I have been focusing quite a bit on yoga lately, but that isn't to say that meditation hasn't been incorporated into the yoga lessons and classes. It just hasn't been the primary focus. That is about to change though next Fall though, so keep an eye out for more information about incorporating mindfulness into student and teacher days.
In the meantime, I wanted to share a small activity that has been a big hit with all of my yoga students from early childhood through upper elementary. At the beginning of my classes, I have brought my Tibetan chimes and we have done a Mindful Listening activity that can be found through resources such as Thicht Nhat Hahn's Plum Village and the Mindful Schools Program. Essentially the kids start by sitting still and breathing. I ask the kids to listen when I sound the chime and raise their hand only when they think the sound has completely left the room. For the little kids I initially have to be quite visual with my own waiting and listening as they raise their hands as soon as the chimes sound rather than waiting. But once they see how long I wait before raising my hand, they seem to get the idea. After a few turns, we try it with their eyes closed and it has blown me away each time how much longer they listen and attend to the chime before raising their hands. No matter what age, this activity calms the kids, keeps them centered, and increases their listening skills. After the activity, generally the kids are more relaxed and focused. This short, simple, and powerful activity will become an essential component of my future classes with all ages.