Community, collaboration and kindness are certainly some of the ingredients that can help to create balance and harmony anywhere in the world.
I chose to make ‘Acts of Kindness’ a theme for our class recently and we began in circle sharing how we could show kindness to others. One student shared how she likes to include others when she plays a game and another how she thinks taking time to listen is showing kindness to. As always treasured times of sharing where we learn together the precious language of our hearts.
Artistic collaboration is always deeply enriching and I decided we would form our own unique ‘Aussiedala’ with love and peace at the centre. Sitting with a group of children some of who were originally from other corners of the globe but now call here home we share a common connection.
I found a map of Australia in an art store recently which gave me the idea for this activity and to appreciate this amazing land. I asked the students to colour and decorate in a way that made them feel happy and reflected how we felt about our home. In the centre I drew a peace symbol and place the universal symbol of love the heart around it.
Why not think about creating love, joy, happiness, harmony and peace with a mandala of where your home is?
What you need and how to do it
This is a great opportunity to teach students another interpretation of ‘Union’ and share the true essence of Yoga.
We all get a bit grumpy from time to time let’s be honest.
So when our children are feeling angry or upset it is healthy to be able to recognise these emotions, whilst also learning that we can actually diffuse them by becoming aware of them and trying different tools.
A glitter calming jar can do just that. It is both a visual and interactive tool for children to use. You may want to get a plastic jar to make the recipe, then shake it up and offer it to your child to focus their attention on the glitter as it slowly makes it way to settle on the bottom of the jar. I find it's both soothing and calming to my mood too!
What you need and how to do it
The start of the year is a wonderful time to reflect on last year and set clear intentions for the coming year. One intention I always finish my classes with is to wish all beings on our planet - Peace.
I teach my students that peace begins on the inside, and that when we find that feeling we can share it with everyone around us.
When you visit temples in different cultures you can often see colourful flags attached to different parts of the structure that are infused with prayers that are being gently blown out into the world by the wind – with the intention of creating a ripple of peace.
I love the decorative nature of these flags and thought it would be lovely to let children create their own unique version of these too with simple materials.
In the process of creation we are accessing that part of ourselves that inspires a sense of peace and calm at the same time – how perfect!
What you need and how to do it:
When things get a little hectic in the holiday season – why not practice one of our favourite calming and balancing poses the ‘tree pose’.
All children love this pose and what is great is if you can get them to see if they can count how long they can hold it for – the longer they can balance the calmer they will be.
Make sure they focus on something that isn’t moving to help them balance.
To finish take a short ‘Santa relaxation ‘– making sure that he will have lots of energy to be able to deliver all the wonderful treats that he has for children everywhere.
After Santa relaxation a wonderful extension of this calm space is to imagine how they would look if they were a Christmas tree and how they might decorate themselves.
After drawing themselves in the tree pose they can begin to create themselves sparkling with lots of fabulous decorations.
Simple creative tools – Paper, pencils, colour pencils or textas and maybe some glitter pens or gold and silver.
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At Creative Yogis we feel that creative self expression is paramount to our inner health and well being and offers a chance to be with ourselves in a quiet internal space. An activity that we have just facilitated on our Teacher Training is something that has proven to be popular with both children and trainees again and again.
‘Henna Hands’ are part of the Indian culture and are an expression of beauty and self adornment for women. This can be done on the hands and the feet and is comprised of delicate intricate shapes and patterns drawn directly onto the skin. This can be adapted into a fun and easy activity for everyone. For my beautiful boy students I guide them to imagine that if they were a superhero and had a design on their hand, what might it look like?
What you will need
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As you may know by now we love to combine both creativity and Yoga. We are passionate about cultivating a place of quiet reflection to be with ourselves. To take a moment out from the busyness that can be life. We continually witness the impact of practicing deep relaxation in our students and how this transfers so peacefully into creative expression to become mindfulness in action.
It has always been a dream of ours to create a series of accessible educational resources that would be available as a tool for parents and educators, to share with either their children or students. This began with our Creative Yogis colouring book that was created 3 years ago.
We have spent many years offering Mandala colouring pages to our students which have always been met with great enthusiasm. 'Mandalas' are a repetitive design within a circle or forming a circle and have been used by many cultures as a tool for meditation, therapy and as a way to simply unwind and de-stress.
Two years ago we had an idea to combine the shape of Yoga poses in each design so you could relax and enjoy your creative expression and when you felt like a break jump up and do the pose!
It is so very exciting as we have finally brought that idea to fruition and would like to introduce our latest offering ‘Yogadalas’ - 13 unique designs that each centre around a particular pose and combine to create a Yoga sequence just for you. We hope you enjoy colouring them as much as we did creating them for you and are keen to see your response!
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We believe that Art itself is a form of mindfulness in action.
Whether it be drawing, painting, or even collage, engaging in art transports us to a place of quiet reflection, personal expression and allows us to be present in the moment to what is happening.
We had fun last term in our YogArt classes making our 3D Mandala mobiles. It is a simple fun activity that you may like to connect and share with your own child or offer to your students.
Paper plates / glue/ scissors / magazines or coloured paper / string / hole punch.
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Karen Wightman is the founder of Creative Yogis. She is an experienced, local and international children’s yoga instructor, yoga teacher trainer, and children’s art teacher.
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