Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani: Enhancing Emotional Intelligence in Children

 

Yogacharya Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani is Director of the Centre for Yoga Therapy Education and Research, and professor of yoga therapy at the Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth University, Pondicherry. A recipient of the coveted DSc in yoga from SVYASA Yoga University in January 2019, he is chairman of the International Centre for Yoga Education and Research at Ananda Ashram, and Yoganjali Natyalayam, the premier institute of yoga and Carnatic music and Bharatanatyam in Pondicherry.

In this video, as well as in the below article, he talks about the benefits of yoga for children, and how regular practice can help enhance emotional intelligence.

 

 

CONCEPTS AND METHODS OF TEACHING YOGA TO CHILDREN

The art and science of Yoga has a lot to offer for children in terms of their health as well as complete wellbeing. Yoga offers us a tool by which we can provide a safe and healthy future for our beloved children. Yoga is both preventive as well as therapeutic for health problems that children face and is also rehabilitative in many situations. It is also important to understand the special needs of the children when teaching them and methods to create interest in them for this great jewel of our cultural heritage. Continue reading

Nicola Harvey: A Mindful Approach to Emotional Regulation

Nicola Harvey is an experienced and qualified Wellbeing & Mindfulness practitioner, Special Needs teacher and therapist. Her internationally acclaimed book, Mindful Little Yogis, was published by Singing Dragon in 2018.

In her video, Nicola discusses emotional regulation, mindfulness, and shares some practical tips and exercises for both children and adults.

 


Mindful Little Yogis
Self-Regulation Tools to Empower Kids with Special Needs to Breathe and Relax
Nicola Harvey, illustrated by John Smisson

This practical and creative book is filled with simple calming activities to help children find a sense of peace and settle heightened emotions during busy times. Each activity is easily adaptable for different ability levels, providing a handy bank of self-regulation tools that can be used at any time in a range of settings. Read more

Max Strom: Is Yoga a Women’s World?

 

Born with severe clubbed feet, Max Strom spent much of the first six years of his life with his feet confined in plaster casts and braces. Today, he is known for inspiring and impacting the lives of people from all walks of life, teaching breathing patterns and personal transformation worldwide. His method, Inner Axis, is known to produce immediate results in alleviating stress, anxiety, burnout, and depression, impacting the internal and emotional aspects of our life, as well as physical healing. His TEDx talk, Breathe to Heal, is approaching one million views on Youtube. Many know him for his two inspiring books: There is No APP for Happiness, addressing the challenge of finding meaning in the digital age, and A Life Worth Breathing.

In this video, Max discusses men in yoga: why they might feel excluded, the importance of connecting with emotions, and the benefits for men in joining the yoga community.

 

Call for Comic and Graphic novel submissions

Singing Dragon and Jessica Kingsley Publishers have recently started developing an exciting new line of comics and graphics novels and we are now open for submissions.

Singing Dragon publishes authoritative books on all aspects of Chinese medicine, yoga therapy, aromatherapy, massage, Qigong and complementary and alternative health more generally, as well as Oriental martial arts. Find out more on www.singingdragon.com

JKP are committed to publishing books that make a difference. The range of subjects includes autism, dementia, social work, art therapies, mental health, counselling, palliative care and practical theology. Have a look on www.jkp.com for the full range of titles.

If you have an idea that you think would work well as a graphic book, or are an artist interested in working with us, here is what we are looking for:

Graphic novel or comic – Long form

We are looking for book proposals that are between 100 and 200 pages, black and white or colour, and explore the topics listed above or another subject that would fit into the JKP/Singing Dragon list. Specifically we are hoping to develop more personal autobiographical stories.

Here are the guidelines for submission:

  1. A one-page written synopsis detailing the plot/outline of the book, as well as short bios of all the creators involved.
  2. Character sketches of the main characters with descriptions.
  3. Solo artist/writers or writer and artist teams should submit 5 to 10 completed pages to allow us to get a sense of the pace, art style and writing.
  4. Solo writers will need to submit 10 to 20 pages of script as well as the one-page synopsis from point 1.

Comic – Short form

We have some shorter comic projects underway and are looking to expand the range of topics covered. These books can run from 20 to 40 pages, black and white or colour, with dimensions of 170x230mm. We are mainly looking for comics that provide ideas and information for both professionals and general readers.

For example, the first in this series, published by Singing Dragon, is a book exploring the latest developments in chronic pain research.

Here are the guidelines for submission:

  1. A one-page written synopsis detailing the narrative style and subject matter to be explored in the book. Also include short bios of all the creators involved.
  2. Solo artist/writers or writer and artist teams should submit 3 to 5 completed pages to allow us to get a sense of the pace, art style and writing.
  3. Solo writers will need to submit 5 to 10 pages of script as well as the one-page synopsis from point 1.

