2016 kicked off with the first ever Amrita Yoga Kids retreat, three consecutive retreats for different age groups, this one for ages 4-7, on January 1st, the first class for the littlest ones.
The Kids Amrita Yoga Retreats
Brahmacharini Shobha, who oversees the Amrita Yoga programs internationally, has taught many such classes here in Amritapuri, and at Amrita Vidyalayam and other schools throughout India.
It was a happy group: ashram residents and visiting devotees. The parents were invited to observe the class and be on hand in case their children needed them. They were eight little girls, ages 5-7. As well, there was one little 4-year-old boy, Gabriel, and a little 3-year-old girl, Lalita.
The retreat began with the children in imaginary play as the various animals of some of the asanas. Shobha made use of the wonderful Amrita Yoga Kids deck, drawing on its illustrations and photos of children doing the poses. The deck is available to parents if they wish to keep their children interested in the yoga poses. The children appreciated 11-year-old Tapasya, a girl with much experience of asana with Shobha, assisting this retreat.
At the end, the children sat in a circle. Shobha 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 loved the animals, even the scary ones like Cobra, Lalita’s favorite! Alicia did the Dog and Cat poses; Gayatri made Monkey faces and imagined having a tail; Gabriel curled up into a Ball; Linaisha did the Windmill; and Devi marched around like a herd of Elephants.
It was amusing to watch them playing little Mice quietly hiding from the Big Lion! Then they all played the Lion, crawling around fiercely, and roaring with their tongues out! There were also the Rabbits, hopping around with floppy ears. But they were hungry rabbits! They prayed, “Please give us food!” They had to pull carrots from the ground so they could eat!
In conclusion, they all participated in a lovely Puja, offering flowers of thanks to Amma, and prostrating in the Mouse pose. Shobha happily told them they are all Amma’s babies!
The parents also expressed their gratitude, and wanted more such activities for their children. Renata, a yoga teacher from Brazil, quietly enjoyed the class while doing her asanas at the back.
By Amma’s grace, this retreat will happen again.