Shanti Yoga Girl’s Education Program
Shanti Yoga Ashram offers a comprehensive, 12 level Yoga for Girls Education Program, for ages 5-12. This age range is fluid depending on age of enrollment, rate of a group’s progress, etc. Two sessions are generally given per year: Fall (Sept-Dec) and Spring (Feb-June), with summer classes available upon request. Course length varies from 9-12 weeks.
All classes include asanas (yoga postures), pranayam (energy- breathing exercises), guided visualizations to promote concentration and relaxation, and cooperative games. While an atmosphere of respect for the yoga teachings and one another is developed, the tone is kept playful and fun. Non-denominational prayers develop and nurture the qualities of love and gratitude which arecore elements in all the children’s classes.
The ideal of course is for a student to begin classes at age four or five and graduate up through the levels. However, children are welcome to join at any level, with some additional background being provided by the teacher when necessary to help compensate for material they have missed.
The levels are:
Level 1: What is Yoga? (ages 5-6)
We learn how Yoga stretches and strengthens our Body, Heart, and Mind, to help us come closer to God (our loving Father-Mother.)
Level 2: Star of Respect(ages 5-6)
We learned already that Yoga works on our Body, Heart and Mind. Respect is how to treat someone’s body, heart and mind to show we love them. We cultivate love for everybody, including ourselves. We learn the basic elements of respect; obedience, good listening, good speech, gratitude, and kindness.
Level 3: Tools to Keep Your heart Big(ages 6-7)
We try hard to show respect for everyone. But whether on purpose or not, there are times when we will not be treated with respect, and this can make our big beautiful hearts feel small and sad. But yoga gives us tools to keep our hearts big and happy! These are Ahimsa (non-violence), satya (telling the whole truth), Good deeds (karma yoga), Forgiveness/Compassion, and Prayer (bhakti yoga).
Level 4: Living with the Essene Angels(ages 6-7)
Now that we have grasped some fundamental lessons about yoga, ourselves, and our relations with other people, we begin to explore our relation to the world all around us. In this class, we plant sunflower seeds, and learn each week how the Angels help the flowers—and us—to grow big and strong! We work with the Angels of Sun, Water, Air, Earth, Life, Joy, and Mother Earth; and how they are helped by special friends: Trees, Cows, and Farmers.
Level 5: The Chakras (ages 7-8)
Now that we have discovered the Angels, we learn more about how they are at work in our bodies, in our inner rainbow! We learn about what the chakras are, what they do for us, and how to make them vibrant using asanas, pranayam, color, mantras, and crystals.
Level 6: Four Types of Yoga (ages 7-8)
Time to learn a little more about Yoga itself, and just how Big it is! We spend two weeks learning about and practicing the four great Yogas: Jnana (Yoga of Knowledge), Bhakti (Yoga of Love/Devotion), Karma (Yoga of Action/Selfless Service), and Raja (The Royal Yoga of practical methods.)
Level 7: Kid’s Pledge of Non-violence, Part 1 (ages 8-9)
Did you know that Ahimsa—non-violence—is the very first teaching of Yoga? Building on what we learned last class about Raja Yoga, we explore this most important First Yama in-depth, using the Institute for Peace and Justice’s excellent workbook, the Kid’s Pledge of Non-violence. Topics included in this session are: Ahimsa, Respect, Communication, Dealing with Anger and other Difficult Emotions, Listening, and Forgiveness.
Level 8: Kid’s Pledge of Non-violence, Part 1 (ages 8-9)
In this session we explore Respecting nature, Playing Creatively, and Being Courageous, and those who want to take the pledge in a Closing Ceremony!
Level 9: Five principles of Hatha Yoga (ages 9-10)
Having gotten a solid grounding in Ahimsa, the first Yama, we now continue to explore Hatha Yoga, and its Five Principles: Proper Breathing, Proper Exercise, Proper Diet, Proper Relaxation, and Positive Thinking/Meditation.
Level 10: The Yamas (ages 9-10)
Now that we have a strong foundation in the practical and some esoteric aspects of Raja and Hatha Yoga, we turn to an in-depth study of the ethical principles which will be the scaffolding of a well-lived life. Week by week we learn about one yama, and one person who is a model of that virtue (eg., Sojourner Truth, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, etc.) and practice it for the week! To quote Yogi Iyengar: “Without study and practice of Yamas and Niyamas, the practice of asanas is no more than mere calisthenics.”
Level 11: The Niyamas (ages 10-11)
This class builds on the previous, but instead of a model for each niyamas, more emphasis is placed on individual practice. Lots of good group discussions!
Level 12: Life is a School (ages 10-11)
Now we come full circle: back toa study of the body, Mind and Heart—adding the Soul as well. These are the tools God gave us to undertake our life journey. We’ll learn what food, exercise, and cleansing all four need, and their ideal uses.
After this series is complete, a 3 part series for “tweens” (pre-adolescents) and young teens unfolds:
1. Into the Labyrinth: We learn the structure of fairy tales, and how to apply their inner meanings in our lives. We learn the use of labyrinth as a tool for self-exploration, healing, and life charting.
2. Menarche: Sacred Time, Sacred Space: learning just how much there is to celebrate about menstruation! and what to do about the challenges. The theme of this class is that our bodies are sacred, and menstruation is a wonderful gift and a tool that we can use to increase health, happiness, and even help our loved ones and the whole world. In this 90 minute class, 45 minutes will be spent learning and practicing a yoga routine especially good for PMS and menstruation, and the remainder of the time minutes will be spent sharing about various topics such as:
The Female Energy Cycle
Basics of Self Care During Menstruation and throughout life
PMS and Ovulation
Menstruation as a Spiritual Practice
Body Image: Ideas of women’s beauty throughout time
Building a Healthy self image
In addition to the asanas, lecture, and discussion time, we play a board game specially developed for this class.
3. Spiritual Beauty School: Now we learn to apply all the skills we’ve learned since Kinder Yoga to the fine art of being a Spiritual Woman inthe New Era. We also learn how to navigate the false lures and obstacles that lie on the road ahead.
To enroll, please contact Durga or call 301-654-4899.