Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lesson 14: Use the tools of Healthy Living

Use the tools of healthy living to stay happy and balanced in this time of year. Use your own strength to stay focused on what matters the most to you, as the world around you might try to push you in other directions.

There will be no required Journal Entry this week (#14)
However, I invite you to write a Personal Affirmation. This is a short phrase that might bring you back to your true self when you feel like the messages you are getting, from outside and in, aren't serving you well.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Lesson 13: Practicing Balance and meeting our Inner Advisor

Elephant breath. Stand with feet wide apart. With fingers interlaced, inhale to swing your arms up overhead, on the exhale bend the knees and swing the hands between the legs, repeat several times.

Review/warm-up: Sun salute "C", dancer (balance)

Warrior two series:
mountain, warrior 2, reverse warrior, triangle, right angle, half moon (balance)

Journal Entry #13: Inner Advisor
Describe the visit from your inner advisor from relaxation today. Who or what did it appear as? What was their name? What did you discuss with them? What did they tell you to do?

Review of Inner Advisor activity:
Lie on your back in resting pose. Imagine yourself in your peaceful garden or other place. Imagine finding a comfortable place to sit or lie down there. Imagine how nice it would be to have a guardian angel, someone who knows and loves you better than anyone else. Invite this kind, loving person to sit with you now. Let them appear in whatever form they choose, maybe an animal, a person, a relative, or a warm glowing light. Ask them their name. Accept whatever comes without trying to change it.
When you feel comfortable, explain to them what's on your mind. Ask them any questions that you need answered, or maybe ask for help with something that is confusing you. Then just listen, be open to what your inner advisor has to share. Maybe it comes in words, or pictures, or a feeling of sudden understanding.
Consider what you have received, and image yourself taking the next right action, sometimes this means just staying still and not doing anything. Notice if you have any resistance to taking this advice, and why or why not.
Thank your inner advisor and say goodbye in any way that seems right to you. Hear them remind you that you can ask them to come back any time you choose. After they've gone, bring yourself slowly back into a relaxed but awake state.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lesson 12: Balance and the Hip flexors

What do you think it means to have a balanced life? A balanced mind, balance in the body, balance in yourself?

Balancing poses help us to improve the our powers of concentration in other types of activity. They also induce nervous balance and remove stress, anxiety and worries. If you feel particularly tense at any time, do one or more of these poses for as long as possible.
These poses also develop the cerebellum, the brain center that controls fine movements of the body.

Anatomy connection:
Hip flexors, help us to move more efficiently and gracefully.

Bunny breath:
inhale through the nose, 3 quick sniffs; pause and then exhale through the nose like big silent sigh. This will relax and cleanse.
Hand to toe, dancer, tree, triangle, twisted triangle, half-moon,twisted half moon

Journal entry #12:
  • Where do you need more balance in your life? Describe in one paragraph.
  • What are the three hip flexor muscles and what is their function?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lesson 11: Finesse part 2

Today in class we practiced these yoga tools:
  • Humming breath, to time in and tune into ourselves
  • warm up poses: spinning top, seated spinal flexing, downward facing dog
  • review of Sun salute C series
  • Partner game:balancing straws
  • cool down poses: seated bent leg stretch, staff pose, river, plow, shoulder stand, fish
Journal entry # 11: Heart Mail
write out the letters and/or questions that you found in the mailbox and sent back to your heart. if you recieve an answer to your mail back again record that in your journal too.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lesson 10: Finesse vs. Force

Today I showed you the spine on the skeleton, and pointed out the structural parts of the skeleton we focus on a lot in class:
the sacrum, sit bones, ball joints of the hips and shoulders.
Especially notice that the body naturally reduces forces between the spinal vertebrae with the disks between the bones, what I like to call "jelly donuts". These flexible disks can squish in many ways to give us the ability to move gracefully and with finesse!

Here is a couple good sites to learn more:

Our practice today involved a focus on moving between poses with gentle ease and finesse, instead of plopping and forcing ourselves to go places that our body didn't want to go. We can use the breath to help our mind relax and let us put our bodies in new positions.

We did sun salute C, with three different sequences,boat, partner boat, flower, and daisy chain.

Journal entry #10: Finesse vs. Force
Write a description:
Think of a time when you weren’t getting something that you wanted, maybe you had a tantrum and tried to force things to go your way, maybe you were sad inside and felt like no one cared. Think of a way, or ways, that you could have done things differently, or looked at things differently so that you could have left the situation happier.

