I started off the classes this past week by finding out whether any of the children had had an experience where their guard puppy had barked furiously and whether they were able to wake up their wise old owl to help calm the puppy down (Refer to the post about the previous lesson if you have no idea what I am talking about!).
One little girl shared that she is in a concert (different child from last week’s blog) and her guard puppy barks really loud when she has to go on stage. So, I asked if she could try wake up her wise owl with some mindful breathing to help calm the puppy down. But she promptly answered “No, my owl has gone on holiday!”. I had to smile, but it does show the extent to how big the feelings can be for our little ones. So big that it feels like their mindful owl (pre-frontal cortex) has gone on holiday. I have to admit that I feel like that myself sometimes! But never forget, your breath is our anchor. So, I continued to reassure the little girl that her mindful breathing will let her owl know that it is needed and the owl will return from holiday to help calm down the barking guard puppy.
The classes this past week were the grand finale in our “Animals and Mindfulness” series. The theme for the past week was “Your Special Animal”. There is a lovely belief amongst certain cultures that each person has a spirit animal to guide and protect them throughout life’s journey. When I was visiting Canada many years ago, I had the opportunity to do a hike guided by a Native American in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Mid-way through the hike, we stopped on the banks of a nearby river for a rest and he guided us in a meditation. It was wonderful! Being surrounded by nature, our bodies filled with endorphins from the exercise and the gentle sound of the river flowing in the background.
The guided visualisation I did with the children this past week was loosely based on that meditation I did in Canada, many moons ago. So, during the visualisations this past week, I suggested to the children that, while walking along a path in nature, they meet an animal. A special animal. Their special animal. That has been waiting there, just for them. I went on to tell them that their animal has a special message, just for them – something that will help the seeds of happiness to grow inside of them.
I feel this meditation encourages self-affirmation and can sometimes be a lovely tool for self-revelations to become clearer. I still remember my personal message from all those years ago. Something that was a wonderful revelation to me at the time, and something that is still applicable to my life today. The message can sometimes be quite personal so we did not discuss them afterwards. But the children often have wonderful ways in which to express themselves and their meditation experiences in the artwork that we do at the end of the lessons.
For the mindful movement this past week, I played the children a variety of clips of animal sounds. They needed to identify the animal and then move into the yoga pose of that animal. Great fun! There were frogs, cows, hadedas, eagles, ducks and more, all over the place. Possibly a bit more of a laughter yoga session than a mindful movement session! But the kids loved it.
For the artwork this past week, the children got extra time to work on their mindfulness pictures. At the beginning of the term, each child received a mindfulness colouring-in picture of an animal. Before each class started, while waiting for everyone to arrive, the kids would colour in their pictures. And this past week they were able to take the pictures home. Such excitement! It was so encouraging to see how much they loved working on their pictures and how proud they were of them. And I have had firm requests to please have more pictures ready for colouring-in next term!
So that concludes a wonderful term of “Animals and Mindfulness”. I wish all the Mindful Minis a safe and happy holiday.
Mindful Minis starts again the week of the 9th Oct.