Three “C”s – Children Create Community
Yoga means “union,” to join together, to be in union with our selves and to be in community with others. Children naturally model community to us and are already tuned up to yoga. Have you noticed how children do yoga poses spontaneously in whatever activity they are engaged in? At the same time they are totally absorbed in an activity – present and peaceful. They have the natural innocence, wonder and ability to be in the moment with themselves, other children, family and friends. Children bring calmness, creativity and joy to every moment whether they are doing a yoga class, playing with friends or just quietly reading a book.
Children are like sponges and absorb whatever is happening in their environment. They naturally create a sense of community. For example, children love to share their accomplishments with others e.g. showing their artwork and then giving the picture to the teacher. Children have big hearts and are natural helpers too. They do not ask what is in it for me. They are still in touch with their stillness and with their own unique consciousness.
Children bring lightness and joy to the world and remind us to tap into our own inner child. They love to play games with friends and with adults and naturally want to connect with others. It is a beautiful exchange of energy. Have you noticed how light and fresh you feel after being with children? They tell us not to take life so seriously and to have fun. They teach us that life is a playground where we can experiment and use our capacities.
Young children (3 to 6 years of age) become more adventurous and start to feel comfortable with new people and places. They begin to cooperate with each other, and are able to work in groups. Children love to play games where they can cooperate or be competitive with themselves e.g. Grandma’s footsteps. (see below)
Being part of a community gives children the forum to express their creativity and tap into their own intuition that will give them a strong secure foundation in life. They are like a canvas absorbing all the paint colors, learning from all the influences they are exposes to i.e. from each other, parents, teachers and other significant people in their life. Children help build community. For example, they love to celebrate and help others with community events, special occasions etc. At community fairs they show their creativity by dressing up in costumes, doing face painting, joining in with dancing, yoga or whatever activity is being offered.
Children also need time alone too to be creative. This helps them to establish a better relationship with themselves and to be innocent and fresh. So observe your child in quiet time without making any demands on them or correcting them. Be in community with your child by honoring the silence.
Here is a group game called “Grandma’s Footsteps” that families love. Children & parents creep up on “grandma” who has her back to them as they do yoga poses. When grandma turns around, the parents & children who are inching their way forward, freeze in a yoga posture. Anyone that moves is “out” of the game. Grandma can also call out a posture as an alternative. Everyone needs to do this posture quickly. Yoga games develop self-awareness, coordination of both mind and body and place a specific challenge, which brings people together.