Taniya Finds Balance :: Finding Balance
Step into a unique human's mind, heart, perspectives, and story in "Taniya Finds Balance :: Finding Balance".
Let's explore self, others, and our world in a new, beautiful way!
Let's build our empathy, global understanding, and compassion.
And as we do, let's remember that this story is an introduction to who this human is.
It would take years (or a lifetime!) to wholly understand this human,
just like it takes years for us to understand ourselves.
Judgment and bias are quick to get and hard to get rid of.
And both are rather boring. But learning?
Learning is magical. Learning is forever.
Health, Humanity & Belonging, Universe
Equivalent ratios, Ratios & proportional relationships
Author's Purpose, Comprehension and Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Evidence Collection, Inferencing
Addressing Challenges, Analyzing Situations, Appreciating Diversity, Empathy, Mindfulness & Meditation, Perspective-Taking, Reflecting, Respect for Others, Self-Awareness, Social Awareness, Social Engagement
Math Grade Level
4th - 6th
Community Engagement, Culture, Current Events, Ethnography, Geography, Global Connections, Sociology
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Taniya Finds Balance :: Finding Balance
Recently, my entire class participated in a vision camp at our school to see who needed eyeglasses. Now that I’ve got my new eyeglasses, I can see and welcome you by saying, “Namaste”! That means “Hello” in Hindi. In yoga classes, saying this word is also a way to end a practice, as it can also mean, “The light in me honors, cherishes, and respects the light in you.”
My friends and I are showing our classmates some of the yoga postures we’ve been practicing. I’m the one balancing on my hands on top of two cans! It may look easy, but it takes a lot of work — and sometimes a lot of falling down — before being able to do this posture called Tittibhasana or Firefly.
What activity do you spend a lot of time practicing so you can improve? Why is it important to you? Do you ever share it with others?
I was so excited to share my yoga with you that I forgot to introduce myself! My name is Taniya, and I am in 9th grade. I live in the town of Bawana (about 2 hours away by bus from Delhi) which is in India.
If I wanted to travel to Delhi, I would have to take 4 buses and it would cost me 56 Indian Rupees in total. How much would it cost me if I wanted to go further to a city called Noida and needed to take 7 buses to get there (if the the price of each ticket is the same)? You can write a proportion and find the cost of 7 bus tickets.
There are many people in my country, and we have one of the largest populations in the world. With so many people around, finding balance in the crowds can often be a challenge. Luckily I have been practicing yoga every day to help me maintain “samasthiti,” which refers to my internal balance or my steady state.
What does “internal balance” mean to you? How do you maintain your internal balance?
I feel grateful that the practice of yoga is embedded in my culture. Yoga originated from Hinduism, which is a major world religion especially in India; but now people all around the world are practicing different aspects of yoga. So many people enjoy doing yoga because of how wonderful you feel after practicing! Yoga can involve physical postures, mindfulness, and also a spiritual aspect. What is so amazing about yoga is that you don’t have to be a professional or even Hindu to do it. Yoga can be as simple as sitting with your legs crossed on the ground, closing your eyes, and breathing deeply.
A major part of yoga is focusing on your breath to have greater control of your nervous system. Do you ever feel like you get really overwhelmed? When this happens, your body turns on the sympathetic nervous system, or that “fight or flight” feeling. What are some ways you handle this?
By taking a moment and focusing on inhaling and exhaling, you can actually calm down your body, which turns the parasympathetic nervous system on (the “rest and digest” state). Maybe try to take a few deep breaths in and out now to see how you feel!
Yoga has helped me learn how to focus on a goal and take small steps every day to reach it. One of my goals was to be able to do the Bakasana pose, or what some people call the Crow pose. In this pose, you balance your knees on your tricep muscles (on the back of the upper arm). Finding the right place to balance can be hard — that is why I had to practice every day for often hours at a time until I was able to do it! It took me 20 days to accomplish this pose, and I still have to practice it daily. My yoga practice has taught me that doing things slowly and with focus leads to improvement. Rushing my practice only makes me frustrated, and that is usually when I fall.
Taking things slowly can sometimes be annoying, but it can help save you time in the end because you don’t have to go back and re-do mistakes. Are there examples from your life when you were rushing and had to go back and fix a mistake? What did you learn from this?
Yoga has also helped me stay balanced in other situations, like when I get into a quarrel with my friends. When I get upset with them, I take a few deep breaths to calm down, think a kind thought, and then speak with compassion. There is really no reason to be upset with others; if we can learn to be compassionate, it helps us collaborate and solve problems together. Compassion means that you show empathy toward other people and take the time to be understanding of what they are going through.