Here's an example:
You made a plans with a friend and while you are together she gets a text from someone else. She makes you stop what you are saying to text this person back. This happens several more times. You are not happy, you feel ignored, like whoever is texting her is more important than you. What would be the best way to handle this so that you feel OK? How could you react with finesse so that you both get what you need from the friendship?
  1. grab her phone out of her hands and yell at her
  2. stomp your feet and walk away in a huff
  3. wait a bit, get her attention and tell her how this makes you feel

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lesson 9: Inside body, Organ functions

Journal entry#9: Organ Functions

For each organ listed below find out what it does to keep us healthy. We already know that the lungs bring in Oxygen, and send out Carbon Dioxide which detoxifies the blood.
Check out this website:
  • heart
  • liver
  • stomach
  • spleen
  • kidneys
  • gall bladder
  • pancreas
  • bladder

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lesson 8: Inside body, Internal Organs

Practice: Sounding breath

Check out the Organs Game

Journal Entry #8:Body Map
Draw a figure that looks like the outline of a human body. Inside the body create a map of the internal organs listed below by drawing them inside the body image at the approximate location that we would find them on ourselves. Label each organ as well.
  • brain
  • heart
  • liver
  • lungs
  • stomach
  • large intestine
  • small intestine

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lesson 7: Brain food, Body Connections

"If you give your brain the right nutrients, you will be able to think quicker, have a better memory, be better coordinated and balanced and have improved concentration."
excerpted from Brain Food

Brain Food:
  1. Protein: Protein is found in meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, dried beans (legumes), green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds..
  2. Complex Carbohydrates: Grains, fruits and vegetables are key sources of carbohydrates.
  3. Fats: Omega-3 fats, ensure that you eat plenty of oily fish like salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, herring, mackerel and anchovies. Avocados, fresh coconut, and extra virgin olive oil, raw or dry roasted nuts and seeds, walnut oil, canola oil.
  4. Vitamins and minerals(micro-nutrients): The 'B' complex vitamins are particularly important for the brain and play a vital role in producing energy. Vitamins A, C and E are powerful antioxidants. The Minerals Magnesium and manganese are needed for brain energy. Sodium, potassium and calcium are important in the thinking process and they facilitate the transmission of messages. Fruits and vegetables, in wide variety and color.
More info:
The Franklin Institute, and Food for Productivity

Today's poses:
twisting airplane taps, monkey paws, frog, double ferris wheel arms, triangle, forward bend with windmill, warrior I, eagle arms and legs.

Journal Entry #3: Food Diary

For the next three days, record everything you eat each day. Record the date and day of the week. Also record any physical feelings that you have that you think might be related to what you have eaten.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Lesson 6: Brain balancing breath and relaxation

When we take a Time In to center, the goal is to turn off our thoughts and let the brain rest and rejuvenate. Most of us have a hard time with this activity, especially in this busy city, in this technology age of society.
Ways that we can Time In and Tune In are to practice focusing our mind on one thing, like a shape, a color, or the inhale exhale of our breathing. We close our eyes to get rid of the first distraction: things we see.Counting forwards and backwards works well too.

The brain balancing breath, is breathing through one nostril at a time and alternating. It brings you into balance between the left and right side of your brain, and then your body, and self will feel the effects too.

Brain health tip: drink 8 glasses of water a day, 83% of our blood is water, the water help the blood with it's oxygen flow to our brain. More info on brain health click HERE!

To relax we can use visualization, visualizing is the process of using your imagination, to see a story in your mind, a personal story about yourself, and what might be on your mind. It is similar to a dream, but you stay awake while you do it. We have been imagining a garden and a forest.

Today's poses:
Spinning top, monkey paw, frog, warrior I, standing hand to toe, pyramid, pyramid twists

Journal Entry #6:
Imagine a place that you would take yourself to relax, describe what it looks like, what things are there, what you feel like when you are there. You already have your garden and big special worry tree, but imagine a new place that you might go and take a friend or classmate too.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lesson 5: Posture, and alignment review

Review of poses:
  • mountain, waterfall, rag doll, downward facing dog, table, child, up cat, down cat, twisted car, tricky cat, knee plank, cobra, knee lunge
  • warrior 1, balancing warrior, triangle forward bend
  • warrior 2, triangle, half moon
In class project:
:you have completed all other journal entries,
then : Create a drawing or written description of your garden or magic forest

Journal Entry #5: Posture Observation

1. Observe your own posture, and that of those around you. (Don’t correct or instruct other, just observe silently.)
2. Make mental notes as you do this.
3. Look at yourself in the mirror. Observe your normal, habitual posture habits: your feet, ankles, hips, spine, shoulders, neck, etc.
4. Write down your observations.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lesson4: Proper alignment for safety, stability, and strength

From Websters Visual Dictionary Online

Alignment is how our bones and body parts line up in our poses.
The spine, spinal column, is the most important set of bones for body structure, health, nerve and brain activity. This includes:
the tail bone, lower back, middle back, and neck vertebrae.

There are three main "platforms" that our bones use to get in line and give our bodies structure.

They are:
  • the feet
  • hips
  • shoulders
Additionally these joints are very important for alignment also:
  • ankles
  • knees
  • elbows
  • wrists

Journal Entry #4: Alignment
Describe proper, safe, and stable alignment for at least 3 of the poses that we have learned.
Here's an example: Childs pose: kneel over on the ground so that hips are in line with heels or ankles, belly is to thighs, and shoulders are in line with knees. Forehead is touching the ground or stacked on top of fists.
Hint: table and mountain poses are a good place to start!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lesson3: Assessing our own strength, focus, and balance

Tree Pose


  • Bear breath, see-saw, elevator
  • sun-salute poses, and series flow: Mountain, High Mountain, waterfall, rag doll, half rag doll, downward facing V, push up, baby cobra, single leg lunge

Journal Entry #3:
Assessing Myself
  • How strong am I?
  • How focused, how is my concentration? How do I know?
  • Am I balanced and coordinated?
Give Examples!

