If you haven’t noticed from previous posts, I love alliteration. I also love coloring and crafting (see what I did there). So to celebrate the month of March (although I guess May would have worked too), the kiddos and I practiced mindfulness and colored mandalas, which just so happen to be two of my favorite activities.
While there are many amazing mandala coloring books, I went the cheap/easy route by printing off free ones I found online. When the kids arrived, I had them laid out along with markers, colored pencils, and crayons (which also successfully kept the kids occupied while I got everyone signed in). Once we were ready to get started, the kids slid their mandalas under their mats to come back to at the end of class. Then, as always, we began with our ‘Welcome Song.’
After welcoming everyone into the space, I had them all close their eyes and listen to the noises around them. They heard everything: from the cars outside, to the heating unit, to each other’s breaths. Then, I had them place their hands on their own bellies to observe the movements of their own breath – to notice the expansion of their bellies on the inhale as well as the deflation on the exhale. I told them how this is a perfect way to practice mindfulness, since mindfulness is simply being aware and focusing. I pointed out how they practiced mindfulness before class even started by trying to stay inside the lines of their mandalas, and how mandala means ‘circle.’ After pointing out mandalas around the room – the clock, our eyeballs, the overhead fans, the prints on a yoga mat – we jumped into warmups.
Sun salutations became a ‘moving mandala.’ We flowed through three and then came to seated to create mandalas with our bodies. I placed a hula hoop in the center of our group circle and we practiced poses that would look like a human mandala from above. Then, of course, we had some fun with the hula hoop.
As our group game for the day, I had everyone come to standing and hold hands. I placed the hula hoop in the crook of my elbow and joined the circle. The aim of the game was to move the hula hoop around the circle and back without letting go of each other. After we finished, we came back down to our mats for final crafts.
Before we got back to our individual mandalas, we created one together. Everyone picked out a crayon and I started it by drawing a flower in the center of a piece of paper. Each student then added a pattern radiating from the center point until we filled the page. Afterwards, they had the option to finish coloring their own or create another with the supplies I had brought with me.
To finish, we laid down on our mats with our heads together to create one final mandala for savasana. As a perfect parting snack and special take home treat, I offered clementines to show once again how mandalas can be found everywhere, even in the foods we eat!