Reflections on My Workshop in Newtown, CT


I left for Newtown, CT to work with some of the K-6 grade teachers with my props and materials safely packed, my music stored in the pocket of my suitcase, my handouts ready, my flash drive with my presentation safely tucked away in my purse, and my emotions jitter bugging inside me.  Would I really be able to be of some assistance in making the teachers’ stress levels soften?  Would they connect with me, an outsider, and feel that I had something useful for them to use in quieting their emotions? Would they each find one, two, or three relaxation techniques I was prepared to share with them that they could adopt as their own self-care techniques?  A sense of uneasiness filled me as my husband and I started down the road to Newtown on March 13th.  I so wanted to be helpful to them . . . .The setting for my workshop was a bright and airy library media center in Newtown’s Reed Intermediate School.  With the help of my hostess for the event and my husband , we arranged the room to my  liking with the chairs in a semi circle facing the screen.  My materials were arranged on a table nearby with the five elements represented in a peaceful Feng Shui arrangement, and colorful Yoga Dots ® were scattered on the floor waiting for the workshop participants to arrive. The physical environment was ready, but was I?

It is said that a bit of nervousness, stress is a good thing, and I have learned that to be true when presenting.  I definitely had a bit of the jitters but did what I preach, a breathing pattern, viloma krama (see video),

to quiet my nerves before the teachers started to arrive, and I reminded myself that I have been invited to Newtown to share what I know, the techniques that I have learned that can be effective in transforming stress into calm.  Indeed, that is all that I can do.  Share.  What happens once I leave is out of my hands.

As is customary in my workshops, I had the teachers show through their bodies how they were feeling (Taking the Emotional Temperature  of Your Class Chapter 8).  I expected  most of their statue shapes to be caved-in or hanging over at a middle or low level.  I was right.  Most of them were low on the emotional/energetic scale.  So, a pick-me-upper was called for!  In a matter of minutes, I had the teachers moving around the yoga dots with their front, back, and side bodies leading.  They made  yoga shapes and  free shapes on the dots.  Laughter and smiles filled the space.  My jitters swiftly faded away . . . .

During our time together, we covered breathing patterns for quieting the emotions or raising their energy level.  We explored acupressure points, qigong, and mudras (hand gestures) to help them manage their stress.  There was laughter, smiles and a few tears from time to time, but definitely more laughter and smiles than tears.  For an hour and a half, these teachers were able to transcend their fears, worries, guilt and/or  anxieties and enjoy life again.   We closed in a circle, a symbol of wholeness and unity, our hearts connected as one.

So was I able to be of some help?  From what I observed as we worked together, I would say yes.  Through playing, exploring, and laughing, the teachers were able to set aside their emotions and enjoy life again for a smidgen of time.  After awhile, as they use these tools, the smidgens of time will begin to string together, and over time, they will once again be peaceable.

Upon departing, some teachers offered me positive comments about their experience as well as thanks.  Since then, others have sent me personal responses indicating that they have had success with a technique(s) I shared with them, and some have already had success sharing some of the techniques with their students.

I am smiling form the inside out grateful to have been of service and hope that my Newtown teacher friends will continue to become more peaceable each moment of each day.

Peace to you,


*Special thanks to my Newtown hostesses and the organizations Sandy Hook Promise and Sandy Hook Peaceful Arts for bringing me to Newtown.

8 Responses to “Reflections on My Workshop in Newtown, CT”

  • Amy Wood says:

    Wahe guru! 🙂 Your work is so important Sandy, may angels watch over you and your path to reach others become clearer and stronger with every step, every breath, every moment.

    With love…

    • Sandy says:

      Amy, I appreciate your special wishes and thank you for the part you have played in moving my book and work forward.


  • Christine Van Ells says:

    Hi Sandy,
    I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for your service to the teachers of Newtown. What a beautiful gesture of love and support to the community. Your sharing brought tears to my eyes. You are a very gifted healer and I am sure you impacted their lives in a positive way. Again, thank you.

  • Laura Hughes says:

    Dear Sandy,

    You are a blessing, to all the teachers/staff of Newton. I am sure that their “smidgens of time”, their peace, will grow, thanks to you and your teachings.

    Be Well,

  • Gale Taylor says:


    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, it was very uplifting to read.


  • Michelle says:

    Sandy- My heart glows to envision you sharing your work and play with such a special group of teachers. Thanks for all you do and all you are! Michelle

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