There is wisdom in all traditions and in all paths, and I love picking out some of the gems from each to use in the Children Yoga classes I teach.
I have a great interest in Native American traditions. I find them to compliment some of the little pieces that are missing in yoga. Traditional yoga, in many ways, is very detached from the world—and the close affinity that the Native American traditions have with animals and nature is a perfect remedy for that.
There's no "good" or "bad" in our lives.
A few months ago, for my 40th birthday, I took some time away from our busy life for self-nurture. I went to Peru and spent a month with Shamans in the beautiful Andes. The lessons of the Peruvian Medicine Man are very simple and very deep, and many of them are relevant and practical not just for adults, but also for children.
The most influential teaching I took from that month is the idea that maybe there is not good and bad in our lives; rather there is only heavy and light, and we can dispel the heaviness by bringing in more lightness.
This is a fantastic idea! We are not doomed by “bad” things that are happening, or by “bad” things we are feeling; instead, we have the power to make things lighter by transforming them with lighter thoughts, lighter words, and lighter actions.
What do you think? A great lesson both for us and for the young ones? I’m heavy sometimes… so I know it is!
Sample Guided Imagery
Being already in the Shamanic mood, here is a wonderful guided imagery from a Native American journeying ceremony I have participated in more than 20 years ago. I have adapted it to suit children and have found it to work magic in my Kids Yoga classes.
* Imagine that you are somewhere in nature…a forest, a beach, or a beautiful valley.
* Walk around this magically amazing place.
* Somewhere here there is an opening…an opening to the centre of the earth.
* Maybe it’s a tree hollow, a cave, an opening between some thick bushes…
* When you find this magical opening, go inside and start making your way down to the center of all things.
* Maybe it’s a spiral staircase, an elevator, a water slide or just a winding path…
* With each breath, you go deeper and deeper into the center...the center of your heart.
* Once you have arrived at the center of the earth, you might be surprised that this is not a dark place.
* It is full of lush trees and blooming colorful flowers everywhere.
* Crystals are sparkling and rainbows are shining…
* Somewhere here at the center of your being hides your Guardian Spirit.
* Maybe it’s an Animal, a magical being or a person…
* It has been waiting for you here for a very long time.
* Look around, she is here.
* When you find her, walk toward her and hug this old special friend of yours.
* She has always been here for you, through all your ups and downs.
* She is your best friend and you can tell it absolutely anything…even things you would not tell anyone else.
* She is here to support you and help you and give you advice if you need it.
* Spend a few minutes talking to your Guardian Spirit.
* Slowly, get ready to climb back up to the surface.
* You are not going back there on your own…your Guardian Spirit is coming back with you and will always be there to guide you.
* With every breath, slowly climb up and up...back to the surface of the earth.
Welcome back. Do you feel a little lighter now? Feel free to try this guided imagery in your classes or for your own practice. Lighten up, relax, enjoy, and trust your inner wisdom!
Image credit: Alyona Lezhava