Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Anarosa the Mariposa; a tale of true love

We thought this story would be a sweet one for the month of February and presented it as a puppet show, since love was in the air and all. Giving this tale a yogic twist we encourage you to look on your relationships and frame them with self love. In reflecting on your relationship with yourself you will learn to love yourself and in kind learn to love others more fully. 

future storyteller
Puppetry is an oral art form similar to storytelling, a valuable means to build oral language skills. It is an entertaining way to introduce children to literature, bringing folktales to life. Both children and adults enjoy a live performance and the puppeteers have a good time too! Children learn the elements of a story, the beginning, middle and the end, preparing them for both reading and writing. 

A puppet craft completes our presentation inspiring children to explore their new found skills as storytellers and puppeteers. 

future puppeteer
Anarosa the Mariposa is our adaptation of Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, a Cuban folktale retold by Carmen Agra Deedy. It explores family relationship and culture as well as romantic relationship. Anarosa has been raised by a loving family and is ready for marriage. She must choose between several suitors while being courted under the watchful eyes of her family. She is reluctant to follow the shocking advice given from her grandmother but out of love and respect does so anyway. Which leads us to the story's sweet surprise of an ending. 

Probably the biggest struggle in life is the struggle to know and accept ourselves. Unlike Anarosa, many of us were raised by parents who were not taught to see their own worth. Therefore they were unable to teach us that we too are worthy. Family face all sorts of challenges and these stresses wear on us making our closest relationships difficult. So what can we do?

We can become more mindful of our thoughts, words, and deeds. Those stories we tell ourselves. We can change our stories. We can change how we think about ourselves. We can learn to accept ourselves. In order to truly unite with others we must first unite with ourselves. This is our yoga, this is our practice. And as we open our hearts to ourselves we become more open and compassionate with our loved ones as well as others.

Ahhh peace and love, what a sweet combination. 

Kathe and Melanie; puppeteers

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Monkey and the Croc

A tale of honesty...a tale of dharma

Emma Jean, our butterfly, helps us with our imaginations

We're all familiar with the age ole tale of the monkey and the crocodile. The cunning croc tricks the unsuspecting monkey. You can really dive deep into this story but since we presented to children in the library we just swam on the surface. Though we did splash and thrash and have a bit of fun in the process!

The Jataka tales from India are dated from 300 BC to 400 AD. They were a major source of instruction for developing the character of people and widely used by monks. These tales offer timeless truths. By listening to these stories, children and adults can improve their knowledge and learn how to face the difficult experiences of modern life. 

Infinite possibilities are available to take this story across the curriculum. Besides the obvious language arts, we can look to social studies. The history of the Jataka tales might be one aspect. The study of India's geography, its jungles and rivers another. Science topics and the natural world offer unlimited prospects. Monkeys and crocodiles and their food sources as well as the plant life found there are samplings to consider. All sorts of math concepts from the simple to the complex exist. Art enhances our creative curriculum, giving us freedom and fun. And last but certainly not least health and wellness, our yoga. 

crocodiles swimming
Left brain and right brain connect strengthening neural pathways as we listen and move our bodies into yoga postures. This whole brain activity, thinking and doing simultaneously, promotes deep learning. Our yoga storytelling adventure began with a forward bend as we became the monkey swinging our arms from side to side. We took cobra pose for crocodile and with plank pose and a reverse pushup we dove deep underwater. Monkey quickly gathers his wits with a deep breath in easy pose. Something we can do anywhere and anytime. Slow deep breaths calm us and help us to focus so we too can gather our wits. A seated twist along with a seated forward fold took the monkey and croc back to the riverbank, where monkey hopped off with a low squat. The kids had a lot of fun with this one, monkey sounds and bouncing chimps. The croc swam back and forth with a variation of locust pose watching the monkey, good for coordination. Realizing the monkey's resourcefulness the croc approached humbly admitting his mistake. We closed with tree pose, for that is where we find monkeys today, happy and carefree. 

bouncing chimps

Time to contemplate the stories we tell. The story we tell ourselves and the story we tell to others. The what, where, when, why, and how of things. What am I hungry for and what will I do to see that my needs are met? How am I like the croc? How am I like the monkey? How might I use my wits to deal with a difficult dilemma? Honesty, conceit, cunning, and resourcefulness are characteristics to consider. 

So the croc tricks the monkey and what do we do? We judge the croc as the bad guy. We forget that it's just the nature of a croc to eat monkeys. That's his dharma, his purpose in life, to swim in a slow moving river and to eat the food provided for him. There is nothing inherently wrong with crocs eating monkeys. Without crocodiles we'd have an imbalance in the environment, too many monkeys!

The problem in our story begins when the croc thinks he is smarter than the monkey. His ego goes to work and all he thinks about is catching and eating a monkey. Our thoughts can consume us. The more we think about something the more it can take hold. Thoughts become things!

Things come about for a reason. Seldom do we see the big picture. Life is relationships. All of our experiences are lessons on love. Learning to see from a different perspective opens us the wonderful world of grace. When we are thankful for what we have, be it a little or a lot, and trust that all our needs will be taken care of, transformation happens. And that is how we can live happy and carefree.

Moving Tale; Kathe and Melanie, tandem yoga storytellers