I Love Myself!

A couple of years ago a friend posted this video on Facebook.

I watched it 17 times in a row, and then I couldn’t get it out of my head. I loved the chant, the physicality, the flashes of self-confidence in the girls’ eyes as they moved.

So I decided to incorporate a version of it into my school-aged classes and it’s become one of our favorite warm-ups. (You can scroll down to see some kids doing the chant, Friendly Yoga style.)

The version of this that I teach kids in Friendly Yoga classes goes like this:

I love myself.

In each and every way.

From the color of my skin.

To my ME energy.

I do my dance! I do my dance! I do my do my do my do my do my dance!

A few notes:

  • In the Friendly Yoga version, “I mean every single thing” changed to “In each and every way” simply because I couldn’t remember the original words the first day I taught it to the kids. We got used to saying it that way, and it stuck. Ditto about the “I do my dance” part.
  • I changed “soul energy” to “me energy” just to make sure we steered clear of words that brought in religious or spiritual connotations since some families already need to be convinced that yoga isn’t “religious.”
  • I wanted to find out more about the chant, so I watched this video by klovethepoet, who wrote it. In her words, “It’s definitely for every little girl, man, to feel good about themselves, specifically, little Black girls.” I believe it’s important to honor that that’s the specific impetus behind this chant, and the “color of my skin” line. This chant was written for a specific group of girls that klove cares immensely about and for the larger community they are a part of.  I also believe that raising children of every background who feel great about the package they came in AND who celebrate their individual “me energy” is a world that will grow more and more inclusive, accepting, and kind.

 

Jumping All Day Long

It’s been a loooooooong, snowy winter here in New England. Early April, and yards and playgrounds are still covered in mud and snow, so kids are coming to class with plenty of energy.

I have Jumping All Day Long by Jennifer Gasoi on my playlist for those moments in class when it’s clearly time to amp up the activity level for a minute or two. gasoi2

The lyrics suggest body movements, and the actions change frequently enough that kids stay interested. During the instrumental sections, we either do “free dancing” (kids choose their own movements) or we try holding a pose (warrior I provides a powerful-feeling “resting place,” and two instrumental sections means you can do both sides).

With some groups, we do the whole song “feet on mats,” but in the right space, with kids who can handle it, kids are free to move wild and free! Woo hoo!

Preschoolers love this song, but school-age kids also happily boing around the room, and some of my goofier (totally a compliment!) middle schoolers even have fun with it.

You might get a request to “Do it again!!!” especially from younger kids, but eventually kids will happily collapse onto their mats. This is a great time to notice breathing, heart rate, sensations in big muscle groups, and to transition kids into a calmer, more focused activity.