We made it to our last Niyama this week and closed out our first session of Yoga Buds for 2017. This Sunday, we tackled ishvara pranidhana, which can be loosely translated to mean ‘surrender to God.’ The idea of a higher being can be hard for children to separate from religion, so I explained it as ‘surrendering control and believing the universe has a plan for us.’ We warmed up with some sun salutations to ‘Dance for the Sun’ by Kira Willey and then moved on to our ‘surrender’ themed yoga poses.
I started off the sequence by reading a quote by Anais Nin… ‘and the day came when the risk to remain in a tight bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.‘ I told the kids the idea of surrendering can stir up fear, but can lead us to rewards we would have never imagined. I led them through three different sequences in which we imagined we were a seed that bloomed into a bright flower, an acorn that grew into a tall oak, and a baby caterpillar that became a beautiful butterfly. Just like the seed, the acorn, and the caterpillar… we need to trust that the universe has a plan for us even when we can’t see it yet. Then, we practiced surrender through some art work.
I asked each of the kids to draw a flower, tree, or butterfly using as much color and detail as they wanted. Then, I gave them each a new piece of blank paper, had them choose one color, and blindfolded them. They repeated the exercise, but had to trust their instincts to guide their art work and surrender a little control. After the kids had finished, they got some giggles out of comparing their masterpieces. Usually after creativity time, I like to move on to games or some fun group poses, but everyone kept asking for savasana this week …so I had to surrender some control and switch things up a bit.
Even though we still had fifteen minutes in the class, we settled into savasana. I knew I couldn’t unleash them from the yoga studio just yet, so I came up with a quick solution. After savasana, I turned on some ‘ocean sounds’ and had the kids surrender to the music. Everyone danced and twirled around the room in whatever ways they felt the music move their bodies. We then came in to a circle and held hands to create a silent wave moving around the circle. Finally, we wrapped up class with the ‘Namaste Song’ by Kira Willey.
Sometimes I feel as if I get so tangled up in talking through the motions of a class and alignment in postures that I leave out the best parts- the reason we all come to yoga… to move past the surface. While weaving the Niyamas into an adult class can seem like a daunting task, I found them particularly difficult to translate into kid-friendly terms; however, the reception was well worth the effort. Hopefully, I can keep this train rolling and provide some more fun, philosophical, and kid- friendly yoga practices for all of you in the future.