WORKING WITH THE STORY "The Roar of the Awakening"

For Preschool and Kindergarten
For Grades 1-5
Applying the Theme in Yoga Asana

THEME: THE SEARCH FOR THE SELF:

In this story, The Roar of Awakening, we are reminded that in our lives we are often trapped in avidya, or ignorance, of who we really are. We are not a mere goat. We are a tiger. We are all the divine, eternal Self in glorious expression in the world.

To find the true Self is the goal of yoga. In the Yoga Sutra 1.2 Chitta vritti naraodaha, it says Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. When we can disidentify with the mind and it's wanderings - the goat, we can begin to connect with the true self - the tiger. That is our yoga.

Yoga means union and the word yoga comes from the Sanskrit root word yug, which means yoke. You could even call it Yoke-A!
We are yoking to ourselves, finding the glorious, unlimited, everlasting self, or Atman, which resides in all beings, all forms, the entire universe. It is like an underlying layer of energy, which plays peek-a-boo in the universe, ever coming into form and shape, of creation, residing in the world a while as preservation, then returning back to the self in dissolution. It is also like a wave. It seems separate in itself on the surface, but it is really part of the enormous ocean. This idea that we are a separate wave, is asmita, or “I-ness.” But being separate is only a false idea of our minds and the ego mind, the ahamkara.

Although the Self comes into form in the world with a body, it remains the same -- untouched, unborn, undying. It is what many call the Christ Consciousness, the Buddha Consciousness or the Krishna Consciousness. It has many names in many cultures. Mythologist Joseph Campbell said it’s like being the light in the light bulb. Are you going to identify yourself with the light bulb? Or the light in the light bulb. We want to identify as the light in the light bulb.

In this busy, materialistic world, we tend to forget who we are. We are conditioned, like the goat, in a world of concepts and limitations. We are like the goat, living common lives. Advertising tells us what to wear, what to watch and do, what to buy and what is important. It is like the layers of an onion, covering our core.

However, within, resides the atman, the essence that we are all one. We must peel those layers back and find our center again.

It is our true self that only needs us to awaken to it with awareness. We are one with this divine essence, this divine center.

This true essence within is like the tiger, the all-powerful, and all strong, everlasting solar energy of the one.

We are not limited in our power or potential. Only our thinking mind makes it so.

With a regular practice of yoga and meditation, we will awaken to our true self and all of our desires will come true.

So turn within, practice yoga, find all your potential and have self-confidence. It lies within.

FOR PRESCHOOL – KINDERGARDEN – Tell the story in as simple terms as possible. Focus on the characters and their essential actions without too much detail. Create special voices for each character, and make up a special movement or sound each time a character enters and encourage children to participate by performing the movement or sound and “help” you with the story.

Try this chant:

LITTLE GOAT, LITTLE GOAT

NOPE, NOPE, NOPE, NOPE

I AM A TIGER BIG AND STRONG

I AM A TIGER ALL ALONG

Take warrior pose, virabhradrasana I, and have children feel their strength. Roar like a tiger!

Chant, “MY HEART IS BIG AND STRONG! I know that a great power resides in my heart! It is loving, fearless, kind and generous.”

Practice correct posture and be sure that the heart is lifted and open.

Follow the retelling of the story using the poses below.

FOR GRADE 1-5 - Tell the story in its entirety. Use the poses below as you recall parts of the story during yoga practice. Use the story to set the theme of realizing the true self. For public school, use it to connect to the self within - self confidence, self worth and all our possibilities.

Retell the story with the yoga poses below

APPLYING THE THEME DURING YOGA ASANA

This exercise will help children become aware of the eternal self within, as they notice the passing of time.

Tell students to be aware of the beginning of class. “Class is now beginning. Ask them to be aware of the things that they did before class began. In the morning they were brushing their teeth, getting ready for school. They studied in school or played with friends.

Ask them to be aware at how forms have arisen and disappeared, however, our witness of the events, our true self, is always present and aware. This is the true self, the undying, never born, continual self.

Tell them that soon class will be over. We will go home, and remember the day and yoga class, however, we will still be “here.”

As class passes time, call attention again to the fact that the beginning of class has passed, and now we are in the middle of class, etc. but we are still “here.”

BREATHING: Have children sit in lotus pose, padmasana, or a chair, eyes closed or open gazing a few feet in front of them. Have children notice the space at the end of the breath, and notice the space at the beginning of the breath.