When submitting please provide low-res images and send them, along with everything else, to Mike Medaglia at mike.medaglia@jkp.com

If you have any other ideas that don’t directly relate to the subjects described above but you feel might still fit into the Singing Dragon or JKP list, please feel free to get in touch with ideas and enquiries on the email above.

June Wood Element activities for children – by Karin Kalbantner-Wernicke and Bettye Jo Wray-Fears

In our previous blog we introduced the element Wood through a visualization exercise to help children begin to feel the Element in themselves and the environment.  The focus was on the imagination and creativity qualities that Wood Element offers in life. We will continue with Wood in this blog and expand on the way it supports child development.

Beside creativity and imagination, the Wood Element gives us two other important gifts, our physical mobility and flexibility. Here we want to emphasize that the development of flexibility happens as strongly in the mental capacity as in the physical. A good analogy of a flexible nature in someone can be seen in a bamboo tree. No matter which direction the wind blows, bamboo will stand upright over and over again. The following exercise is an example of how you can bring this experience to a family or small group of children. It creates a lot of movement involving rolling, turning and stretching that is good for everyone. Above all, it is really fun and brings laughter and play into the dynamics of any group.

June Wood imageThe World is Coloured

Particularly in springtime we experience a large variety of colours in nature. Everything blossoms, budding fresh green leaves and flowers of every hue.  Everywhere you look nature is full of energy and joy for life. The following exercise can bring all of these qualities to everyone in the family or group.

The family members sit down on a big towel of their own, and are told it is a large tub full of different colours, whatever they imagine. Everyone chooses one particular colour that they are sitting in and shares which colour they selected.  Each can say the special reason why the colour they picked is their colour for today. 

Then everybody should “paint himself” –if possible everywhere- with his favourite colour, by turning on his towel, rolling and lolling about. Encourage each to try all the movements possible in their tub.

Then ask, “Is your body totally covered with colour? Well, now let’s paint the floor!“

Everybody rolls and rolls throughout the space. There are obstacles everywhere! If another person is touched, their colours mix. What colour is it now?

After a few minutes everybody sits up.

 “So, now let’s paint the soles of each other’s feet – pick a partner and ask your partner which colour he would like.  Apply the colour firmly on your partner’s soles. When you are done, everybody stand up and make footprints with big or small steps in the whole room! Now, try to walk in the footprints of another person and see what it feels like to walk in their steps.”

Everybody has to go under a shower afterwards. Everyone searches for a place in the room for himself/herself and shakes the colours off vigorously under their shower.

To end, everyone must hop until they are dry!

The physical activity of this exercise allows the Wood Element’s need for large movements, imagination, loud noises, and stretching for everyone.  Allow the dynamics of the group to unfold. There might be natural directors that appear as others ideas and creativity come and go. Give room for each to experience and work out what might be difficult or easy in the interactions and instructions. Experiencing any difficulty is as important as experiencing the ease in all of the Five Element exercises, as participants have the opportunity to try out new solutions.

If anger appears, allow this. Anger is the natural response to frustration and the emotion expressed in the Wood Element. Activities that give children permission to experiment with anger, supports healthy development as they learn how to manage this strong energy. For those that struggle moving through this emotion, the following exercise can be added:

Lightning Power

Kalbantner-Wern_Children-at-The_978-1-84819-118-1_colourjpg-webSit without shoes on a chair.  Cling your toes into the floor and tense all the muscles of your feet.

Now imagine a lightning bolt which sends the anger down into the floor. If the child likes he/she can also clench the hands and make a grimace with the face.

After a while relax and enjoy how much lighter everything feels now.

We invite you to look for what comes next month as we enter into the Fire Element and season of summer. This article can be downloaded in a pdf format by clicking on this link so that you can start creating a notebook of Five Element exercises that will be offered each month. You can find more information and examples of how the Five Elements support development in children in the book, Children at Their Best: Understanding and Using the Five Elements to Develop Children’s Full Potential for Parents, Teachers, and Therapists, published by Singing Dragon.

NEXT: July Fire Element Activities – nicking socks and making faces

 

Springtime Wood Element activities for children – by Karin Kalbantner-Wernicke and Bettye Jo Wray-Fears

This blog is an invitation to parents, teachers, therapists and mentors of children to join us in having fun with a seasonal series of stimulating Five Element activities that can support development in all ages!  These entries can be downloaded and printed off in pdf format by clicking this link so that you can enjoy making your own notebook of Five Element exercises for each month and season of the year.  We hope you have as much fun being creative with these ideas and projects as we have with many children and families.

