“MINDFULNESS ON THE MAT (MotM)l”
Participants in Groups #1-2 at Hand MS shared the following comments, “I will remember filling out my heart at the end of each lesson, I liked being able to move, I liked calming down, and I want to make the sessions longer!”
Ellen Emerson Yaghjian is offering a fourth installment of the program “Mindfulness on the Mat.” The program will offer techniques in mindfulness to two groups of 10-12 self-selecting sixth- eighth grade Hand students on Mondays and Wednesdays (Boys) and Tuesdays and Thursdays (Girls) from 8:00 - 8:30 a.m. over a period of seven weeks. We hope to begin during the week of January 16, 2017. Participants will convene in a quiet space (the Hand MS auditorium) to learn a mix of breathing, balanced movement, and sitting (on chairs or mats). The students will also meet occasionally at Emily Douglas Park to practice walking meditation. The cost for this 14-class seven-week session is normally $500. However, all costs will be covered by the Hand PTO!!!!
The primary goal is to assist students with sensory focus and improved breathing skills by teaching them how to quiet the mind through breath, movement, and meditation. The secondary goal is to assist teachers by improving classroom attentiveness.
The advantages of this course are stress reduction, enhanced self-confidence, better balance, improved fitness and boosted classroom focus. Students will learn greater awareness, better posture and increased tolerance of themselves and others. Each is expected to gain body awareness, stability, balance, energy and relaxation. As a result, teachers should notice students’ improved attentiveness, self-control and respect for others, which will contribute to more peaceful classroom environments.
Hand MS Group #1 Reflections and Group #2 Outlook
Our first group consisted of four to five 6th grade girls who attended fourteen MotM sessions. These girls completed an evaluation at the beginning of the course and an evaluation at the end of the course. The areas that the girls wanted to see improvement in were: inner peace, focus, sleep, and relaxation. Ellen led the girls through various activities in their fourteen session together which included tasks like: building strength through alignment and balance with yoga, vision focusing exercises, "filling your heart jar" and focusing on what makes one feel happy. The first group was also able to spend one session at Emily Douglas Park! Several 6th grade girls wish to continue with MotM, and we want to open this opportunity for Group #2 to all Hand MS girls.
Our 2nd Group began March 1st and they met on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:00-8:30 AM for seven weeks, ending on April 21st. They remained in room #105 and used Emily Douglass Park also.
Ellen Emerson Yaghjian has taught yoga in Columbia since 2000. She completed 500 hours of teacher training with Esther Myers from the Esther Myers Yoga Studio in Toronto, Canada and has been a registered teacher with Yoga Alliance. In addition, she has attended workshops on Yoga for Scoliosis, Yoga for MS, Acu-Yoga, Yoga for Seniors and is an International Yoga Warrior (teaching yoga for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and their families). According to a current yoga student, Ellen makes it easy to “check my stress at the door and enjoy breathing and relaxing for an hour.” Another student appreciates having a “fun and very enjoyable” time as she learns “self-acceptance, self-awareness, relaxation and stress relief.”