The Bendy Blog

Teaching Techniques: A Safe Haven


By Karen Martin


Bendy Blog category: Teaching Techniques

A new addition has arrived in our family. He is a bundle of nervous energy, in search of acceptance, stability, and routine. We are his temporary family, helping to prepare him for a new start in life, which happens to also coincide with the beginning of the New Year. We are fostering a 10-year-old rescue dog named Chicory.

We have provided Chicory with a place of warmth and coziness with his own bed and blankets in a sunny room. He is learning that this is his space, his safe haven. Security and comfort can be found here. He is settling in, making our house his home. His sense of self is emerging with his growing calmness and acceptance of our family and surroundings. In much the same way, yoga can create this safe space in our lives. And it can begin with a simple yoga mat.

I have accumulated many yoga mats over the years. Mats can come in various colors, shapes, and sizes. They are fun for kids and with a little imagination can encourage creativity. One of my favorite mats was a gift. Two very dedicated and enthusiastic 6-year-old yogis presented it to me. This was not just an ordinary mat. It was bright green with a beautiful rainbow and flowers painted across the length of it!

Savasana can be individualized on each mat. Spreading out the mats in the room allows for fewer distractions by fellow students. Props such as bolsters and pillows can be used in this defined space, facilitating greater relaxation. Knowing we “stay on our mats” encourages the opportunity to “let go”, sinking into calmness with security.

Mats can be a safe-zone. Kids can be in their own space, a place of solitude and contemplation, even in a class of thirty students! Initially students associate finding their “happy place” on the mat. Their body, mind and spirit feel the quietness and peacefulness. Eventually being grounded and calm accompanies them once they step off the mat. These feelings are carried within.

And Chicory? He has become more accustomed to the rhythm of life here with us. And our house has become his home.

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