Parent Info from Parent Map Online

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lesson 2: What is breathing?

Below is a diagram of the respiratory system.
The lungs play a big part in detoxing our blood.
Moving and breathing together not only detoxifies our blood, it creates space in our spinal column.
Poses for spinal lengthening and mobility: Up cat and Down cat, downward facing dog, rag doll and waterfall, waist twisting and side bends.

The Respiratory system, from Webster's Visual Dictionary
respiratory system - Visual Dictionary Online
Today we set up journals, the first two pages are for our Table of Contents (T.O.C.)
the third page is our first journal entry, the homework is to make the following entry, #2.

Our Journal entry heading is:
Date-Your Name- Class section-Entry number
2nd line should be the Topic of entry

HW#2:journal entry #2
Journal Entry #2:

describe the breathing process by answering the following questions:
Which gas do we inhale? Which do we exhale?
What are inspiration and expiration in relationship to breathing?
What do the nasal cavity and oral cavity do?
Our lungs are organs, what is the function of the left and right lungs?
What is the main muscle that helps us breath?

Journal Entry #1: Questions, Concerns, Goals
Please write a paragraph or more about Healthy living class.
What questions or concerns might have come up in class or about the class so far?
What goals do you have for yourself in the class, and for your own health?

Lesson 1: Centering

Practice: Centering

Centering is the activity of turning your focus inward, onto yourself, in the present moment. Centering can be done with your eyes open or closed. In either case tune out the outside world and focus on your own breath, body, and thoughts. Notice if you feel relaxed, do you feel grounded and stable? Notice if there is any part of your body that wants to move or stretch, do you feel stiff anywhere? Notice if a thought pops into your mind, usually something will, what is the thought about? After you notice it, let it float away, and return your thoughts to your breath. Practice focusing on your breath now, and it will help you control your focus in other situations.

Just as athletes or artists do before they perform, you can establish a ritual of centering before a new task or activity. Just breathing deeply helps you to center!

When is the best time to use these techniques?

  • Before beginning any new activity or task
  • When conflicted or distracted
  • During or after an angry or frustrated period
  • Whenever doing well is important

Breath: Balloon breath
Centering poses: mountain, rag doll, standing twist

H.W. #1

  1. bring supplies: Journal, Towel, and signed outline page
  2. return signature page

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Day - 1: Outline of our course

Welcome to TYWLS Healthy Living Space, Grades 6 – 8
@ http://tywlshealthfall2008.blogspot.com/

Teacher: Renee Dryg
Room: 304
Email: ms.dryg@gmail.com
Phone: 718-267-2839
Ext: 3040

Course Description:
The focus of Healthy Living class is to develop skills for personal awareness and tools for dealing with life. We will learn how to make healthy, responsible choices for a lifetime of physical and mental health.

Healthy Living class will join movement, breath, and self-study, to strengthen, align and balance the body, focus the mind and soothe and recharge the brain. We will study the body’s systems, the mind-body connection and the impact and consequences of one’s behavior choices. We will learn how to move gracefully, breathe smoothly and deeply and sustain our focus and concentration, developing strength, flexibility, balance, mental clarity and emotional stability.

Course Goals
  • Embody: Learn to keep our body, mind, and self, healthy and balanced, for our whole life
  • Empower: Gain self-awareness and support social, physical, mental
    and emotional health and well being
  • Excel: Develop focus and concentration to enhance learning and achievement
  • Breathe: Unite our body, mind, and self with breath awareness for healthy stress-management
  • Stretch: Allow our bodies to teach us about change, while finding enjoyment and success in physical activity
  • Shine: Know and express our true selves with confidence, even in challenging situations
  • Be here now: Be in the present for each moment of life, aware of self and others
Classroom Supplies:
  • Bath towel, to sit on floor
  • marble notebook/journal
  • pen
Course Evaluation:
Your grade for this course will be determined by these two criteria: Full participation in class activities and completion of assigned journal entries.

Attention: Students and Parents, please sign and return the signature page to Renee Dryg, room 304
You can find a printer friendly copy here:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Day -(minus) 2:The room is coming together

I am thinking about the big ideas for our community. Here's what I came up with...

  • Embody
  • Empower
  • Excel
  • Breathe
  • Stretch
  • Shine
  • Be here now
  • Time In
  • Body Scan
  • Breath
  • Postures
  • Play
  • Relaxation
  • Reflection
Purposes for being Healthy
  • Stay grounded
  • Optimize Creativity
  • Harness personal power
  • Shine your light
  • Speak your truth
  • Focus your mind
  • Be receptive

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DYK? (Did You Know)

My first day as your health Teacher!

Black(dark) web pages use the least energy to display?

Welcome to room 304!