Peace = Power

 

Last week, on February 14, 2018, our nation watched in horror as news revealed the details of yet another school shooting. On a day celebrated annually as a day of love, our nation and the people of this Florida community witnessed an act devoid of love. They experienced anything but peace.

All over social media we see “prayers and condolences” offered to those touched by this act of violence because, for many, there are no words. As a nation, we’re in shock, and don’t truly know what to think, feel, or do first to prevent future occurrences.

We Weep
As parents, we weep with those parents, and for those parents. We weep because we now fear sending our own children to school, and we don’t know how to protect them.

As educators and administrators, we can’t imagine the pain of losing beloved students, and possibly even guilt from not being able to protect them. In WV, we weep because our educators are being devalued when to some children, a teacher may be the only advocate in their life.

As therapists, clergy, counselors, and role models, we weep for the loss of peace, hope, and for the brokenness that now exists. We weep because it seems there is never enough time, enough resources, or enough of us to help each child in need of our services.

As community members we weep because the dynamics of families are forever changed when tragedy occurs. We weep because we grieve the life and hope children bring to a community, and now so many of them are gone or hurting. We weep because a school, a safe-haven in our community will now be a permanent memorial of that day. Yes, I said “our community” because we’re all part of one greater community.

As a nation, we collectively weep. (I’ll refrain from inserting political comments here.)

As families we weep. We are so “connected” that we’re disconnected from what’s truly going on with our children. Gadgets outnumber family members, children are babysat by TV, and we hope they learn valuable life lessons from the backseat as we shuttle from place to place.

​We weep for the loss of values, family time, and the need for mental health services because so many children are the victims of trauma – in their own homes. Our nation’s teachers have a most difficult job.

Finding Peace

There are times it seems our nation will never find peace. It seems a very real possibility our children may grow up in a world where they feel unsafe, busyness equates success, and connections are made through Wi-Fi signals.

What can we do? A number of things, and I’m really only here to talk about one: choosing peace.

  1. We can remember and teach our children that peace begins with me. Peace begins with you. Peace belongs to everyone.
  2. Peace is a choice and a commitment. We can extend grace where it may be undeserved. We can hold compassion for those who are hurting, and their outward actions or lifestyle reflect their inner turmoil. We can be friendly to the unfriendly. Disregard those who are unkind and take little to nothing personally.
  3. We can teach our children to pause before they speak, act, or give energy to negative thought patterns. Give them a checklist of values, ethical guidelines, or scriptures through which to filter all behavior—then practice it ourselves.
  4. Choose to feel the collective sorrows of our nation and show our children how they can be part of the change. Don’t turn off the news, make a blanket Facebook post, and insert head in sand. Have the difficult conversations. Be real with them and then show them how to livein peace. What ways can your family get involved in the betterment of your community? Who can you serve with your time and resources?
  5. Slow down. Pay attention. Play with the children in your lives. Listen to the story beneath the story when others speak. Meditate and pray. Seek guidance and remain open to change.

This is longer than planned, and if you’ve made it this far, thank you. I wrote this from the heart after a series of conversations with my 9-year-old, who has his own challenges emotionally, and a social media comment gone wrong about how we can take action.

I’ve learned, and I pray my children learn, that peace is more powerful than violence, anger, greed, or hatred. A hug is more powerful than a hit, as my son said in different words at age 4.

Spreading peace begins with each one of us choosing peace personally.

  • It begins with each one of us deciding we are here for more than our nightly shows and personal gratification.
  • It begins with every human knowing they are here for a purpose, and only they can uniquely fulfill that purpose, so they get up off their glutes and use their skills, time, and resources to affect change.
  • Peace begins with each of us not taking everything so personally, being impeccable with our words, and staying focused on our unique mission (aka, stay in your lane).

What am I doing?

Personally, my family is a work in progress. As a divorced mom of two, we often have times of unrest. It’s not easy, and it’s not always pretty (or peaceful). I work a day job, and I teach yoga a few nights a week. This limits my time with the kids, and we do our very best to fill our time together with as much quality as possible. I am fiercely dedicated to raising children who love themselves and others, value family, and are dedicated to fulfilling their purpose in this world by actively using their skills and resources.

I’m using my skills as a yoga teacher to train others to share this discipline and practice with their future students. I’m teaching them how to apply the ethical guidelines to their own lives as well as to their teaching. I’m doing my best to teach them effective communication. I hope and pray the implementation of these tools helps them live more peacefully.

