Highlights from a past class

creative me

Guiding children in mindfulness

The colour in the rainbow that we focused on this week is Orange. Once again, there are many things in nature that are this colour. Orange flowers, autumn leaves, starfish, butterflies, a sunset are just a few things that the children thought of.

We discussed how, in yoga, orange represent our sacral region. I showed the children that it is the area below the belly button. This is thought to be the centre of our creative energy. So, we started the class by tuning into our sacral region, to allow our creative juices to flow!

We discussed what it means to be creative and some of the different ways in which we can be creative. In each class we went around the circle and each child shared something that they were good at that they felt was creative. We had some children who were proud of their drawing or painting abilities, others felt they were good at dancing and gymnastics, some mentioned that they were good at singing and even a few mentioned that they wrote their own songs and poetry! Absolutely wonderful. I was amazed at the talent. And what was even more wonderful was the humble pride that each child felt. There was no child that indicated they were the best at something but each one shared what they felt proud of with visible joy. It was lovely.

I then asked the children why they thought it is important to be creative. This question stumped them a bit. One answer offered was that it is important to be creative to stay original. I like this train of thought! So, creativity keeps us original and genuine. I fully agree with this sentiment.

I offered another suggestion that when we engage in something creative, we are able to express ourselves. I suggested that sometimes certain feelings can get stuck in our bodies and we can’t seem to understand them or let them float away. Personally, I find it helpful to do something creative at times like this. It can help cause a shift to release the upsetting or uncomfortable feelings and help to let them go.

I then read the children a short poem from the book “Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems” by Kate Coombs, illustrated by Anna Emilia Laitinen:
I breathe slowly in,
I breathe slowly out. My breath
is a river of peace.
I am here in the world.
Each moment I can breathe and be.

I watch the stream.
Each thought is a floating leaf.
One leaf is worry,
another leaf is sadness.
The leaves drift softly away.

I breathe slowly in,
I breathe slowly out. My breath
is a pathway of peace
moving softly through me.
Each day I can breathe and be.

For the mindful movement this week, I handed out pictures of South African animals and then asked the children to create a yoga pose representing that animal. There was a springbok, rhino, leopard, dung beetle, zebra, seal, giraffe and secretary bird. Once the children had worked out their new pose, they taught it to the rest of the class. The kids loved this! In some of the classes where I know the children are a bit more reserved, I got them working in pairs but in the more confident classes, they worked alone. And for me it was so fantastic to see how in the different classes, the same animal can be represented in so many different ways. I now have a whole new repertoire of poses to use in future classes!

For the artwork this week, I also tried something a bit different. I gave each child a piece of paper with a printed squiggle on it. The same squiggle had been printed on all the pages. I asked the children to turn their page 90 degrees, 180 degrees, 270 degrees and back to 0 degrees. Then I asked them which direction of the paper felt the right way up for them and what they saw when looking at the squiggle. I asked them to finish the squiggle and turn it into a picture. The results were incredible. So much creativity! Really, really super.

So, I want to reiterate two lines from the above poem that really stood out for me:
My breath is a pathway of peace.
Each day I can breathe and be.

Each day is a new day is stop, breathe and be.

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