Loving is something we all strive to do more deeply and with less conditions. With our set precedance of Namaste yoga becomes the perfect setting for children to explore their love for self, and ultimately others.
Over the past week I have integrated self-love activities into the yoga classes I teach for children. I exercised my curiosity to observe how well they could express what they loved about themselves. I learned quite a bit in just one afternoon.
I asked the children what they loved about themselves. They did not understand the script. I received answers including; “I love my mommy”, “I love my dog”, “I love to ride my bike” and touchingly “I love you”. After confirming I loved them too I prepared automatic closure sentences. These are used by speech therapists to provide an easier and more automatic avenue in which to elicit language. I started with “I love my_______” and then added nose to the mix. I then said “I love my toes”. Stretching it a bit further, I said “I love the way I do yoga poses”.
Slowly the children began to explore what they loved about themselves, but it was clear these had not been rehearsed. Mia told me “I love my feet” and Jenna expressed “I love my hands”. We explored other words to tap into the appreciation including, what do you appreciate about yourself, admire, respect, etc. We discussed that kissing our knee when we brought knee to chest was an expression of loving our knee and how it bends and supports us. I further explained that yoga hug is an opportunity to feel self-love as we open and close the heart chakra.
We used the song and yoga hug sequence outlined in the CD Songs to Grow on. We also held a rose quartz heart when expressing self-love. Listening quietly, we provided support for each child as they took their turn.
I plan to explore this area further by integrating and discussing self-love mantras in our classes. Perhaps mantras do matter, for self-love is expressed through the words and chanted as a vibration through the body?