I also get the opportunity to be part of a movement in WV to train our elementary educators to share meditation, mindfulness, and movement through yogic tools with the children and families within their circle of influence. We are trying to train as many educators in the state by the end of the 2017-2018 school year as possible. These educators will gain these tools personally and put them into practice in classrooms statewide within weeks of their training. Each one will be certified to teach Kidding Around Yoga in their community.

This is how I can help. It’s all I know to do. I can make my workplace(s) a mission field for peace. I can’t reach every child, so I share from my experience and empower others to teach children how to live peaceful lives. That’s powerful.

Peace begins with me. Peace begins with you. Peace belongs to everyone. May the words and actions of my life contribute to the collective pursuit of peace. This is (one) of my prayers.

Love what you are reading? Check out the Kidding Around Yoga website, or better yet, sign up for a KAY teacher training and spread the love of kids yoga in YOUR town!

 

 

 

Family Yoga Night

I can’t imagine a better way to create connection with your loved ones than putting together a family yoga session.

Our gym holds family yoga on a weekly basis, so instilling the same regularity in a home practice only makes sense. While I do enjoy the gym sessions, it’s age-based, and they do not include partner poses. Sometimes the lack of something inspires us to create our own perfect practice.

Here are some ideas:

Start with breath
We all know how to breathe right? And if we are teachers of yoga, no doubt we’ve had the talk with our kiddos about deep breaths through the tough times of life. So for family yoga night, spin that breath work into a fun ‘om’ harmony. See how beautiful you can harmonize as a family.

From sitting to standing
Usually, your practice will begin in seated position, so to get to your feet, work in a yoga pose skit of the weekend activities. Will you be walking the dog, feeding the cat, climbing mountains, planting trees, going for a boat ride, buying a pet turtle? See what I’m doing here?

Sun salutation
After you’ve reached standing position, it’s time to get the blood flowing. Introduce the sun salutation flow, and then let each person in the family attempt to lead that flow. You will definitely be warmed up by the end of this part of your practice.

Partner poses
The body of your session will be partner poses. Oh my goodness. This is going to be fun. Each of these poses combines stretch and touch, and some require balance. Relying on your partner to help you loosen your limbs! You can start with floor poses and work your way up to standing. And if you need any additional ideas, just enter a search for kid-friendly partner poses in your favorite Internet search engine.

• Rib-Splitting Seated Triangle

 

 

• Buddy Boat

 

 

• Sailboat

 

 

 

• Back to Back Twist

 

 

 

• Double Dog

 

 

 

• Open Heart

 

 

 

 

Family savasana
After the final partner pose, move everyone into savasana. One idea for this time of mindfulness, is to take your family on their dream vacation. Once you’ve led the relaxation of all body parts, and eyes are closed, verbally direct your loved ones on an imaginary journey to their ultimate vacation. What are the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings involved on this journey? Provide a soft voice instructing them in their choices to be made. Have them tuck this idyllic vacation away for future retrieval in chaotic moments.

After you’ve connected in this time of movement and mindfulness, you can spend the rest of the evening relaxing, maybe choose a meaningful movie to watch together, cook a healthy dinner together, or just spend time reflecting individually about the practice you’ve just shared.

My experience with yoga has taught me that mindfully slowing down, breathing deeply, stretching, are all practices we NEED to incorporate regularly. We all carry tension throughout the day, even our littles. When we practice as a family, we teach our children, and we learn their needs. What a loving way to spend an evening.

**Partner Pose photos are from the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture**

Love what you are reading? Check out the Kidding Around Yoga website, or better yet, sign up for a KAY teacher training and spread the love of kids yoga in YOUR town!

Como explicar que es Karma Yoga en la escuela?

Muchos de nosotros trabajamos en escuelas, ludotecas, etc, y aunque nuestras clases son muy divertidas y llenas de risas y actividad nunca debemos olvidar que en el yoga para niños también esta la parte de Karma Yoga.

A veces creemos que ya porque alguien realiza esta maravillosa práctica sabe que es esto cierto?. Pero como podemos explicarle esto a los pequeños? Y no solo eso, a nuestros alumnos dentro de una institución. No sabemos realmente como los educan en sus casas, tal vez para ellos esta parte de dar y ser compasivos no exista.

Como sea nuestra labor como maestros de yoga es dar los mejores consejos y ejemplos que podamos para el beneficio de nuestros alumnos y la comunidad.