Think about a quarrel you may have had recently with your friend, sibling, or parent. How did you react? How do you think taking a breath first and then collaborating to solve the problem would have helped? What can you do going forward when you are in a similar situation?
Practicing yoga, mindfulness, and finding balance in all that I do has also helped me look at the world differently. I use to be selfish and only thought about myself. Now I think about others, such as how they are feeling and how I can help them. I’m on a yoga team at my school, and this change of thinking has helped me work better with my teammates. Before, I use to try really hard because I wanted to be the best yogi possible, but now I try my best for my team so we all can learn and grow together.
As a team, we had the opportunity to do yoga on stage at a National Math Day conference! There are 16 yogis on my team. If we do a total of 24 postures on stage, what is the ratio of yogis to postures? What is the simplest form of the ratio? Then, can you write three equivalent ratios?
When you are kind to the people around you and are considerate, it is contagious. This means that when you show these positive actions and attitudes, other people around you start doing the same! It has a multiplying effect, since we all impact one another. I have learned to be kind and find balance in everything I do because I know it is good for me, but also because I know it is good for my community. If we all showed more kindness, took a breath before getting upset, and found balance in our hearts, I believe our world would be a little bit better.
What are some small, kind actions you could do today that might have a positive, multiplying effect on others around you?
Let's Love Learning!
Taniya Finds Balance :: Finding Balance
Learning ObjectivesStudents will learn about many topics, including: Equivalent ratios, Ratios & proportional relationships, and Ratios.
(Demonstrate finding balance with your class by having all students stand in a circle with their feet hip-distance apart and arms to their sides, and then have them close their eyes and focus on what they feel in their body.)
Begin brainstorming with your class and record the different answers on a two-column chart. In one column, write the students’ responses about the word “balance” to show that it has different meanings. Then, when you ask the second question, have students connect which definitions of balance help answer how it impacts our health (in column two). You can add to the columns as you guide students, saying, “How do you find balance in different situations, such as when you are nervous or upset?” Discuss what being balanced can look like externally and how it might feel internally. Do the same with what “being unbalanced” could look and feel like. “If you saw a friend that is displaying an unbalanced emotion, what recommendations would you give to help them?”
Ask students to focus on key details about Taniya by making connections between the story and the video. “What information did you learn about Taniya from the written story that you didn’t learn in the video?” You can discuss how the video shows Taniya needing eyeglasses and her process of getting them, and that it only referenced yoga when she was looking at her yoga calendar. “What inferences can you make between Taniya needing eyeglasses and her yoga practice?” You can also discuss how she finds balance at school and throughout her life, even when she isn’t doing yoga. “Balance is something that we constantly need to practice. It is like working out our body to get stronger; it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and ongoing commitment.” You can share that one way to stay balanced is by being kind and compassionate toward others, even when you don’t always feel like you want to. “What are some ways you can get in the habit of practicing kindness and compassion?” Have students share with each other and highlight a few ideas you hear with the class.
Before solving the math challenges in the story “Taniya Finds Balance,” share with students the importance of finding balance in all the different activities they do. “If a math challenge is difficult at first, what are some things we can do to stay balanced and not feel overwhelmed? What do you think Taniya would encourage you to do?” Ask students to share examples of how to stay balanced, such as taking deep breaths, not getting upset, believing in themselves, and being grateful for the opportunity to tackle a challenging problem and learn. “As you solve the math challenges, also record your feelings about them and ways you stayed balanced while finding the solutions.” Have students share a few of their reflections and solutions. “Where do you think we grow the most — during the journey of working through a challenging problem, or at the very end when we have the answer? Why do you feel that way?”
Share the quote, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.” Remind students what you had discussed throughout the lesson about finding balance and appreciating the journey. Ask students, “What is this quote saying to you?” and have them reflect through a drawing or by journaling their thoughts. “How can you change the way you look at things, and why is this important? How might this help bring balance and peace to our lives?” Record the answers of students who want to share, and make a chart that can be displayed as a reminder to find balance by changing the way we look at a person, situation, or even our own selves.
Keep Learning at Home
Express how finding balance takes work and being aware of ourselves by paying more attention to our feelings, actions, and thoughts. Encourage students to share with their families what finding balance means and why it is important. Have them come up with a way to monitor if they are feeling balanced or unbalanced and ways to positively address it individually and as a family.