When I talk about light with children, the discussions often revolve around the sun. When we think of the kind of lights that surround us, it makes sense that we’d think of our most tangible natural light source and the primary source of all energy on our planet.
Mindfulness and restorative yoga for preschoolers and students help provide an engaging environment where we can discuss the observations of light, color and energy in the classroom. In this article we’ll discuss how to explore energy and inner light with children, and provide guided rainbow energy relaxation at the end of an energetic class or activity.
Light Unit: Exploring Energy and Our Inner Light with Children
How do we shine our inner light? We all use energy every day — both the energy in our environment and the energy inside of us. When we think about shining our light, we might think about ways we can use our energy in the service of ourselves, others and our planet. Read more about how we grown-ups can help kids shine their inner light.
Children are like little suns and if light is energy, kids are FULL of it!
Sometimes it feels like they just run around wild, bouncing off the walls until they pass out (this also depends on how much sugar energy they may be consuming but that is a whole other blog post!)
We wonder where in the world all of that energy comes from as we drink our coffee and just try to keep up!
With young children, meltdowns happen when their energy gets out of control or overwhelming - which is often. Sometimes what adults might view as disruptive or “bad" behavior is simply a kid unsure and perhaps a little scared about the big energy waves of emotion crashing down on them.
How can we help kids understand and use their energy in positive ways?
First, we can start by simply building awareness. When we tune in and connect to our own energy, we can use it to support us. This is a life skill that most adults are still working on so, no…you don’t have to be perfect at this to share it with children. Sometimes teaching is also how we learn things for ourselves.
Feeling disconnected and drained? Start practicing energy awareness for yourself with our simple, kid-friendly Chakra Energy Meditation.
All the energy on Earth comes from the sun - and sunlight is actually made up of seven different colors, also known as the visible light spectrum. Shine that light energy into droplets of water in the air and we get…A RAINBOW!
Many traditional practices correspond the colors of the rainbow to various energy centers (sometimes called chakras or meridians) in our bodies, starting at the base of the spine and moving upward.
In the Classroom: Guided Rainbow Energy Relaxation
Even the most energetic children can learn to settle quickly into calm when we allow lots of opportunities to practice. At the end of every Yo Re Mi class, students have at least five minutes of guided relaxation.
In the beginning, incorporating a visualization of something familiar, like a rainbow, can give children a point of focus to help reduce distractions and also create safety and comfort as they try something new.
How to practice rainbow energy relaxation:
Begin by lying on your back. Legs long and relaxed on the floor as your feet fall apart. Rest your arms by your sides, palms facing up. Close your eyes.
Note: If there isn’t space in your class for yoga mats, have children sit with hands stacked on their desk palms down, elbows wide and forehead resting on their hands.
Start with awareness. Notice your breathing as air travels in and out through your nose. Can you hear yourself breathing? Can you feel yourself breathing? Notice other feelings in your body, maybe you feel heavy, light, calm, excited, happy, sad… Keep noticing as much as you can about your body and your feelings.
Connect to your energy. Find a place in your body where you feel like you have lots of energy. Imagine that part of your body is full of light like the sun. Every time you breathe in, that light gets big and bright. Every time you breathe out that light is calm and steady. Maybe your light is a color, like one of the colors of the rainbow. Choose what color your light is today.
Channel and focus. If your light is red today, think to yourself “I am strong.” If your light is orange, think to yourself “I am creative.” If your light is yellow, think to yourself “I am powerful.” If your light is green, think to yourself “I am love.” If your light is blue, think to yourself “I express myself.” If your light is purple, think to yourself “I am wise.” Take a deep breath in as your light gets even brighter, deep breath out, calm and steady.
During or afterward, you may invite the children to share what color their energy is today and how they feel. Try singing along to our Rainbow Song together.
Not all young children are able to express themselves verbally. You may want to incorporate creative movement or visual arts by giving an opportunity for children to dance their color or draw a self portrait showing the color of the energy in their body.
There are lots of fun ways to use yoga poses to make rainbows with our bodies! Try dolphin pose, bridge, crescent lunge, wheel or just invite the children to make one up together!
Take a moment right now… close your eyes… tune in and become aware of your feelings… connect to your energy…
What color is your light today? Now, let it shine!