Me puse a pensar la manera de darles ejemplos sencillos de como ser compasivos y hacer cosas buenas por los demás. Así es que aprovechando que era época de fiestas Decembrinas y al ver que la mayoría de mis alumnos pedían regalos a Santa y en el caso de México a los Reyes Magos hice una clase basada en ese tema. Que por cierto, nos fue muy bien!!! Vimos DICHAS con las posturas de camello, caballo, elefante, estrella y luna, que corresponden a los animales que llevan Santa y Los Reyes Magos, y al final les pregunté que habían recibido de regalos. Obvio todos súper emocionados contándome. Y ahí fue cuando decidí empezar a introducir este tema. Empecé diciendo que recordaran siempre ser agradecidos con lo que tenían e incluso con lo que
no. Es decir, que importa si tenemos tan solo diez juguetes! Al principio decían muchos que ellos entonces querían diez más! Entonces les pregunte que si habían pensando en aquellos niños que no tenían ni uno. Siempre hay que pensar que lo que tenemos es grandioso, no sólo en lo material sino en el que tengamos una familia, una casa, tal vez una mascota, una escuela y muchas cosas! Porque hay muchos niños en muchos lados del mundo que no tienen las mismas posibilidades que ellos, y que en lugar de sentirnos mal por lo que no tenemos hay que ser solidarios y ayudar justo a los que más necesitan. No pasaron ni 20 segundos cuando la primer pequeña levantó la mano contándome que ella cada año donaba juguetes a los niños que no tenían, y de ahí surgió otro – Yo También! mi mamá y yo juntamos ropa para llevarlas en el invierno a la gente- así pasaron como seis niños más! Y los que no lo hicieron escuchaban atentamente. Eso me hiz super feliz! porque vi que es algo que si podemos enseñar a nuestros pequeños para crear una mejor sociedad llena de amor y compasión con el otro. Terminé por felicitarlos a todos por sus maravillosas acciones y motivándolos a que nunca dejen de hacerlo. Yo también les conté la mía claro de como en Navidad mi hija y yo hicimos bolsas individuales con alimentos para la gente que ese día en la calle no tenía que comer, porque sino como puedo pedir ejemplos de acciones si nosotros como maestros tampoco lo hacemos!. Cierto?

Finalmente vi que no fue tan complicado, después de todo el Karma Yoga es algo del día a día y que de alguna manera vive ya en cada uno de nosotros, solo es cosa de no dejar que esa parte se opaque por otras que no valen tanto la pena.

Si quieren saber un poco más de Karma Yoga aquí hay una breve explicación:
https://yoga.guiafitness.com/karma-yoga.html

NAMASTE

Hibernation Hatha

The darker days and colder temperatures of winter make us all want to hibernate, right? Well, maybe. Sometimes when kids have less outdoor time during the winter months, they get restless! One way to deal with this is to let them get their energy out so they are ready for their Secret Garden (which we can call our Hibernation Haven/Cave/Station). Another way is to create a relaxing ambience since kids often respond so well to their environment: set the lights low or bring in artificial candles, nightlights, paper lanterns, or glow-in-the dark star stickers to light up the room.

But wait! If they aren’t quite ready to plop down and unwind, a little pre-hibernation prep is in order. Explain to your yogis that some animals fatten up by eating a lot before winter comes. Then play a version of Toe-ga with pom-poms  or some other small objects to represent nuts. Put on music and, using only your toes, see who brings the most nuts back to their cave (yoga mat). A variation on this activity can be done with kids walking around in downward dog and picking up the ‘nuts’ with one hand or toes. It makes for an even more challenging game!

Are they still bouncing off the walls? Ask them if they know what some animals do instead of hibernate. If you live in a place where there are particular animals that leave or nest there for the winter, you can use this as a clue. If they don’t know the word migrate, this is a great opportunity to teach it. Let them move across the floor in groups as birds, butterflies, whales, or some other animal that migrates; use traditional yoga poses or make up poses or moves for each animal. Dance teacher Kate Kuper has created a sweet little song for kids to practice ‘flying’ across the floor as birds. It’s a great way to teach spatial awareness and turn-taking. She doesn’t mention migration in it, but you can adapt it to the theme.

