We all know that yoga and meditation are good for us. Then why it is so hard to stay dedicated and focused? How many times do you catch yourself thinking about groceries, the latest gossip in the workplace or an old friend that you haven’t seen for years, just right after going into Savasana? Children’s minds are as monkey-like as their bodies. Some adults are not far from that either… So how do you deal with the monkey in your own class?
Well, the answer from our lovely teacher is - charms and spells! To lead children's meditation, you need heaps of imagination. Use colors, sounds, scents, rainbows, flowers and time machines (not all together, thankfully!) Make them see it, make them feel it, make them do it. And repeat, repeat, repeat. We all need a good routine to adjust and learn.
As everybody learns in different way (in all of the madness of the world of teaching children, Laura didn’t let us forget about the educational philosophy mentioned at the beginning of the training) incorporating nature, music and art is essential to entertain and keep the attention of little yogis.
Bringing nature into the class helps to reconnect children with the natural environment. Music, dance, art or journaling not only keep children entertained, but also teaches them how to express themselves. Therefore, we spent a whole afternoon playing with glass bottles, stones and coconuts, dancing wild monkey dances and singing like crazy. Next to the songs explaining accessibly the meaning of such Sanskrit words like “Namaste” and yoga philosophy, we went through all those kid’s songs that little polish girl like me, heard only from American movies. Row the Boat… Incy Wincy Spider… Old McDonald’s Farm… Little Star that Twinkles… and so on, and so forth, lalala… Ahooooo! I have never sung so much in my whole life! I found out, that you can sing about anything. That you can make up a song for wiggling your toes and there you go, everybody (not only under 5) starts to wiggle their toes! After that session, I almost started to believe I can sing. Be aware!
So, if you do all this stuff and by chance your class is still not entertaining enough for some of the monkeys, there are tools which may help you to deal with bad behavior without children even noticing… You just need a noise machine, chiming bells, talking stones, thinking mats, WOW! boards, mind boxes…and a good training.
To train us well in the art of charming the bodies and minds, on the 5th day of our training, we have been asked to prepare and teach our first short, but proper class to each other. The drawing- machine was gentle with me, as I was teaching teenagers, with whom, I just feel safer for now. The other girls had a harder job but also a lot of fun. We went to outer space; travelled the four corners of the earth; we were astronauts, animals and space creatures. Pretty nice things to focus on, don’t you think so?