Amrita Yoga started off 2016 with a very exciting new retreat for Amma’s littlest devotees: the first ever Amrita Yoga kid’s retreat! The retreat was structured into three consecutive retreats for three different age groups. On January first, the first two age groups began their retreats. The first group had the littlest ones, ages 4-7, and the retreat was taught in 3 sessions over two days.
The Kids Amrita Yoga Retreats
These kids retreats were taught by Brahmacharini Shobhana, who oversees the Amrita Yoga programs internationally. She has taught such kid’s classes here in Amritapuri and at Amrita Vidyalayam schools as well as other schools in India.
The first group was a very excited group of eight little children—some ashram resident children and some visiting devotees. The parents were also invited to sit and observe the class, and to be on hand in case the children needed them.
There were eight little girls, ages 5-7, one little four-year-old boy, Gabriel, and a little three-year-old, Lalita, who had decided they wanted to join their big sisters as well.
The retreat started off, and the children were immediately engaged in imaginary play involving various animals. This playing was a fun introduction to various asanas based on animals and fun objects. Shobhana also used the wonderful Amrita Yoga Kid’s deck, with its illustrations and photos of children doing the poses. The parents were able to purchase the deck as well, if they wished, in order to further keep them interested in yoga asana. They also had the assistance of 11-year-old Tapasya, a little girl resident with a lot of experience studying asana with Shobhana. The children liked her very much!
At the end of the retreat, the children sat in a circle. Shobhana asked them: “Did you like all the animals?”
“YES!” they shouted in unison.
“All the animals? Were some of them scary? Did they bite you?’
“NO! They were nice!” they all agreed.
All of them loved the animals, even the scary ones like Cobra; little Lalita’s favorite animal! Alicia liked the Dog and Cat, Gayatri liked playing monkeys with the face and tail. They also liked being objects; little Gabriel like curling into Ball and Linaisha was very quick to do the Windmill! Little Devi said she liked all the pretend games, like marching around as elephants.
It was so cute to watch them gather together as little mice quietly hiding from the Big Lion! Then they all became the Lion and were crawling around fiercely roaring with their tongues out! They also became Rabbit, hopping around with floppy ears but they were hungry. “Praying to God, please give us food!” Then the children ran to pretend getting carrots from the garden for the rabbits!
At the end, they all participated in a lovely Puja to offer flowers of gratitude to Amma all prostrating in Mouse pose. Teacher Brahmacharini Shobhana happily told them they are all Amma’s babies!
The parents expressed their gratitude for the retreat and their wishes for more activities for children visiting Amritapuri. Renata, a yoga teacher from Brazil, was very happy with the class and was also doing the asanas at the back of the class with enjoyment.
With Amma’s grace, this retreat will be repeated in the future.
Author: Rosario Kerekes