Are we ready to relax in our hibernation stations yet? Or are there some wiggles left in your yogis? The next idea you can spring on them is this: what are some ways to deal with the cold (besides fattening up, as mentioned above)? Move around to warm up! Curl up, seek shelter, blow into your hands. Maybe start with a dynamic song to help them get their body heat up. Some Kidding Around Yoga favorites of mine are: Every Little Cell, Here Comes a Little Yogi, and Yoga Slide, but any song that fits the mood should be good, even if you just do a game of Freeze Dance. Tell them that some animals adapt to winter rather than hibernate or migrate. Many adapt by growing thicker fur, seek shelter, or stay active; humans are animals too! They can use physical activity to stay warm in cold weather, too.

Next, a little hand-warming pranayama helps to wind down the mood. It’s simple: deep breath in followed by a slow exhale into cupped palms. Repeat a few times, then prepare for a short huddle. Do your yogis know about how penguins huddle together for heat? Do a group huddle, perhaps with each kid in a standing pose to add a little challenge and focus. Emphasize respect and gentle contact to prevent kids from crashing against one another or knocking others down. In light of that, it might not be the best activity for very young kids – use your judgement on that.

Finally, when all are ready to enter their Hibernation Haven (or cave, or station), have them lie down and imagine their warm, cozy lair where they can rest from the bright chaos of their day. Make it your own as you talk them through it…or rather, let them make it their own as they imagine what is most relaxing and restful for themselves. When they come out of hibernation, it might be nice to add Bear Breath; I use the guidance for this pranayama from Yoga Pretzels (cards) by Tara Guber and Leah Kalish.

If you’re able to, supplement the class with a book on hibernation and winter. I know that I love to curl up with a book on dark, cold winter days. And of course, as a yoga teacher, please remember to give yourself a moment to ‘hibernate’ on your own, even if it’s just a moment to rest, close your eyes, and let go of all effort from your body and mind. You deserve it – teaching kids yoga takes a lot of attention and vivacity!

Open Your Heart for Happiness and Health

February is full of hearts; heart candy, heart arts & crafts, heart decorations and hearts all over greeting cards. They say Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark created holiday. Meh…I say who cares and celebrate the heart-ones in your life. While you are at it, open your heart wider. That is, open origami heartsthe space that contains it, your chest area all the way through your ribs to your collarbones. Go ahead, try it. Spread your arms out wide and take a deep breath, expanding your belly, your ribs and expand in the chest. Hold it for a second, and then relax. How did it feel? Did it feel calming and peaceful, make you feel more open, make you feel more exposed, or possibly make you feel courageous? All feelings are acceptable and all come from releasing tension and opening your heart space. Yoga classifies the poses that accomplish this as heart openers, and as backbends.

But why even bother with backbends? Many of us hunch our shoulders forward: on the computer, texting on a cell phone/scrolling through Facebook, doing the dishes, and even when playing with our children. This closes off our heart space when what we need to do is open and free it. A person who is depressed, anxious, withdrawn, or just going through an emotional or tough time also unconsciously closes up their heartteach kids yoga space by crossing of the arms, hugging their arms, along with hunching their shoulders and dipping their heads. This closing is constricting to our breathing and our blood flow, not to mention it creates tightness in the muscles in the front body.

When we wake in the morning the first thing we do is either stretch our arms overhead or put our arms behind our head and inhale deeply. Without even telling our body to do this, it already knows to act in a way to open us up, getting us ready for our day. Stretching through our front body eases our circulatory system, extends our breathing and helps combat the tightness contributed to a hunched over posture. When we do heart-opening backbends, we open the heart space which also means we expose it. This can makes us feel vulnerable. But if we can push pass that, we are actually opening ourselves up to giving and receiving more love. Why? Because we are leading with our heart in these poses.

Let’s walk through the Cat/Cow Pose, a gentle backbend, to see how breathing and stretching in a Yoga pose helps to open this heart space. Most people might not see 24777719856_941849c1e8_oCat as a heart opener, it looks like the opposite of a backbend. But, the rounding of the back, lifting out of the shoulders, and curling of the head inwards helps to relieve the tension in the neck and upper back that often keeps us from letting our heart space open. Remember that since this is a “closing” movement of the body, Cat is done on an exhale. While the chest expands into Cow it is the inhalation of the breath in to the chest that accomplishes this. Space is created in the chest by stretching the most often ignored strips of muscles in between the ribs (the intercostal muscle). Keeping these muscles supple helps the rib cage expand on the inhalation while you reach your heart forward opening the front side of your body. Your head is lifted with a soft gaze forward or up. You still stay lifted out of the shoulders, but now the shoulder blades slide down your back creating more space. This is considered a baby backbend, and it is the foundation for what the other backbends are built on.

