This week in the classes the children did their first formal sitting meditation. Even the pre-schoolers! It was incredible. They were so beautifully focused and aware. I felt so proud of them. Most of the littlies have been coming to me for some time (more than a year) so we have been working towards this point but was still very inspiring.
The lessons were around patience and we used the analogy from Eline Snel of “sitting still like a frog”. We spoke about why it is important for frogs to sit still – to catch their food – and how waiting patiently can often result in good things coming our way. We spoke about how being patient helps us a lot because it stops us from getting flustered and irritated. But is it also more pleasant for those around us if we can be patient and, in this way, we can add handfuls of happiness to the world.
So, we practised being patient by listening to the track “Sitting still like a frog”. It is essentially a sitting meditation for children. Eline gently guides the children through the sitting, constantly bringing their awareness back to the present. It is a really lovely introduction for children to a formal meditation.
We discussed afterwards how the mediation felt. One little girl said that initially she found it really hard but then she managed to find her focus by watching the candle in the middle of the circle. I loved that! It is not always easy to connect with the breath and we may have a lot on our minds that distracts us, but this little girl found something that could hold her attention and used that instead. Wonderful!
We then moved into a time of mindful movement. We discussed what other animals often sit still and wait. We incorporated these into a short yoga sequence – eagle, frog, lizard, snake, sleeping crocodile, downward dog and finally owl pose. I know that dogs definitely do not sit still most of the time but we needed that as a transition pose. The kids were luckily forgiving and let me include it! 😊
We then moved into a time of relaxation in the form of a guided visualisation. I asked the children to imagine they were frogs in a lake, breathing effortlessly through their skin while swimming under the water. The visualisation then moved onto them sitting still on a lily pad to wait for a fly or mosquito. The kids really seemed to relaxed and let go in this visualisation.
And then it was time for some artwork. We coloured in some fun frogs and each child thought of a situation where they feel they need to be more patient. They thought of something their frog could tell them in that situation to help remind them about sitting still like a frog. Each child then wrote the message to themselves in the frog’s mouth. It was a fun, creative exercise but also valuable in helping the children in a concrete way to find patience.
Finally, we ended with some breath work. Some of the children are writing exams this week so we did some exercises that can be used before an exam and during an exam to help settle the nerves and calm the mind.
So next time you hear a “ribbit, ribbit”, take a moment to appreciate the valuable lesson of patience that we can learn from these little guys.