When you’re working with kids, you have to be creative. I often use the route of nature, asking them what their favorite animal is.
Kids at the Little Infant Jesus Home, and even kids I work with individually, here in India are quick to ask for a few animals, one of them being the elephant pose. Elephants are, after all, auspicious beings in this country. Many temples have a temple elephant that parades around town, and then lands up at the temple to “bless” everyone who comes by for “darshan” of the Gods.
(I visited one such temple in Pondicherry with a couple of Peace School buddies. I had been there 10 years before, and Lakshmi, the elephant, had grown from a youthful 5 years to about 15 years. Check out our pictures together!)
My mind raced…. Elephant pose? I’ve never done that before. I don’t even know what it is! EEEEKKK! What now?
I thought about it over the week, and came up with my own version. An elephant is a big animal, with a fairly flat back. One of the unique features of the elephant is its swaying trunk.
Peacebuilding requires creativity. So does yoga. You have to innovate new methods for every situation, for every student.
For Indian kids, you’ve GOT to make an elephant! Since no major school of yoga (Iyengar, Bikram, Anusara, Sivananda, Kundalini, etc.) promotes elephant pose prominently, I made one.
This is what I taught the kids:
Starting out on hands and knees (4 legs) in a table top position, I wanted to create one arm into a trunk. Simple! Drop the head below the heart, relaxing your body. Lift one arm, stretch it out, extending your back in all directions. Now allow your arm to sway from side to side, up and down, and bless your own body!