budapest bagMeet Kriszta from Hungary, who I met last summer when I taught Radiant Child Yoga in Budapest.  We had a heart-centered, fun-loving group who are now spreading children’s yoga all around Amsterdam, Kazakhstan, Norway, Italy, Poland, as well as Hungary.

Kriszta is a founder of a wonderful non-profit that empowers incarcerated people with art and movement, called Mural Moral Field.  I recently met her in my home area of Northern VA, as happy circumstances would have it.  She was the sole Hungarian chosen by the Embassy as a delegate to participate in an international training for 22 world-wide NGOs, and Washington DC was her first stop on the training tour.  Here we are together at dinner, along with my son, Ram Das.

Image 1You get a feel for her contagious happiness in this note to the rest of the RCY Budapest training group:

Dear Radiant-sisters and brothers,

I would like to share with all of you a very nice experience what I lived last weekend. We gathered for 3 day group building with my collegues and friends at my family’s house in Szekszárd, and among of the artistic activities I offered them to do yoga in the mornings. They were happy about the idea and we did two mornings one and a half hour yoga training. 

kriszta treeIt was first time for me leading yoga for anyone, and I was really excited before doing it -how I can work as leader.  It worked fantastic, and my friends were very grateful for it. For me the most beautiful thing was that my mother also joined in and lots of times I could see her laughing and enjoying the exercises so much -these expressions I saw long time ago on her face.

My first yoga class with children and their parents

(comments in caps by Shakta) 

Sitting in circle on a carpet in the middle of the room: after introducing myself I was speaking first about kundalini yoga, Children’s yoga, the mission of Shakta, then about the most important approach of children and the main principles of dealing with them. These information were quite new for all of the parents, they were really interested in them, mainly what I said about the children in general.

I invited them for a nice journey –starting with Ong namo, guru dev namo –I translated the meaning of it. Then we took a big ballon breath and in our imagination we left the ground and we flow in the sky and slowly arrived in a desert.  It was interesting to see how enthusiastic  the parents were –and how helpful was their active presence at involving the children. GREAT TO HEAR!

partnersWe tried travelling on a camel, -chest going forwards and backwards, then we washed our clothes –washing mashine excercise –turning to the left and the right with holding hands on the shoulders. After washing we dried the clothes, and suddenly we saw a beautiful butterfly.

The story touched the children a lot, but unfortunately they were more wondering and looking at the movements –doing short parts of them.  THIS IS NATURAL AT FIRST WITH YOUNG ONES.

We sang the Butterfly-song –putting soles together, and moving knees up and down.
All the parents sang with and some of the children were doing the movement with. It was –I think- the first magic moment, joining together singing and moving.  THE SINGING GETS THROUGH EVERY TIME!
Then came a nice, colourful bird which called us to new adventures. We followed the bird with lifting arms straight up to our head and back to the floor.
It was the favorit excercise of one 3 years old boy, who was very happy while doing it –he didn’t want to stop it. He also tried to look at his feet backwards.
Mountain-climbing, at the top finding a huge, old tree.
In this part of the story most of the children “arrived” to the yoga, and they were doing with us everything:

  • Tree
  • Mushroom
  • Balloon breath

Excercises in pairs:
These were the jolly joker excercises. They loved them so much! There were child-parent and parent-parent pairs. They were so focused on each other , and than they were laughing –they were really free and happy at these moments.IMG_1829

  • Rowing the boat
  • Stone
  • Blowing small feather, balancing with big pea-feather

IMG_1820There were a 4 years old girl and a 5 years old boy –brothers-, they  discovered very fast the magic balance of their body and the pea-feather. They were crazy for balancing. They also walked around the carpet and didn’t want to stop it for long time. I felt so happy when I saw it.  WHEN YOU SEE SOMETHING THAT REALLY CAPTURES THE CHILDREN, MAKE SURE TO BRING IT BACK THE NEXT TIME.  AT THIS AGE YOU CAN DO A LOT THE SAME EACH WEEK WITH JUST A LITTLE VARIETY.

Relaxing on backs, being cooking spaghetti:
All of the parents were doing it and 3 children. I saw that the parents were so deep in the relaxation. It felt that it was a very long time since they could give themselves last time this kind of attention. I made the spagetti test on each one’s arm, and slowly they rolled up. There was a nice moment when a mother did the test for her daughter and than the daughter asked her mother to be spaghetti again, and she did the test on the mother as well. These were the most beautiful moments, which I truly thought that was the aim of the class.  I AGREE, THESE ARE THE SPECIAL MOMENTS AND EVERYONE CAN FEEL IT.   IT ALSO GIVES THEM A GOOD EXPERIENCE OF WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE TENSE AND THEN WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE RELAXED. THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF SELF-REGULATION.

Meditation with applesimages-1
I brought a bowl of fresh apples from the garden, everyboda took one, we looked at the apple first, than everybody closed their  eyes and I started the story about the life of the apple. Almost everyone could listen the story till the end –except of the children under 3-who started to take the apple in their mouth.:)  NATURALLY!

Standing in circle –singing ”The long time sun”-song in Hungarian

Conclusion:  I suppose if the children would have been alone, they would have been more active. In this case the parents became the main participants and the children were acting sometimes as audience of their parents. I think the group was “too” colourful in the sense of ages, and it was difficult to involve everybody at the same time –the parent with 1 year old child, the 2 years old and the 5 years old children.

But in spite of every difficulties I think the class had a very nice flow, I had to be very flexible and react to the present moments. In the big picture, everybody took part in some of the activities and the closing circle was very beautiful.  It showed how each of us were part of the circle, holding hands, then singing the Long Time Sun song in Hungarian. SOUNDS BALANCED EVEN WITH THE DIFFERENT AGES.  GOOD THAT YOU CAN RECOGNIZE THAT IT IS IMPORTANT TO LET IT FLOW AND NOT WORRY IF IT IS A BIT  “LOOSE”.  WHAT PEOPLE WILL REMEMBER IS HOW THE YOGA MADE THEM FEEL.
I enjoyed the class very much –my fears of the new situation disappeared very fast when we started the exercises. At the end I felt strongly about what I want to give people:  the possibility to discover their body and their inner world more through doing yoga.
IMG_1869Since that time I also tried some excercises with gypsy youngsters –they loved the relaxation the most. That experience also empowered me in my mission with yoga and community arts.:)  KEEP ME POSTED ON WHAT YOU ARE DOING.  LOVE TO HEAR MORE KRISZTA!  YOU ARE DOING A BEAUTIFUL JOB.