This Amrita Yoga kid’s retreat also began on New Year’s Day for a small, mixed group of seven youngsters aged 8-12. It included Shyam from Australia, and ashram residents. Most had some experience with yogasana and meditation. Brahmacharini Shobha had taught some of them before, but this was their first full retreat.
It was an interesting group of five boys and two girls. The retreat was structured with four asana classes over two days, including juggling, taught by Simon, a devotee from Canada.
At first, some of the boys seemed a little unsure about the retreat. Shobha began with ‘the fun version’ of Surya Namaskarah that she spontaneously received through Amma’s grace, and has taught since over the years since at different schools in India.
The children immediately responded to the sequence, repeating all the commands after Shobha:
“Open Your Heart!”
“Jai Sri Ram!”
“JAI SRI RAM!” they repeated with heartfelt devotion!
After the first introduction of Surya Namaskarah, the class wanted to do it again. By the last session, they had memorized it. They could, if needed, actually lead the sequence!
As part of the retreat, the children also had fun juggling. Ten-year-old Ramanand was juggling four balls by the end of the class! Tapasya and Amritavarshini, the only two girls, spent that time gracefully attempting some of the more challenging asanas.
Before we knew it, the retreat was over. Several of the children didn’t want it to end. Siddharth commented, “Actually, I’m disappointed it’s over.”
When asked what they liked about the retreat, Amarnath said he liked everything! Tapasya enjoyed doing Eka Hasta Bhujasana. Pranav said that was too difficult for him, but he enjoyed the other asanas. Ramanand was the only one who didn’t enjoy the fun version of Surya Namaskar, as he found it too silly and preferred the real version.
Siddharth loved Savasana and Ananthasana. “I liked that one, imagining how Lord Vishnu sleeps,” he said. He would be happy to do any number of retreats like that!
The children finished with a heartfelt prayer of gratitude to Amma, but they still didn’t want to leave. Shobha finally had to tell them to run, which they did! There was no doubt that this retreat had been a success!