Resilience Class Plan
Stuff happens. Sometimes bad stuff happens. We all have tough times in life.
Tough times require finding your courage and getting tougher, but staying soft at the same time as well. Being resilient is getting back up after you fall. And being better for it despite and because of it all somehow.
All children are capable of extraordinary things. There is no happiness gene, no success gene, and no ‘doer of extraordinary things’ gene. The potential for happiness and greatness lies in all of them, and will mean different things to different kids. We can’t change that they will face challenges along the way. What we can do is give them the skills so these challenges are never able to break them. We can build their resilience.
Resilience is being able to bounce back from stress, challenge, tragedy, trauma or adversity. When children are resilient, they are braver, more curious, more adaptable, and more able to extend their reach into the world. Building small humans into healthy, thriving big ones isn’t about clearing adversity out of their way. Of course, if we could scoop them up and lift them over the things that would cause them to stumble, that would be a wonderful thing, but it wouldn’t necessarily be doing them any favours.
A little bit of stress is life-giving and helps them to develop the skills they need to flourish. Strengthening them towards healthy living is about nurturing within them the strategies to deal with that adversity. Put simply, resilience is the ability to adapt. Resilience is not the absence of distress or difficulty. Resilience is the ability to adapt and grow following adversity.
“Bounce Back!” is a fun acronym for some of the foundational principles of resilience, specifically:
B – Bad times don’t last, and things get better.
O – Other people can only help if you share with them.
U – Unhelpful thinking only makes you feel worse.
N – Nobody is perfect – not you, not your friends, not your family, not anybody!
C – Concentrate on the good things in life, no matter how small.
E – Everybody suffers, everybody feels pain and experiences setbacks; they are a normal part of life.
B – Blame fairly – negative events are often a combination of things you did, things others did, and plain bad luck.
A – Accept what you can’t change and try to change what you can.
C – Catastrophizing makes things worse – don’t fall prey to believing in the worst interpretation.
K – Keep things in perspective. Even the worst moment is but one moment in life.
You can do it! You just need to believe and trust that you can! And it does get easier with practice!
Bring: Printed Manda and colouring markers (if teaching online you can ask students to pre-print them at home)
So our topic today is resilience! Being resilient is getting back up after you fall. Resilience is being able to bounce back from stress, challenge, tragedy, trauma or adversity. I know that things have not been the easiest with all of the changes in the world…
Let’s all answer, one at a time, this question:
What’s the most difficult thing that I have experienced recently? AND what did I do about it?
In this awesome warm-up, inspired by the cool music I’m going to put on, please follow my moves to the best of your ability, sinking your movements with mine. I’m going to make it a bit challenging today to test your resilience with lots of power poses and balancing poses…
It is ok if you can’t do it all perfectly! Just give it your best shot and if you fall, simply GET UP!
(Put loads of balancing poses into the sequence such as Tree, Warrior 3, Half Moon, Half Squat (Shiva Squat), Dancer Pose etc. Some push-ups and jumps are also great!)
Here let’s see how long we can keep with it, this is a sign of resilience… We’ll continue even if it gets challenging training our memory, our bodies and our resilience! Each one of us in our turn is going to add an item to the shopping list after repeating all of the items before.
Make a yoga pose for each item. ALL of the kids can do ALL of the poses with you EVERY time that the shopping list is being retold by one of the kids in their turn.
‘I went shopping and I bought a [banana]’
‘I went shopping and I bought a [banana and a bike for my t-rex]’
‘I went shopping and I bought [a banana, a bike for my t-rex and a hot air balloon]
Wrap the game up when most kids can’t remember all the things on the long long shopping list any more!
Resilience is sticking through it even when things get tough. Let’s see how long you can stay for in the next 3 poses!
Pick 3 poses and see who stays standing last… Here are some I played with:
Planking on the forearms – Like plank pose but instead of the palms on the floe, place your forearms
- Warrior 2 – See for how long you can keep your arms up
- Tree Pose – How long can you balance for
- Wheel Pose
And it doesn’t matter if you can’t stay there as long as me… The fact that you did it as long as YOU can show that you have resilience!
Challenge yourself and try a pose you never tried before! Show them a few and let them choose one. Then guide them step by step how to do it. Remind them again and again… If you fall, you get up!
It’s not about achieving the pose, it is about working towards it without dispersing and even if it is difficult. Depending on the age of the children, you may choose very different poses.
I gave options between Crow Pose, Side Crow, Peacock, Headstand and Handstand.
See attached below.
The goal of this today is to help students to explore their feelings through colour. To guide students through this, explain that the Mandala is split into four sections:
The instructions are simple: have the students colour in each area of the Mandala in a way that represents how they feel about that area of their life. They can use a variety of colours or just one colour, however best represents their feelings. After they have coloured each section in, discuss the colour (s) with them. Use active listening to learn about why they chose the colour or colours they used. This can help students discover and express their own feelings, as well as help parents or teachers, learn about how the student or child is doing with each area of their life.
Part of resilience is not shying away from our challenges (yes, the emotional ones too) and addressing and learning from them too. Discussing our issues with others can help a lot in building our resilience by increasing awareness to what is happening and also learning from each other different perspectives and strategies.
In this practice, ask the children to sit tall and close their eyes remembering again the most challenging moment that they shared at the beginning of the class. Ask them to try and remember what the faced and how it felt, and guide them through the next mindful observations:
Obviously, things won’t always go your way. When things go wrong you can use the power of mindfulness to release some of the negative emotions that you may be feeling due to the failure or setback that you just experienced.
After a negative event put things in perspective by remembering that every difficulty carries within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. When faced with adversity, ask yourself the following questions:
- “What’s good about this?”
- “What can I learn from this?”
- “How can I benefit from this?”
- “Is there something about this situation that I can be grateful for?”
- “Can this somehow make the world a better place?”
Mindfulness creates structural and functional changes in the brain that support a healthy response to stress. It strengthens the calming, rational prefrontal cortex and reduces activity in the instinctive, impulsive amygdala.
It also strengthens the connections between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. When this connection is strong, the calming prefrontal cortex will have more of a hand in decisions and behaviour.
This is resilience.
This homework has three parts:
- Each member of the family has to do something hard, something that requires practice, something where you’re going to get feedback telling you how you can get better, and you’re going to get right back in there and try again and again. Maybe it’s a yoga pose, a dance move, cooking or anything else
- You must finish what you start by our next class. Let’s say in 1 weeks time.
- No one gets to pick the “hard thing” for anyone else, so each child and other family members, if they join in, gets to choose their own challenge.
2 Minutes is class… Maybe hours at home!
BY GOPALA AMIR YAFFA
Rainbow Yoga Founder
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