On Facing Fear…
Its been a scary spooky fall for me this year. I’ve had a difficult time focusing on my blog because of things in my personal life. So getting back to writing on the topic of Halloween and facing fear feels appropriate.
If you connect with me on my Facebook page you may know that my little sister has been going through chemotherapy for breast cancer. Its scary.
I spend a few days with her after each round of chemo. It’s hard for me to see her sick, even harder for her! There is little to do but lend moral support and make dinner when everyone gets home from school and work.
Once after a rough night, my sister was lying on the couch just barely mustering the energy to make it to the bathroom and back. Then the phone rang and she answered it like a chipper bird. She had a short, pleasant conversation with someone, assuring them she was okay, and hung up sinking into her lounge chair with a moan.
I was amazed. Obviously she didn’t want to upset others with how truly miserable she felt. She didn’t want to prolong the conversation either. It’s difficult for her to hear unsolicited advice and platitudes. They don’t help. I was amazed by how well she held her mask of pleasantry as a way to preserve her strength. The other person had no idea of the fear and pain she was feeling.
This gave me a deeper appreciation of what it means to face fear.
Courage is Not the Absence of Fear…
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
~ Nelson Mandela
I’ve been using the theme of facing fear in my kids classes the last couple weeks.
- We’ve done yoga with scary skeletons.
- We told a story of a little lion cub who was afraid but listened to his heart, even when everyone else was doing something different.
- We made lion masks (see below) and talked about wearing “masks” at different times, like my sister can do on the phone.
- And we talked about when we feel afraid but we do what we want to do anyway.
Yoga for Halloween
This Halloween Night when all the kids are going door to door, hopefully I’ll forget about cancer for a night by watching the kids coming to my front porch. I’ll be giving out candy and yoga colouring sheets and I’m going to pay extra special attention to the kids who are afraid.
I’m going to watch them muster up courage, on the long walkways of scary houses, or maybe they’ll choose to hide in their parents coat tails. For some the candy is worth overcoming fear, for some it is not.
There are always choices and there is much to be learned from the perspective of kids.
Taking yoga, teaching yoga, just living life, all present their share of fears. A large part of teaching yoga is holding the space for people to work through things that scare them a little. Whether its the fear of a certain yoga pose or the courage to move into stillness.
We all have fear, without it we wouldn’t know when danger is near.
My wish this Halloween is that when you face a fear, you give yourself time and space to find your courage, feel the fear, and find your way to conquer it.
Kids Yoga Activity
Lion Mask Craft-Time for Kids during Yoga Camp
Here’s the Lion Mask craft we did at our last kids yoga camp. I thought we would all make big colourful manes of the mighty beasts but some of the 8 year old girls would not go for it! Manes are for boys. A lioness has short hair and as it turns out, some have bows and eyelashes too. Who am I to argue?
Each kid got to choose their lion mask gender, colours, and hair style. This also leads into a conversation about the Lion in the Wizard of Oz. His gift was courage In the end, this Halloween craft was a hit for the girls, the boys, and the teachers at our Kids Camp. Check out these pictures:
Lion Masks in Kids Yoga Camp
The craft took about 30 minutes for the older children and less time for the younger ones because we cut out the pieces in advance so for them it was mostly gluing. Here’s the link to the Instructions for the Lion Mask craft at National Geographic Kids.
Breast Cancer Awareness
Don’t Forget Your Breast Self Exams
During her rounds of chemo my sister managed to help with a fundraiser through Scotties and the Breast Cancer Foundation. That was a hard day for my sister because she just had chemo. She’s a very inspiring and amazing woman and I’m very proud of her.
Please watch if you can spare a couple minutes and you’ll be reminded of why it is so important to have check ups. Even people who do yoga get cancer through no fault of their own, so early detection is crucial.
The Power of 10: Women helping to raise research money during their cancer trauma:
Here is my sister’s video – the theme was thanking someone for their support:
Make that appointment to have your own check up!
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You so graciously passed on a wealth of knowledge about kids’ yoga. I’ve used your comprehensive teaching manuals and references so many times, I’ve barely gleamed the surface.
Since the Summer Program I’ve been able to complete my goals, which you encouraged us to write down in the training, including becoming a RCYT, logging teaching hours on Yoga Alliance, building a website, and more importantly, building my community presence. I now teach 3 weekly children’s classes in a local school and we’re adding a fourth class in the fall. Many of my students have attention issues. I feel like a proud mom when they say “Miss Karen, I was feeling scared but then I did my yoga breathing and felt better”. To me, that’s everything.
The training was a great investment that I’ve earned back several times in the last year. It has been an absolute honor to pay this gift I received forward. Thank you again!”
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