Lotus flowers are often synonymous with yoga. They are the beautiful flowers that don many yoga studios, yoga pants, etc. What a lot of people don’t know is why the lotus is important to yogis or what it symbolizes. The lotus grows in difficult terrain. It roots in mud beneath the water’s surface, unseen to the everyday passerby. It has to fight to bloom above the water and it has to fight to stay abloom. Its beauty is unsurpassed when one knows a little more about the conditions in which it not only lives, but thrives.
The lotus is revered in many different cultures and religions. Hindus, Buddhists, ancient Egyptians, and modern-day Americans revel in its unique beauty. Most people don’t know that it takes a couple of days for the lotus to bloom after it reaches the water’s surface! It takes a long time and a lot of persistence to even get above the water. Once it does, it still tests the viewer’s patience. After it blooms, which is usually in the morning, it stays open for mere hours before it closes and even retreats itself underwater until the next morning. Because of this, the lotus is often representative of rebirth, purity, resilience, and beauty.
To explain this to kids and connect it to yoga does not have to be difficult! Explain how we have to sleep every night so that our mind can re-bloom every morning. Explain how when we meditate, we temporarily close our mind and “retreat into our own water” to clean our mind and purify it against negativity so that we can bloom big! Ask them how they feel when they are tired or cranky. They will undoubtedly tell you that they are not their “best” selves. Sleep helps them shine as it does in the lotus. To demonstrate the resilience of the lotus, encourage them to share a time when they had to be brave. Ask them what made them the most proud after the ordeal. Encourage them to connect that experience to the tough spots in their lives. The struggles help us grow stronger and we become more firmly rooted in our confidence and in our ability to bloom! It may take a few times, especially for younger kids, but kids are smart and incredibly introspective.
As an additional activity, show them Padma mudra. With the pinky fingers touching and the thumbs touching, open the hands as if you were holding a flower in them. This is Padma mudra. Padma means lotus. Imagine smelling the fragrant bloom. As you inhale deeply, your heart and mind open just as the flower. Because you are embracing core principles of yoga philosophy, your heart and mind become more resilient and full of compassion. Just as the lotus, you can grow. This message is important because it can give kids the confidence boost, the encouragement, and the support they may need to keep on blooming. Whether they reach out to others for help, attend more classes, make friends, etc., practicing yoga can help them get there. Hopefully, they can think of the lotus and remind themselves that they are beautiful too.
- For a more thorough explanation of the traditional Lotus Pose, read this article.
- For more lotus-related activities, check this blog.
- For a lotus-themed yoga class, read more here.
Heather has a BA in English and Masters in Education. She works as a yoga teacher, postpartum doula, educator, and writer. Her hobbies include anything crafty, reading, and discovering new things. She has six amazing kiddos who rock her world. Find her on Instagram @hhorrell.