In the classes this week, we focused on crocodiles. The lessons were not so much about what crocodiles can teach us about mindfulness, but more about the emotion of anger that is often portrayed as a crocodile when explaining feelings of anger to young children.
We started off the classes with some eye exercises. We use our eyes every day but often take them for granted and don’t pay any attention to them. So, this week, we encouraged movement in the eyes by using finger puppets for our eyes to track. We also gave our eyes and the area around our eyes a gentle massage. Personally, the massage seemed to relax my entire face, not just my eyes so I will definitely be doing that more often!
I read the lovely book, The Angry Crocodile by Rosie Greening to the children. This book is part of a great series called “Playdate Pals” that helps explain emotions to young children. I particularly like The Angry Crocodile because it focuses on what we feel happening inside our bodies when we get angry – clenched teeth, clenched fists, hot and flustered cheeks, an increased heart rate, rapid breathing and even sometime a ball of fire inside of us that explodes!
We spoke about how it is okay to feel angry. It is absolutely normal and everyone feels angry sometimes. We then spoke about what things are okay to do when we feel angry and what things are not. I taught the children a few safe yoga poses that are fantastic for releasing anger.
We started with The Punching Bag pose. Standing in Mountain pose with feet slightly apart, I asked the children to punch the air across the midline with clenched fists. We did 3 repeats of 10 slow punches. Controlled. Focused.
We then did the Woodchopper pose. Again, starting in Mountain pose, fingers interlaced with arms straight ahead. We raised up our arms and then pulled them down hard as though we were chopping wood.
Next, we worked on Volcano pose. I think the kids really enjoyed this one! Firstly, we moved our hands in circles in front of our solar plexus, rolling all the anger into a ball and then we lifted up our arms quickly in a v shape blowing out a very hard “ha!”. Like a volcano exploding. After doing this a few times, I asked the children help me roll all the angry energy in the room into a big ball that we could through out the window. I got some very surprised and suspicious looks, but slowly everyone joined the moment and together we chucked the negative energy out of the room. On getting back to their mats, I asked the children to now fill the space with peace. So, we repeated the pose but this time, we whispered the word “peace” out into the air as we raised out arms. The transition in the room was wonderful.
We then did a very short warrior series. Starting in warrior I, we said “I am bold”. We moved into warrior II saying “I am brave” and then we ended in warrior III with “I am me”. A great confidence building sequence. It took a lot of effort and concentration for most of the children to stay balanced and centered, but it was lovely to see the great effort.
After the yoga, the children had a well-deserved relaxation time where I guided them in a visualisation in the Amazon Rain Forest. This is one of the meditations that will be available on the Mindful Moments for Minis CD that I am currently recording.
Last but not least, we finished off the classes with some mindful artwork involving pinching crocodiles. This was definitely a highlight of the class for many! A beautiful bask of colourful crocodiles with funky designs made an appearance. Wonderfully inspirational.