CREATIVE CONNECTIONS YOGA CAMP – DAY 1 – MANDALAS
Sharing this week-long yoga camp with 5 very thoughtful, creative, fun preteens was an amazing experience for all of us; making friends, learning about each other through yoga, related activities and crafts, and learning to breathe, to relax and focus. My intention for the week was to share the joy and calm I experience in yoga with my tween campers. The intentions I hoped for the campers this week, and shared with them:
- to connect with each other and share, with kindness, respect and joy
- to learn about themselves; their inner and outer strengths
- to acquire tools they can use to calm and focus when needed.
The connections began at the onset of day one with the passing of a rather large beach ball. Each person, including myself, chose a color on the ball and wrote our name anywhere on that color and in any way we wished. Then we began to get to know each other as we passed the ball and wrote our favorite color, favorite food, shared something about our family then shared something about ourselves. Each day we opened our camp this way. Everyone was proud of what they wrote, openly shared about themselves and their families, and cared that this ball represented our little community.
The most popular daily activity, especially for the girls, was journaling. They were given 5×7 journals to embellish however they wished, with many stickers with positive messages, and popular preteen stickers, emoji stickers, other colorful stickers, jewels, etc. They could draw or doodle. Each day I gave them a prompt question to write about, often related to the theme of the day.
Each day included a short meditation following the ringing of the singing bowl. After chanting “OM”, which became beautifully harmonized, we practiced a sun salutation. Then on to the creative part of our morning. On Day 1 we studied and created mandalas.
The word “mandala”, loosely translated from the ancient classical Indian language of Sanskrit, means circle. It represents wholeness; the center is tied to it’s outer rim and it’s outer rim is tied to it’s center. The rim and center don’t exist without each other. A mandala always has a center, points inside the rim and some kind of symmetry.
Mandalas were traditionally used by spiritual leaders for healing and meditation. Creating mandalas can be used to make an intention, a special wish or goal you need or want to achieve. Coloring mandalas is a mindful activity as it can help us feel more calm and focused.
We viewed pictures and discussed examples of mandalas found in nature, in art, in the human body, everywhere we are on earth.
The group connected, cooperated, and laughed as they created human mandalas.
The room became silent as they were challenged to create a large community mandala using any items they found in the studio. I had taped 3 yoga mats together then cut a large circle to use as the base of the mandala. I was in awe of the quiet negotiations and beautiful result.
The yogis chose to lie in savasana in their mandala.
Day 1 ended with coloring mandalas, journaling and excitedly chatting together.