May Wood imageSince we are beginning this series in springtime we will start with the Wood Element, the perfect place to start any activity with children. Wood Element marks the time of new beginnings and all the bursting energy of creativity and expanding growth like the first spring flowers breaking through the ground and fresh green buds on the trees and bushes. If you have lived in a place that has long, cold winters, you know the antsy feeling of wanting to move, jump, and stretch in every direction to greet the sun and warm air of the coming spring! This is exactly what children feel physically as they are developing gross and fine motor skills and testing them out for the first time, or emotionally and cognitively as they are learning new activities and seeing the possibilities of what they can do next from their new development!

The following exercises can be used with a family, classroom, or group of children to experience qualities of Wood:

 A Tree in the Forest

Have the group of participants get comfortable and read the visualization below.

Imagine you are a seedling of your favorite tree or plant in the earth. You can feel other seedlings around you nestled in the soil tucked up tight with the earth and each other to keep warm from the cold of winter.  But now the earth is getting warmer.  You feel something growing bigger inside you day by day.  You feel itchy and antsy to let it out, until finally the energy gets so strong that it bursts out in every direction!  Your roots shoot down into the soil, and your trunk, branches, and leaves up and out towards the sun.  You feel the roots of the other trees around you and playfully you all race each other toward the sun and sky!  Feel how strong, fresh and new you feel in the freedom to grow!

When finished have everyone draw a picture of what they saw themselves as in a forest with each other. Pick a wall or board to have everyone create the forest with their pictures hanging together.

A Family/Group Springtime Walk

Talk about springtime and get ideas from the group about what they notice with the plants, animals, and colours in nature.  What does their body and air feel like in the room when they talk about this? Wood Element brings the development of imagination, movement, planning and creativity. Allow all ideas, there are no right or wrong answers.  Let them express how they experience and relate this time of year to themselves.  After everyone has a chance to share, get ready for a walk outside and invite all to pick one item up from nature that reminds them of spring.  When you get back from the walk, place all the items found on a table or cloth for everyone to touch and admire. This can be left on a season table somewhere in the room or house, and the children can be invited to continue to add items and be creative with the table throughout the season. Remember, that it is not about looking perfect to the adult eyes!  Let the children find all the awkward and balanced expressions of Wood Element and have fun seeing what they create. Permission to play and express is the key to growth.

Splitting the Tree

Every Element has an emotion associated with its development. The creative energy of the Wood Element brings emotions of frustration and anger when this dynamic desire cannot Kalbantner-Wern_Children-at-The_978-1-84819-118-1_colourjpg-webmove. This last exercise we offer is to support the healthy movement of anger. Use pillows, plastic bat, cardboard tube, anything safe to allow a child to get as physically active as she/he needs to express their emotion.

Imagine a big trunk of a tree on the floor in front of you. With an axe, you want to use all your power to split the trunk. But it is so hard to do that you get really angry! Take all your energy and power and keep striking the trunk until you feel tired and can rest, feeling calm.

For more information about the Five Elements and the way they can support child development, read Children at Their Best: Understanding and Using the Five Elements to Develop Children’s Full Potential for Parents, Teachers, and Therapists released in April 2014 with Singing Dragon.

NEXT: June Wood Element activities – a colourful world and lightning power!

Japanese Holistic Face Massage – More than a facial, by Rosemary Patten

Patten, RosemaryThe face reflects who we are, reflects our personality, state of health and our spiritual balance. We pick up a lot of information about a person just by looking at their face. To the ancient Japanese and Chinese, a beautiful face was the ultimate prize as it was a reflection of optimum health and of course with good health comes a long life. Longevity achieved through preventing ill health was, and still is, the aim of traditional Chinese medicine.

Japanese face massage became popular in the Far East during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, especially among the Geisha, for its health-giving benefits and its ability to reflect inner calm on their porcelain-like faces. Not much was known of this unique massage in the West until after the Second World War but today it is practised all over the world.

Many facial routines focus on cleansing and may include a basic massage designed to relax the recipient. The Japanese face massage is much more than a massage or facial. From the very beginning of the routine, the recipient experiences a glorious sense of release within the first two movements as the flowing but firm touch sets the scene for an experience of peaceful tranquillity and healing. There is a feeling of liberation as the neck and shoulders are massaged, lifting tension and allowing calm to descend. These opening movements pave the way for the deep healing experience you get from the Japanese face massage.

Unlike basic facial routines, the techniques in Japanese face massage focus deeper to achieve more than a cleanse, tone and moisturise. Acupressure points around the face and head are gently manipulated and the meridians are traced to access the body’s bio-energetic flow to bring balance.

