of all, they wanted to nurture a sense of “collective responsibility” about the school, Laura told us.
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“We wanted to focus on what we value as a school and give others – especially the students – a say in it.”
At the last assembly of the previous year, Laura’s yoga groups had demonstrated Hoberman sphere breathing and the Mat 20 sequence, and ended by leading the whole school in Volcano Breath. It was so well-received (“Cool!” said a lot of the kids) that for the new assembly, Laura offered to start it off by leading the group of 600 in Hoberman breathing to help the students calm and focus. Then, after students had shared their thoughts about their ideal school – the main business of the assembly – she would lead them all in Volcano Breath.
Now, when Volcano Breath is done in a Yoga Calm session, we usually ask students to send out their “heart thoughts” with each exhalation. Laura decided to ask them to do something a little bit different: create intention.
“Imagine how you see the school,” Laura prompted the group upon the first breath.
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On the second breath, she suggested, “Now imagine the school as you would like it to be.”
And on the third, “Imagine what you can do to make the school that way.”
“When the students and staff envisioned their ideal school, it was an act of making the school their own and creating ideas for making our collective vision a shared reality,” explained Laura. “And being with 600 people, all of us breathing together as one, was very powerful.”
And to that, we say, “Well done, Laura!”
Download the Volcano Breath activity pdf.