Note from Shakta
What follows are unsolicited comments from those who have taken Radiant Child Yoga basic or certification training. Every week I receive very special feedback from students who are sharing these ideas with their students. I hope they inspire you the way they did me!
As you know I have been writing a manual for a 1 day course for therapists and teachers teaching them how to integrate yoga into their therapeutic work with “children with special needs.” I also just completed teaching the 2 hr Radiant Child so your work and mine have been fiercely merging in my mind over the past week. The other day I actually wanted to write to you and talk about how to put both works into a teaching module, which I know from previous conversations with you has been of interest. The more I am involved in integrating your work within my therapy sessions, the more I am amazed at the progress and change that the children are making and the connections that I am making with them. The other added bonus is that teachers, aides, other therapists and parents are noticing changes in attitude, behavior, motivation, attention (all important foundations to learning). This work HAS TO be more accessible to therapists and others that work with these special children.
I have a 4 year-old little girl who has severe physical disabilities who has been really changed by your program in its VERY altered state. I work with her collaboratively with a physical therapist, and she is using a voice output device to request next steps in several of the multiple part songs from your Happy CD (Happy Jio, Everything Changes). She cried and cried before we introduced the yoga music to her. The PT gets a lot more of her work done with her now that she has been calmed by your magical voice, and I am learning more about how much she understands of the picture symbols and the use of machines to communicate.
I will be presenting some of the Radiant Child Yoga ideas at a workshop in central Washington this summer for teachers of deaf, blind and autistic children, where I will do a day-long training on the book I wrote, Better Together.
I would like to take this opportunity to convey my deep gratitude to you for the comprehensive and complete curricula you provided in your Radiant Child Family Yoga program. I had the pleasure of sharing my time there with the most phenomenal women I have met in a very long time. There was an incredible energy present in that unique group. I think that is a testament to you. Your personal philosophy and integrity drew all of these women together. We are blessed to have been able to come together and share that time in learning with you. You graciously took us into your home in the mountains and shared the whole yogic experience with us. Thank you, Shakta. I am eternally grateful for the gift with which you have graced me.
Thank you again for the wonderful opportunity. Radiant Child exceeded my expectations. I really, really, REALLY enjoyed the training. You have such a wonderful light surrounding you, it was so peaceful to be in your presence.
Love & Light
I wanted to thank you so much for all you shared with us at the Radiant Child Yoga levels 1-3. I am so inspired and “brought home” by the Radiant Child work. I feel as though you speak a language in regard to children that has always been at my core, and I feel so grateful to have found you and the Radiant Child program….to share a language and philosophy around working with children. There is such a call for this work within the world today…..for children, families, and schools.
I can’t tell you enough how the tools I learned from your training have helped my students, in particular my student with severe Autism. In the past month he has had several changes in medication, which have caused his aggressive behaviors to escalate to the point where it takes three adults to carry him out of the room. He kicks, pulls hair, punches, and the way we get him to calm down is through blowing the feather* game. Once it is safe for me, I tickle his face with the feather, and tickle his ribs and stay calm. I say “Kevin feels frustrated. Calm feather.” as a way to help him connect with his emotions and the words to use with them..
We’ve been able to intervene with the feather and breathing and avoid many situations when he could have escalated to the point of physically hurting people. The first time we used the feather we were able to get him to come down from a fit in just nine breaths! This normally could have escalated into an all day fit.
He has become quite attached to a witch puppet that I have and she has wispy hair. I’ve taken the feather-blowing concept and use that with the witch. I say, “Kevin, blow my hair.” And when he does, it makes her fly back and giggle. We used this almost every day in October, multiple times a day.
His twin brother who is currently under-going testing for Asperger Syndrome was having a break down; crying because I had given them some extra math practice from a different math program then the one we usually use. So Kevin got the witch and came over and told his twin brother, Lee; “Lee frustrated. Blow my hair!” Lee blew the witch’s hair and Kevin laughed like the witch, and said “Again”. It was such a huge success for both of them because they are very violent toward each other at home.
Also every morning with my whole class we do yoga and songs with movement. It’s such a great way to start the day. Many of my students have rough home lives and so it’s really great for them to be able to let go of anything that happened in the morning before they came to school.
The other second grade teacher and I have ability-grouped our math classes so I teach the lower students, and I only have nine kiddos in my math class. The first fifteen minutes of math we do yoga to get them ready for the math after recess. Half of this class is comprised of students that are emotionally disturbed and they benefit greatly from the yoga and meditation. They have told me that they are using it at home on their own as well.