Patten_Japanese-Holist_978-1-84819-122-8_colourjpg-webThe massage pushes oxygenated blood and nutrients to penetrate the deep layers of the skin to nourish and renew cells. The gentle flowing effleurage movements are not only relaxing but also encourage the release of cellular matter and the removal of de-oxygenated blood via the lymphatic system. The effect is instantly visible as circulation to the face is improved, bringing a lustre to the skin which manifests as an inner glow of calm and vitality. Fine lines are diminished and the contours of the face become more defined, especially noticeable around the eye area.

All bio-energy pathways or meridians either start or finish in the face. As the acupressure points are accessed there is a deep sense of comfort and nurturing. Additionally, the sequence of the movements and the tracing of the pathways or meridians encourages Ki (universal life force energy) to flow where it is most needed. Ki energy is responsible for correctly functioning bodily fluids and the smooth running of body organs such as the kidneys and the liver.

There has been a myriad of research on the effects of stimulating the acupressure points over the past fifty years as Western scientists slowly realise what Eastern medicine has known for over 4,000 years. Acupressure points on the face react instantly to touch, releasing endorphins and bypassing the central nervous system due to the close proximity to the brain. There is a prevailing sense of well-being when the hormones are stimulated. The autonomic nervous system is calmed and peace descends as healing on all levels takes place. The Japanese face massage is truly holistic as it not only improves the appearance of the face but also helps the body function better. A truly wonderful combination of benefits that leaves the recipient feeling mentally and emotionally revived.

 

Rosemary Patten is a naturally gifted holistic therapist with over 23 years’ experience in helping people feel better. She began her professional career within the NHS, in hospital settings, where her extensive contact with those in rehabilitation gave her an invaluable grounding in understanding the nature of disease. A master Reiki practitioner, aromatherapist, reflexologist, qualified beautician and in many other holistic therapies, Rosemary founded Rose Health and Well Being Natural Health Centre, which has now evolved into Equinox Rose. This is a combined holistic services consultancy delivering various natural therapy workshops, consultations on business development for therapists and a clinic specialising in energetic healing. Japanese Holistic Face Massage is among the range of therapies Rosemary uses to help her many clients make a breakthrough physically or emotionally. Rosemary believes passionately in a holistic approach to diagnosing root causes of illness, especially the impact of stagnant energetic flow within and around the body. She lives in Kent, UK.


© 2013 Singing Dragon blog. All Rights Reserved

 

Play the Frog’s Breathtaking Speech Game

Bring the benefits of yoga and yogic breathing techniques into the classroom and the home with this game from Frog’s Breathtaking Speech author Michael Chissick. Based on the book, the game is a fun way to help children to recognise negative emotions and lean how to turn these into positive ones.

Simply download the game boardcard set and instructions from these links and with some simple steps you’ll be ready to roar the house down with Lion, shake the walls with the Woodchopper Breath and more.

The game is at its most effective if used with the book, Frog’s Breathtaking Speech – find out more about the book here.

 Michael Chissick has been teaching yoga to children in primary mainstream and special needs schools as part of the integrated school day since 1999. He is a primary school teacher as well as a qualified yoga instructor. He is also a specialist in teaching yoga to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Michael trains and mentors students who want to teach yoga to children.

© 2013 Singing Dragon blog. All Rights Reserved

Request a copy of the UK Singing Dragon Complete Catalogue

Cover of the Singing Dragon UK Complete CatalogueMake sure not to miss Singing Dragon’s latest UK Complete Catalogue. If you have not yet received a copy, please sign up for our mailing list and we’ll send a free one out to you ASAP.

Readers in the UK and Europe who request a copy of the catalogue before February 15th, 2013 will also receive a voucher for a 15% discount on the entire Singing Dragon list of books, with free postage and packing.

Take advantage of this opportunity to find new, forthcoming and classic books on Chinese Medicine, Holistic Health, Taiji, Qigong, Herbal Medicine, Yoga, Spirituality and more. Also, sample health-promoting recipes with The Functional Nutrition Cookbook, and Make Yourself Better with Philip Weeks’ books. Delve into the history of Ayurvedic Medicine and the Mudras of India, and discover the Five Levels of Taijiquan, Daoist Nei Gong and Chinese Medical Qigong.

To request your copy of our Complete Catalogue, please click here. To receive your 15% discount voucher, please be sure to click the checkbox for “Singing Dragon” under area of interest or else mention this offer in the “any further comments” section.

If you have previously received a copy of the catalogue, and would like to take advantage of the 15% discount, please feel free to request a voucher via email at post@singingdragon.com.

