The Valentine’s Day holiday is a great opportunity to continue the discussion of self-love. Who says that your Valentine has to be someone other than yourself? And what better way to introduce the concept of self-love to children than through a yoga class?
In whatever time frame you have, you can incorporate a theme of self-love (and self-care) into the different stages of your class. Always in the teaching of children, we take a difficult concept and we break it down into a less complicated idea through the use of age-appropriate language and demonstration. I happen to think the concept of love is an extremely complicated one. I’ve written about it at length for the adult audience, and still it’s hard to digest fully the idea of unconditional love.
It has taken me 40 years to get to a full understanding of how I define “love”. Expecting to translate that to a child in one yoga session is unrealistic. However, the discussion can start with talking about how a child feels about other members of their family, or a pet, or a certain hobby. Ask questions about how they might define love. Create scenarios for them to imagine a love-like response. Move into a discussion on how best to love ourselves, by taking really good care of ourselves.
For three specific aspects of a kids’ yoga class, here are some ideas:
Act out a story Don’t just talk about love and loving ourselves. Use yoga postures (and some fun made-up poses) to act out what self-love means. What are the things that we can do to take care of ourselves that translate into yoga positions? Good night sleep, eating well at the table and sitting upright in our chairs, hiking up a mountain, taking walks and seeing trees, and dogs, and cats. Can you think of anything else? You could even make this into a Charades-like game!
Guided Meditation Take your children on a journey to a spa where they get to spend as much time as they want taking care of themselves. What does their spa look like? Is it in a natural space, or a castle for princesses? Do they have people to do their hair and nails, and give facials? Or are they alone, able to sleep, read, exercise, take walks? Their spa is there for them to do whatever they love best for themselves.
Craft This is my favorite part! Have the kids write themselves love letters. Give them pretty paper, and envelopes, and when done tell them to keep their letters in a place they can easily get to. The below is provided as an example, using myself.
I’ve known you for your entire life, and I think you are really special.
You do the most amazing things like making your kids laugh when they are upset. I particularly loved the time you turned Gabriela’s frown upside down with a funny face, instead of getting mad at her.
And that body you are using to travel this earth? My oh my, it’s perfect! Strong, flexible, and tireless for moving through your day. You can do anything you set your mind to because you take care of your body with yoga, and rest, and grooming. You smile at everyone you meet throughout the day. Did you know the small act of smiling can change someone’s day, just like that?
But nothing is more attractive than your smarts. Making tough decisions, calming yourself through the use of breath, solving problems in your home. Keep your mind fresh with regular exercise, good sleep, and good food. Play games with your children too! I think you are a great person, and I hope you feel it in your bones how special you are to this world.
In short, I love you.
Yours truly, Heather