( In my city, Toronto (Canada), school teachers have been given a monthly theme to teach in the classroom. The Toronto District School Board calls it Character Development. I went to the Yoga In My School specialist – Donna Freeman for some insight into the monthly themes. Thanks to Donna for this monthly series on Character Development.)
Teamwork In Partner Yoga
Teamwork the Ultimate Aim of Yoga
By Donna Freeman
The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj meaning ‘yoke’ or ‘union.’ The very foundation of yoga is a joining, or bringing together, of the body, breath, and mind. Flexibility, strength, and good health are all wonderful benefits of this practise, but its ultimate aim is to create more togetherness, personally and universally.
One key way yoga achieves this union is through breathing techniques. Training the body to breathe correctly requires concentration and clarity of thought. As various breathing exercises are learned and mastered, yogis become more in tune with their body and can use their breath to relax the nervous system, improve the body’s use of oxygen and achieve a sense of calm. This turning inward allows children to connect with themselves on a deeper level. Once kids have a solid sense of self they are prepared to interact with others in a positive, giving manner from a foundation of cooperation and trust.
Another way yoga promotes teamwork is through meditation. Meditation means awareness and involves reducing all the scattered activity of the mind to one. Often when meditating, mantras (sounds and words) are used to help focus the mind. Many mantras focus the intention on world peace, happiness and union. An example of this is Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu. Mantras assist in creating greater unity one individual at a time and promote setting aside personal agendas for the greater good.
A third way yoga teaches teamwork is with partner poses. Partner poses develop trust, intimacy and connections. These can be especially fun with children as they interact with others in a social and physical manner. Most yoga poses can be developed into partner poses and can help all individuals experience healing touch, playfulness and the power that comes from working together toward a common goal. The most extreme form of partner yoga is Acro Yoga where one partner is the base while the other flies above doing various yoga acrobatics. A sense of togetherness and connection result whenever partner poses are practiced.
Breathing exercises, meditation and partner poses are but three means by which yoga develops teamwork. When doing yoga, the principle aim is to join your body, breath and mind to produce positive change physically, emotionally and spiritually. This sense of union will benefit the individual as well as the group.