Ever in search of ideas to nurture inner quiet within myself as well as my children, I asked another gifted and much admired Applesong teacher, Perky Hubner, to share her approach to guiding children toward mindfulness through verse and body wisdom rather than instruction through the head.
Perky invites you to offer the following Enki verse to your children in concert with these movements:
On “scents so sweet” inhale deeply with a hand on heart, and on “blowing seeds far and wide” exhale slow and long with the hand gently pushing away from the heart.
April showers bring May flowers,
With colors bright and scents so sweet.
September chill brings October will,
With winds blowing seeds far and wide.
You can encourage children “take a heart breath” if they need some direction engaging and then refer to the out breath as “blow your wind and let it go”. I have lightly expressed that this heart breath will help you find your quiet, calm place inside. I believe that keeping this experience mostly in the body and connected to the heart through verse offers an entry point into mindfulness for young children that matches their developmental stage. By not explaining or discussing keeps this from becoming a contrived exercise and keeps it in the body and heart realm without over thinking. If you notice your child needing some cool down or space, you can try supporting him/her by sharing this verse and heart breath with them. You may also want to try ending quiet time with sharing this experience together…keeping it brief with around 5 heart breaths. With this practice woven in naturally, perhaps we will see the children integrate heart breath into their own emotional-social strategies. Parents modeling heart breath during the course of their interactions and the day is a great guiding tool for young children too.
Heart breath is also helpful to me when I face challenges with the children in the classroom and at home. I do this by actually visualizing and feeling my heart filling with my breath, and then sending out my light and love, or positive energy, toward the challenge or child on my exhale, again intentionally visualizing and feeling that. Taking the time to do this calms my heart rhythm which can actually transfer to the child’s heart and it slows down my reaction so that it can become a response. Intentional practice of course helps it become a natural behavior.
I am grateful to Perky for all she teaches the children and parents in our community. Thank you, Perky, for allowing me to share this with a broader audience as well. We hope it brings a little more serenity into all of your homes. And be sure to check back next week for our interview with Kaivalya Miller about nurturing your child’s soul and making space for Serenity.