Five Parts of Practice
At Challenge to Change, we follow the Five Parts of Practice when we are teaching children our Yoga and Mindfulness program. These Five Parts of Practice are:
+ Seated Practice
+ Heart of the Lesson
+ Guided Mindfulness Practice
+ Close of Practice
Molly, our Founder and the CEO of Challenge to Change, created these Five Parts of Practice when she was receiving her certification to teach children’s yoga. As a former classroom teacher, Molly was aware that children learn best when there is structure and routine in their lessons. While Molly learned many wonderful strategies and ideas for teaching yoga to children in her training, she felt that the missing piece to making her lessons most effective was a consistent structure to her practice. Hence, the Five Parts of Practice were born.
This series of articles is designed to inform our readers what each part looks like and why we include it in our teaching.
The History of Asana (Movement)
Our second part of practice is movement. While yoga is in actuality an eight-limbed practice, the physical piece of yoga with its postures and flows is easily the most recognized part of the practice today
Molly likes to tell a story about how asana (the physical practice of yoga) came to be.
As mentioned, the practice of yoga contains eight limbs, and most of these branches are philosophical in nature. In yoga’s earliest days, the practice was only for the men and boys, and it centered on sitting around and having deep exploratory conversations about what it means to live a true and authentic life.
Sitting in deep contemplative study for extended periods of time , however, was challenging for the boys. The men soon realized that if they were going to have periods of productive discussion with the young boys, they would first have to help them burn off their excess energy. Hence the physical movement of yoga was born.
At Challenge to Change, we use movement in a similar manner. Once we have completed the important step of working with the breath, we transition the students to a yogic movement piece to help settle their energy before the rest of the lesson.
The most familiar movement piece we implement is a set of Sun Salutations, otherwise known as Sun As. A Sun Salutation is a specific sequence of yoga poses that flow together to effectively even out the energy in a room.
Sun Salutations help those with high energy to begin to calm down, and they also help those with low energy to begin to perk up. Consequently, once the set of three Sun Salutations is complete, the students as a whole are attentive, alert, and ready to absorb the rest of the mindfulness lesson.
Other Yoga Flows
Throughout our Yoga and Mindfulness curriculums, we also teach our classes new yoga flows set to age-appropriate songs.
Some of these flows, like the one set to Emily Arrow’s I Am Yoga, are meant to calm the students. Others, such as the flow set to Carrie Underwood’s Champion, are meant to energize. Still others, such as the flows set to This is Me by Keela Settle from The Greatest Showman soundtrack or Try Everything by Shakira from the Zootopia soundtrack, are meant to encourage and inspire.
Whatever feelings or sentiments the flows are meant to invoke, they also help motivate the students to get healthy and move. Consequently, these unique yoga flows are often incorporated into the third part of the lesson—the Heart of the Lesson—or they are sometimes used in place of the Sun Salutations in order to offer the students a bit of variety and a chance to review previously learned flows.
While movement is only one of eight limbs that make up the practice of yoga, it is definitely an important piece. Healthy movement helps settle emotions, calm the body, and focus the mind for learning. Hence, you will always see plenty of movement in a Challenge to Change mindfulness lesson.