Other backbends to open our heart space include the Sphinx, Cobra, Locust, Up Dog, Camel, Bridge and Bow Pose. Heart opening backbends not only strengthen the 13093317824_c2280f0030_zphysical body. Backbends also strengthen the heart chakra by bringing energy into the heart space. Briefly, this chakra helps to bring about selfless love and compassion. When it is closed off we may feel anger, resentment, bitterness and depression. This does not serve us well and it certainly doesn’t serve others.

So you see, it is better to have an open heart…physically and emotionally. Happy Valentine’s Day! Or should I say, Happy Open Heart Day!

A Sense of Belonging

A few years ago, I participated in a course called “The Happiness Program.” One of the activities we did was to go to every member of the group, look them in the eyes and say, “I belong to you.” The whole situation brought out awkwardness, shy smiles, and some giggles. After all, what does that really mean to ‘belong’ to everyone? At first it might sound like surrendering your power to other people, but as the course progressed, it became more clear that it was about acknowledging how profound power can be shared and activated in a communal way.

In a kids’ yoga class, I find it best to rephrase this idea.  In the age of smartphones, I thought it would be appropriate to take the word ‘selfie’ and recast it as the acronym S.E.L.F.I.E. and break it down to some facets of sangha: Sharing, Energy, Learning, Feelings, Inspiration, and Entertainment. How does this define a sense of belonging? All these aspects of sangha reflect how the yoga class is not just for isolated individuals, but for a group of kids that ‘belong’ to that class each time they come together.

Depending on your class and your own yoga practice, you might find your own creative ways to break down the concepts of S.E.L.F.I.E. Feel free to modify some of the ideas I mention here. All the ideas support one another. For instance, Sharing involves using your Energy perhaps to Inspire or Entertain. Sharing can also be about helping others in their own Learning. Working with Feelings can release stuck Energy or even Inspire someone to take action to Learn or Share something with a friend.

If you prefer not to mention smartphones in class, just use a few of the concepts and create your own acronym! Your yogis might be too young to have or care about smartphones; on the other hand, if they are older kids (and especially if they are teens), they probably know a lot about smartphones and selfies.  However you combine these concepts and put them into context, they are all about yoga as a communal, rather than a solitary practice. Here I’ll share just a few ways to combine these ideas in pairs.

Sharing and Learning: What better way for yogis to learn than by sharing what they know? Let them work in pairs or small groups so they can take turns leading one another in their own unique version of Sun Salutations. If they’re fairly new to yoga, wait a few classes until they are comfortable with the elements of a sun salutation. Otherwise, give them some time for free practice so they can create their own sequence, then allow enough time afterwards for each person in the pairs or groups to lead their fellow yogis.

For younger yogis, I find that partner poses work best to explore the concept of learning through sharing; this way, they can focus on one or a few poses, rather than a complicated sequence. If the kids are familiar with some kid-friendly partner poses, I let them choose. Otherwise, I usually use yoga cards that illustrate partner poses; pair the kids up and either show the entire class one card so everyone can do the pose at the same time, or pick out 3-5 cards to circulate around the class so that each pair has a chance to try each one.

Energy and Feelings:  A lot of people think of yoga as a tool for relaxation, but it can also be a tool to energize a tired body and mind. Yoga can also be a way to navigate the spectrum of human emotion as it affects a person’s energy. Kids know that when you’re sad, you’re usually tired and when you’re angry or excited, you seem to have more energy. The challenge is to help them identify these feelings or energetic states, then manage them in a constructive way.

Some of my favorite ways to help young yogis work with their emotions and energy are by adding these elements to the practice: sun salutations, pranayama, and laughing yoga. Sun salutations are not only a great warm up to use at the beginning of class, but also a great way to lift up tired yogis. Younger yogis especially love going a little faster with each round of sun salutation! The activity above also energizes a class as yogis talk and guide each other their own unique salutation.

Pranayama practiced can be included during the sun salutation if the kids know how to use ujjayi breath. Otherwise, there are so many creative ways to bring pranayama into the class. What does pranayama mean? And what does it have to do with emotions, energy, and sangha? You might know that the breath is linked to the mind and emotions; we can manage emotions and energy by changing our breathing and this can help kids relate to one another with clear minds and calm attitudes. A simple example: imagine a time when you were angry. Was it a time that it would have been easy to be friendly or to make a good decision? Probably not! The next time you find yourself in a similar situation, try some of these breathing techniques so that your anger or frustration don’t make you forget to be kind and gentle with others.