I ordered “How To Talk So Kids Can Learn” and have read it and refer back to it frequently now. It has been a great way for me to work on my communication not just with kids, but with my husband as well.
Thank you so much for coming to Utah for the training. Because of your training, there are over 80 children each week that are able to experience Radiant Child Yoga here at my school.
Thank you so much for coming to Utah for the training. There are over 80 children each week that are able to experience Radiant Child Yoga here at my school.
Thanks again, Shakta!
* Shakta’s Note: The feather blowing game in RCY is for learning how to use the breath to calm and focus.
This training was so motivating! It has been about two months since Shakta came to our Head Start teachers and gave us children’s yoga ideas to use with the children. It is really working in the classroom– the kids are able to calm themselves and love the balloon exercise. She also helped us learn some relaxation and stress management techniques that have been great for my staff. Our program really benefited from this training!
Attending your workshop has given me not only a plethora of ideas and inspiration for my students, but a love of Kundalini yoga to add to my own journey. Thank you, Thank you!
All the best,
Your course gave me a greater understanding of children. It taught me that they are all so different and each one is so special. I started to look at the children I taught as individuals rather than a group of children. I left that weekend finding myself chanting some of the songs in my head. Your course really taught me to take some time out in my day and just be with myself without any thoughts or worries.
While teaching one of classes in the daycares I decided to use the sa ta na ma meditation. The class was getting a bit rowdy and I got their attention to do the meditation. It was truly amazing! Within seconds the whole class was doing it and they were almost mesmerized. I felt that the whole class was a unit and that we were all connected. I also found myself really enjoying the meditation. I started using it more regularly in my classes. I found that it was a great way to begin the class because it helped everyone to focus. I also received a lot of great feedback from the teachers. Some even started using the meditation in their classes. The teachers really felt that it helped to calm the children. It was really cute when the class was finished and the children were putting on their shoes to hear them singing “sa ta na ma!”
I was interested in Yoga for Children with ADHD, Autism, and those who are Differently-Abled Training because my very energetic 8-year-old daughter, Sarah, has recently begun to struggle in school. Her impulsivity often gets her in trouble with her teacher, and this is extremely stressful for her. We had Sarah evaluated by a psychiatrist who diagnosed her with ADHD and generalized anxiety disorder. I was looking for tools to use with her that would enable us to avoid medication.
For me, the most important part of the training was the perspective on children who “don’t fit the mold” or are “differently wired.” The frame of mind that these children won’t conform and have something to teach us really shifted something in me and has transformed my experience of my daughter’s behavior. Allison’s story about her approach to observing Olivia (the ricochet rabbit) really struck a chord, and I try to embody the attitude she described, “(It’s all okay. Just be yourself.”) with Sarah.
This is primarily the way in which I’ve implemented the training with a child: shifting from trying to get Sarah to conform to observing her with acceptance and interest and love.
I have been using both the meditative aspects of Kundalini Yoga as well as the asanas at home after work. I have found simple sequences incorporating weight-bearing postures using downward dog, plank, cat and cow to be most helpful in regaining my state of grounded-ness. My children have observed my breathing and my movements, but most of all, my attentiveness (truly) to them, afterwards. My life is typically hurried and can feel non-observant, at times. This basic practice is allowing me more inner awareness to simply notice my life more and more. To notice the words my youngest daughter is learning to say, to notice the humming of the refrigerator, to notice how I am feeling moment to moment. That is the biggest gift I’m receiving from my practice.
I have also been incorporating these ideas at work, as I’m an OT in the school setting. The question “how are you vibrating?” really is sticking with me. It’s a question I ask myself all day, with co-workers, at meetings, and most importantly in my sessions with the children. Just that awareness has allowed me new connections with one specific young girl with multiple challenges including hearing loss, cognitive delays, sensory integration dysfunction, and more. She is making notable eye contact with me during our time together, whether it’s yoga, brushing, or passing her by in the hallway. She has hugged me spontaneously, which is totally new for us. Also, our verbal exchanges are much more relevant and functional, as she shares with me spontaneously about her home life/routines. She had previously been using much more immature styles of communications such as noises and behaviors, rather than her words. I cannot say enough about the change I’ve see in our relationship by putting these simple ideas into practice. I have to say it’s more about my state of being than what I’m doing with her.
I came to the conference looking for yoga strategies to use from a motoric standpoint, but I left with so much more than that to help me be more effective with my students.