Aliza and the Mind Jar from Hover on Vimeo.
When kids start doing yoga they begin to turn their attention within themselves and away from everything attracting and stimulating their minds in the world around.
This can be a change as great as that between night and day. The night is a quiet inward time after which the dawn begins opening out into the activities of the day, where life is more outward.
A way for children to learn how to turn their attention, is for them to start exploring what is happening inside their body, physically.
As for example, is explained in the kid's yoga book, Fly like a Butterfly, using the metaphor of balloons. The kids think about their lungs as being like their favourite coloured balloon that fills and empties as they breathe. So they create an image of the activity of breathing.
In her book, Fly like a Butterfly Shakta Kaur Khalsa explains the idea of an inner voice by relating this to a wise teacher that lives inside us.
This inner voice is not always easy to listen to because the mind is not easy to manage. As most people have found if you try not to think about an elephant, the only thing you can think of is an elephant.
But in yoga as in other spiritual disciplines, there is a concept of the mind as like a little crazy monkey that leaps about causing a lot of trouble but can begin to be tamed and one way is by meditation.
To condense something that Perma Chodron, the popular Buddhist said in 5 Reasons to Meditate,>
"The Mind is very wild. The human experience is full of unpredictability and paradox, joys and sorrows, successes and failures.
...If we can train ourselves through meditation to be more open.. we can become more settled and relaxed."
Like those Christmas globes full of dancing tinsel, in the video above there is a globe called a Mind Jar that is used as a way for kids to visualise the accidental activities of their minds.
Being open to the good and bad of life can mean being open to a change in direction that might not be comfortable. What arrives you can accept (as a first step) rather than persuing what we want at all costs irrespective of who we hurt on the way to acquiring it.
So the kundalini yoga teacher, Chiv Charan Singh used to say that if you love your friend then you wish them a crisis (a chance to grow).
It can be a way into thinking that the depth or meaning of life often comes out of the difficult times, just as the wheat that grows may arrive in spite of weather conditions, as well as due to them.
Being open to what arrives is not simply wanting what is pleasurable but being able to transform the situation into something else. This can be via feeling it in your heart, rather than 'hardening' if something arrives that seems like bad luck.
This is the idea with Catalyst yogi Feeling stuck in life. The unblocking meditation is one way of sitting with the uncomfortable emotions and transmuting them. One of the sutras from Yogi Bhajan for the Aquarian age is, that there is a way through every block.
In the video about yoga for children and the programme in a school in New York the children are learning to look inside to see what they feel. They are becoming more conscious and self-aware.
In this yoga class in NY, in 'Aliza and the Mind Jar', the children can be absorbed simply watching the jar of tiny particles as in meditation someone might observe the thoughts of their mind labelling them as Pema Chodron says 'thinking'.
When or if you start your children doing yoga you could find yourself wondering how they could manage without it? How can a child grow up without having an anchor, a reference point inside? In this video the anchor is the heart or the belly, the centre of energy.
If you find it hard to find ways your young child can sit still this video is full of ideas. Then you can also ask them what they think is happening to their breakfast, to imagine the workings of their stomach and intestines, or are their any sounds?
You can build this up to one minute. And tell them to ignore any thoughts that might say 'This is boring I want to move,' but instead to try to feel their heart beat, with one hand on the heart or the wrist pulse or their breath.
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