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By Shakta Khalsa
It is immensely pleasing to finally get around to doing my Radiant Child Yoga "homework," i.e. reading and commenting on the ever-creative lesson plans that come rolling into my inbox from RCY students after teaching in a city.
Just today, I was working on Austin TX and Millis MA course lesson plans. As I was loving the way that people took the RCY ball and run with it to the goal line, I came across one from Lauren Wolfe, M.S., N.C.C., L.P.C.. After the interesting lesson plan she happened to mention the following:
"I have had some great success in integrating yoga into my therapy sessions (I work as a children and family therapist). I meet with clients individually and have used yoga successfully with two 9 year old boys. One of the boys has Aspergers and the other boy struggles with anxiety and impulsivity. With my client with Aspergers we always start our session with, “I am happy, I am good” (Radiant Child Yoga Song). He looooooves this!! Then we do some yoga poses. Often we make up stories of explorations we are going on. We use the Radiant Child Yoga Warrior cards and then we use our imagination to make up the story as we go. We finish with a relaxation exercise and short meditation (about 1 – 2 min). When he starts wiggling around a lot I know he is done. Then we are ready for our therapy. This little boy is then able to sit calmly and engage in therapeutic play or cognitive behavioral therapy, etc. Until we began using yoga it was very difficult for him to contain his energy during the session. The yoga has proved very helpful with him!
The other little boy I use yoga with also really enjoys it. He is a more mature 9 year old and enjoys laying out a few of the more challenging Warrior Card poses and giving it a try. We also finish with a relaxation exercise and are working our way up to a 5 minute meditation. With this little boy we do the yoga and relaxation/meditation after our therapy session. He is able to share during our session but then feels a lot of shame about some of his impulsive behaviors. The yoga helps him to leave our session feeling relaxed and positive."
I think the part that impressed me the most was how Lauren figured out that the first boy needed the yoga FIRST, and the second boy needed the yoga LAST. It was pleasing to know that these children were being helped with Radiant Child Yoga, and that the therapist understood how to "follow the child" as my hero, Maria Montessori, would always say. Not only did she follow the child, but she designed the yoga class to follow the child, to give the child the experience of his own innate power. What a gift to carry over into those children's lives! Can you imagine? A 9-year old child having the experience of simple tools to feel better, to come to center, to know that he is just fine as he is?
I'm lovin' it... Yoga for Children is the new therapy!
(Oh, and BTW....did you realize RCY now has CEU approval for OTs, PTs, and other professionals? Lovin' that too!)
Shakta Khalsa is one of the world’s leading experts on children and yoga, having worked with both since the mid-1970s. She is a trained yoga professional at the highest level (ERYT-500), and was named one of the top five Kundalini Yoga teachers in the world by Yoga Journal. She studied under the direct guidance of Yogi Bhajan, Master of Kundalini Yoga. Radiant Child® Yoga