The Enneagram of Personality – From Psychology to Spirit

The Enneagram of personality is an ancient, beautifully accurate, spiritual and psychological model of humanity. Describing nine personality types and their interactions, it enables us to look deeply into our own character, harmonise our daily lives and our relationships both personal and professional, and understand our personal path to growth.

Image of Karen WebbFirst described in the West by Gurdjieff, the Enneagram’s particular nine-pointed star is an ancient diagram, though no-one knows its origin. Not an arbitrary shape, it encapsulates the esoteric Laws of Three and Seven (octaves), is very like Pythagoras’ ninth seal symbolising humanity, and some researchers link ancient stone circles with the mathematics of the Enneagram.

Sufis have called the Enneagram ‘a God-given tool for personal moral healing’. A conversion concept including the diagram and nine personality types has been part of Sufi ethical training for 1400 years. Christian mystics of the Desert Father tradition, in the third and fourth centuries, worked with the concept of converting vice to virtue, using the personality traits now named in the Enneagram. It seems to be a wisdom which surfaces when and where it is needed – and in surprising ways – as of course all spiritual truths do.

The Enneagram describes, amazingly accurately, nine distinct personality types, their variations, and the spiritual states of being with which they are linked. Furthermore, the flow of connecting lines shows the inter-relation between different aspects of each personality. At first it may be hard to identify our type: unlike other typologies, Enneagram type is defined not by behaviour but by something which is so fundamental to our personalities that we may not be aware of, or may actively deny, it.

The central premise is that each of us has one of the nine possible ‘chief features’, a focus of attention so deep it is usually hidden from our conscious awareness, which sets the tenor of our whole lives. Originally a way of coping with the outer world, by the time we are adult it is an automatic biased perspective (the ‘false self’). The key words are ‘passion’ – through which we focus on the world emotionally – and ‘fixation’ – our mental focus. In the grip of our passion/fixation, behaviour is automatic and often harmful to our true well-being, though it was originally developed as a protection.

The Nine Enneagram Types

 

The beautiful part is that this ‘false’ personality shows us our own spiritual path: not an enemy to be conquered, but our best friend, showing us what lessons we need to learn and how to learn them. The different passions and fixations developed to protect their ‘holy opposite’ (Holy Virtue and Holy Idea), which were ‘forgotten’ as ego developed, and to which we long to return. They are mimicked as well as masked by personality.

Linking personality type to spiritual potential in this way, the Enneagram makes it possible for the first time to bridge the gap between psychology (who we are not) and spirituality (who we truly are): a continuum of healing growth.

All mystic traditions recognise three ‘organs of perception’. When unconscious the head produces fear, the heart yearning, and the belly anger. The nine Enneagram types are variations on these three basic emotions: according to our type, one of these is the ruling ‘negative’ emotion, whether we are aware of it day-to-day or not.

The central triangle of the Enneagram shows the core personalities of each centre. It also represents the trinity of Hope (3), Faith (6), Love (9), and would teach us to open all three centres.

I am often asked: ‘When I know my type, what then?’. We start with the personality. According to the Enneagram the resentments, desires and fears that go to make it up are actually distorted expressions of the energy one works with to get to the higher states.

Working with the Enneagram, with myself and clients, I have found it more creative to recognise your passion, put your attention on it, learn to observe it and see what it teaches you about yourself. Part of this learning is in meditation, developing a strong inner witness (that part of ourselves which is not our personality), and part in simple day-to-day self-observation.

This process itself loosens the grip of the automatic response: it also gives insight into how to work with our issues. Different issues define each personality type, and the same strategy for emotional, psychological and spiritual growth doesn’t work with all types of people. So the first step for all types is to observe the underlying placements of attention that support repeating behaviours and emotions.

Finally, though we are all capable of feeling all human emotions, we actually experience life in radically different ways, and have vastly different responses to events, even to conversations. The Enneagram, like any personality typology, can be trivialised. Though this cannot be helped, I trust that its real meaning will survive through those who recognise its spiritual origin. Studying your own and others’ types fosters skilful living, personal growth, better relationships, a deeper understanding of all humanity, and ultimately, despite our different personality types, the experience that we all are one.


Karen A Webb has been teaching the Enneagram in the Narrative Tradition for over 20 years. She graduated from the Enneagram Professional Training Program in 1991 and now runs Enneagram Studies UK, providing open and tailored Enneagram workshops and consultations. Karen is a passionate, lifelong student of spirituality, comparative religion and psychology and lives in Malvern, UK.

© 2012 Singing Dragon blog. All Rights Reserved.