Have children practice meditation by placing their attention in the space between two thoughts. When thinking arises, tell them to notice it, but to also notice the space in between their thoughts. Where are they? WHO are they? Joseph Campbell says that if you are thinking you are in the realm of time and space. If you are in between the thoughts, you are in eternity. We get a little more “eternity” every time we practice meditation and yoga. We become more entrenched in the now of our ever-lasting spirit.

WALKING MEDITATION: practice walking meditation.

Have children form a circle, each facing another’s backside. Wrap right hand around the left fist. Children notice their breathing, in and out, as they walk very slowly in a circle following each other in the circle. Instruct to walk slowly, heel to toe with the front foot, then pressing off with the ball of the back foot, picking up the back foot slowly, then placing the back foot to the front heel to toe and so on.

Have children notice the passing of each step, have them practice; I know that I am walking; I know that I am breathing in and breathing out. Have them try and be aware that they are always here, although time passes and the forms occupying space change. That is the self, underlying everything.

SHAVASANA

Allow children to lie on their backs, palms face up and arms away from their sides. Cover their eyes with an eye bag or beanie baby. Have them focus on their breathing. Have them imagine that they are in a beautiful forest, with the soft earth beneath them and the lovely trees above them. The sunlight filters through the trees and its powerful, golden orange color touches their toes. With every inhalation children say, “Yes,” to themselves, their inner light and self. With every exhalation children sink down into the earth, relaxed and peaceful.

The sunlight moves up their ankles and feet, their calves and knees, their thighs, buttocks and hips. They are all so heavy, peaceful and relaxed. If they should think a thought, remind them to imagine that thought as a little bird, flying through the sky above. Then return their thoughts to their breath and body. The sunlight moves up their belly, their chest, and their backside of the body. It moves up their shoulders, upper arms, elbows, forearms. The light relaxes and gently touches their wrists, fingers and hands.

It moves up their neck, relaxes their jaw, lips, cheeks, nose, eyes, forehead, and temples. The entire head is relaxed. Now the entire body is completely relaxed. Breathe in and breathe out and sink into the earth.

Have children imagine a goat. Have them think silently to themselves of all the things that they can’t do, or think that they can’t do or haven’t been able to achieve yet. What bothers them? What frustrates them? What “I can’ts,” plague their minds?

Now have them think off the tiger. Have them change the negative “I can’t” ideas into “I can.” Have them repeat silently to themselves the things they want to achieve or do that they thought they couldn’t and repeat it in the positive as “I can.” While visualizing the tiger.

Let children relax for a little while longer.

Then say, “I am love, I am peace, I am. I am.”

Tat Sat.

Ring the bell. Have children wiggle toes and fingers, stretch arms overhead with a big breath, then roll over to the side and rest. Using their arms, they pull themselves back up to sitting.

Ask children how they feel, how the visualization went, and for children to share any “can’ts” and how they changed them to “cans."

Explain that this is an important step to finding joy and peace in the world. Our minds keep us trapped.

DISCUSSION:

How are you like the tiger cub? Can you name an experience where you didn’t realize you had the strength, ability to do something?

What is there something that you’d like to achieve?

How are you like the goats? Do you know any people who are like the goat?

How are you like the old tiger? What qualities do the tigers, goats have that we can incorporate in our life?

Tell a story about something that you thought was one thing, and turned out to be something completely different.

Tell a story of your childhood, and how you grew into a kindergartener, elementary school kid.

MANTRA

Mantra is used to keep our attention, protect against negativity and program our minds.

Om Mani Padme Hum

I am the jewel in the lotus. I am that divine presence in the world.

Put the chant to a simple tune, such as “here we go around the mulberry bush.”

Add hand clapping, and lap clapping, or use a limberjack folk toy to keep the rhythm.

Take a walk outside and chant with a tune while walking and observing the world.

Homework

Have children “stop” during their day. Have them become completely aware of the present moment and the witness consciousness that they possess. Have them repeat, “I know that I am aware, I know that I am walking, brushing my teeth, getting dressed, etc.”

Have them become aware at how things have passed away, however, they are still there.

YOGA POSES WITH THE STORY

Mother tiger: Warrior I, Vira I,

Cub: Downward dog, adho mukha svinasana.

Goats: Vashistasana

Old Tiger: Warrior II, Vira II

Cave: Upward facing bow pose, urdva dhanurasana.

Roaring tiger: Lion pose, simhasana.

For upper grades, add additional poses as you talk about the theme of time passing.

Add sun salutations, forward bends, and call attention to noticing the breath and the awareness that stays with us as we move to another pose.

Add twists, backbends.

Download Yoga Poses (pdf - 4 MB)

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