Little Yogis: encouraging a love of movement and sowing seeds for peaceful mind.
We don’t need to teach kids to love life – the majority already do, we can just help them along their way by enhancing their happiness through a balanced body and mind.
This is the beauty of being a child, the openness, the willingness to learn – to experience; and the innocence and mystery of play which they fall into whole heartedly without expectation.
In a children’s yoga class we are not imposing our views of life philosophy on them, we simply use the analogies of life On this Earth to help them sow the seeds for a happy, grateful and content life. Most children are already happy, most children are full of love that they want to share; it is not hard at all to evoke these qualities in them, what we are trying to do is help preserve these qualities, to enhance them, so as they grow up and practise yoga they have a reference point – something to refer back to which reminds them of what a wonderful person they are in amongst a wonderful world.
Lions, tigers and bears help with this! Yogis 2,500 years ago formed shapes based on what they saw – amimals and landscapes. They used the analogies of mountains to stand tall and strong, they used trees to root to the earth and they used snakes to move fluidly and lightly across the Earth and eagles to bring balance and poise.
Yoga is body and mind. If the body isn’t healthy , the mind will be affected, if the mind is upset, the body will be affected. This is the inextricable link between the two. We show our children how to take care of their bodies and minds to allow their lives to take care of themselves.
So we move like animals, we stand tall upon the Earth, we develop a love for movement and an enthusiasm for making creative shapes – this keeps our bodies strong, fit and healthy.
We teach our children how to observe their breath and how to breath effectively to allow for optimum energy and to still a busy mind. We teach our children how to look inward – to understand how they are feeling moment to moment so they know themselves and their reactions better.
We help to show our children how wonderful our Earth is just by playing in, with it and around it. And we remind our children how wonderful it is to work together – collectively, as a group, we show them how consideration of others brings them contentment, trust and peace of mind.
Naturally, most children will dip in and out of yoga if they started at a young age. The majority won’t keep it up fully perhaps until they are adults. But we are sowing seeds…we are sowing the seeds for knowing how to manage life when it gets a little rocky – which it will at times.
The body has a memory and it just needs a little nudge to remember how you felt when flowing through postures and how you felt melting in deep relaxation. Our children will remember this; they will remember that there is another way if they don’t like the way they are heading.
So when we teach Little Yogis, we are teaching them skills for life. This will be under of blanket of enjoyment and exploration – we do not need to pontificate or preach.
Like adults who in initially come to yoga for exercise and end up finding something deeper, Kids come for fun – and end up finding methods to help their mind – even if they don’t realise it.
The journey is long and bumpy into adulthood with relationships, exams, careers etc.
In their little yoga toolbox we can equip them postures to balance their hormones and keep them strong, we can give them the experience of a quiet mind and how to access this. And like nostalgia from the smell of cut grass or a rainy day out to play, the memories and feelings associated with the yoga experience will come flooding back…at least we hope.
The body doesn’t forget so easily when you’ve done something repetitively; just think – they never forget how to ride a bike!