Inspiration and Entertainment: When I myself was just a teen, I found myself in a yoga class where the teacher led us into Scorpion pose (Vrishchikasana). My knees began to bend as I lowered my feet towards my head. The teacher came over and slowly guided my feet toward my head until soles rested on crown. What a feeling! When I was steady, he looked up at the others who stood watching and said in a half-joking tone, “Come on, let’s all work on it. Yoga is not a spectator sport!”

While some might be inspired by another student achieving a difficult pose, another might feel intimidated or discouraged. If you have the time and the means, allow for a yoga photo day so that your yogis get some time to take photos of each other doing favorite poses. If no cameras or phones are available to do this, allow them to draw the poses by hand or let them find images of yoga poses online or in magazines.  It could be a posture that they simply enjoy, or one that they have worked on and are proud to be able to do; they could also choose poses they want to do but struggle with, or even poses that they dislike but want to try anyway. Find a way to display the photos, on a wall if they are printed or online if they are digital. Then go around the circle at the end of class and let students mention a pose that inspires them. Keep the photos on display for weeks or months if you can and refer back to them from time to time to help the kids reflect on whether or not their ‘pose of inspiration’ changes over time.

A more appropriate activity for young yogis involves sharing stories. Young children need inspiration from their peers as well as their mentors, role models and teachers; they also thrive on entertainment to keep that inspiration alive. Just as kids’ yoga has been on the rise, kids’ yoga literature has been riding that same wave. There are now many inspiring and entertaining yoga books for young people. If you have access to some, allow for time in class for yogis to form small groups and read the books to one another. At the end of class, each one can share something from the book that inspired them. Alternatively, reserve some class time for each yogi to create their own BLISS, a short yoga story that they tell with postures to accompany.

Interaction: If there’s one thing that I both enjoy and lament about yoga for adults is that it can be so solitary that it is often isolating. People show up to class, roll out their mats, silently follow the teacher’s guidance, then pack up and leave, often without saying much or making eye contact with anyone else. Sometimes that’s what I look forward to, while other times it feels lonely. Teaching kids yoga has inspired me to reflect on how sangha can be spontaneous, fun, and creative! I owe so many teaching ideas to kids I’ve taught–they aren’t just my yoga students, but I also belong to them as their teacher!

 

 

Mandala Magic

The art and therapy of mandalas has reached huge popularity.   But what exactly is the meaning and purpose of the beautiful, geometric images we find ourselves drawn to decorate with color?

Merriam-Webster provides these two definitions of mandala: 1. a Hindu or Buddhist graphic symbol of the universe; specifically: a circle enclosing a square with a deity on each side that is used chiefly as an aid to meditation 2. a graphic and often symbolic pattern usually in the form of a circle divided into four separate sections or bearing a multiple projection of an image.

Much meaning can be found in mandalas, historically speaking.  Its roots are Hindu and Buddhist.  The mandala is a spiritual symbol for the universe.  It is used for meditative purposes, as defined above.  It literally means “circle” in the Sanskrit language.  And mandalas exhibit radial balance.  We all know that balance is the core of yoga. 

As I read about the history and use of mandalas, I am struck by its purpose to provide a means to induce meditation.  In other words, the intricacy of mandala design with the circular and square lines is not without meaning.  We should get lost in the mandala, in a way that we can be found.  Or perhaps, answers may be found.  Or perhaps, calm can be found.

How do we then share this ethereal ideal with children?  We introduce softly, as art.  Questions may be asked.  We can answer of course.  It is not just the religions of Buddhism and Hinduism that embrace artistic and geometric art as a means of meditative state.  There are Christian mandala symbols as well.  So we say, without exclusion, and with full honesty, that mandalas offer us an opportunity to be entranced with art, religion, mindfulness, softness, quietness, in a way that also speaks to our individuality.  I can’t imagine two mandalas coming out the same, at the hands of two different children.  We’ve come full circle then, no pun intended, when we see that this form of meditative expression brings about creative difference.  Isn’t that the essence of our universe?  Isn’t it? Being at odds with another is such a hard pill to swallow.  Who knew that the mandala could offer a lesson in diversity? 

For more information on mandalas and how to use them in your yoga classes, check out The Lure of Mandalas. And for free printable mandala coloring sheets, click here.