How We Take Action - Let's Imagine Y.A.E. Curriculum
Purpose: By blending the powerful trifecta of yoga, art, and nature-connection, our curriculum aims to foster youth empowerment, self-confidence and earth stewardship by providing youth the tools to be successful in discovering their unique potential, and then following their true passions in service towards the greater good of the planet and all beings.
Our Focus: (Foundations, Flow, Yoga Off the Mat)
Nourish Your Internal Landscape: Foundations of Yamas (environmental ethics), Niyamas (morals), and Asana
Each student will learn the foundation of yoga practice based on ethical precepts set by Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. They will be taught that without these foundations, no progress along the path of yoga can be made. Students will know that these guidelines are a map to guide you on your life’s journey, or yoga’s ethical guide to living. They will realize that yoga is much more than the time you spend practicing on your mat! We use the metaphor of the home: first we must build our home, fill it with our belongings and love, then we can invite others into our cozy and warm home! This is analogous to the external yamas as groundwork laying of your home, then the internal niyamas of making the inside of your home nice and cozy for visitors to enjoy. We extend the teachings of the home to the larger Self, including the planet and other beings. For example, the yamas are non-harm to Mother Earth and animals, truthfulness even without any human beings present, non-stealing homes and food from other creatures, non-excessive use of resources, and non-possessiveness of the many beautiful things we find on Earth. They will learn the true meaning and purpose of asana, as well as basic poses and Sun Salutations.
Find Your Flow: Pranayama & Vinyasa
Each student will gain an understanding of linking breath to movement as a tool for finding inner stillness, and what it means to be “still”, as in to access the deep ocean of calm beneath the white caps of vikalpas, or thoughts, feelings, and emotions. They will be able to come up with their own definitions of the term mindfulness and know tools for practicing mindfulness in various activities in their everyday lives. They will learn balancing postures and how to focus on a drishti, or internal gaze. Students will experience the major roll nature plays in mindfulness by practicing “sit spots” outdoors, in which they sit quietly in nature, simply noticing their surroundings, paying attention, and being as they are. From this exercise, they will come to the conclusion that practicing mindfulness in nature brings them towards their own true self and true nature that all beings share. They will learn to experience the basic goodness in their surroundings and the beauty in everything exactly the way it is. They will cultivate an attitude of camatkara, wonder or amusement, in which it becomes possible to see this basic goodness in all things, even situations that the mind might perceive as negative. This allows the student to develop a practice of being fully present with themselves and their emotions no matter what life throws at them, which in turn allows for processing of painful experiences and complete digestion of the emotional energy in order to cultivate more vitality and love to serve all beings. Students will become aware of prana, life force, the thread of breath connecting us all.
Shine Your Inner Light: How to bring your yoga practice out into the world
The students will come to terms with the phrase, “draw in to create full expression out”, both within asana postures and off the mat, extending their inner light out beyond the physical body to reach other beings. They will learn the meaning of the fifth limb of yoga, pratyahara, or sense withdrawal, and practice mindfully tuning into each of their five senses. They will be awakened to a sense of purpose and responsibility to use their magic yoga powers to serve Mother Earth and all other beings as part of his or her own Self (the eco-self). They will become aware of environmental issues and Mother Earth’s call for help. Further, students will be able to name specific ways that they can play their part in protecting and healing the planet. These youthful yogis will leave camp as self-empowered Earth warriors, ready to take action towards a bright and sustainable future for all.