With our magic wings we fly to an old farmhouse. We smell freshly cut grass…going over the barn; we smell the fragrance of dry hay. We are a little tired and make ourselves a nest in the hay. We see the dust dance in the sun rays…A cat comes and sits down next to us, and then crawls up in our arms and we keep it against our chest. The cat is comfortable and starts to purr…We feel the cat, we feel it breathing, it warms us…We ask the cat what it likes best in the world…and then we tell the cat what we like best in the world. And then we just lie there and enjoy being together.
Sharing: Tell us what the cat likes best in the world, and if you want to you can also tell us what you like best…
In all these sharing, always give the option to remain silent, not to reveal the conversations because they are often very deep. If you allow the children to be silent, they can go deeper, whereas, if they know they should share, they might block out things that are important to themselves.
A great idea is to match up a story, visualization, song and a pose. For example, when teaching the eagle pose, the visualization might be about an eagle who sits on top of a mountain which had always been a sacred space and with the eagle we look around, from mountain top to mountain top. Watch the colors…the farther away the mountains, the softer blue the color…We look around into this immense landscape and the eagle will sing you a song.
I circle around
I circle around
The boundaries of the Earth
I circle around
I circle around
The boundless universe
Wearing my long tail feathers as I fly
Higher, higher and higher
Farther, farther and farther
If you have a deep wish, then tell it to the eagle. If you want to pray for someone, tell it to the eagle. The eagle is the animal that flies the highest in the air. And he will bring your prayer to God…
Breathe in the mountain air, deeply, deeply…
Today we will go to a little pond to meet with the frogs. What does the pond look like? Leaves, flowers, in the water…around. Watch. What is the sky like today? Are there any clouds? Is it raining? Are there drops on the leaves? A frog sits on a leaf and watches us. Let’s become the frog and look at ourselves. What does the frog see? Are you happy today? Do you have something particular to look forward to? Tell the frog about your life…
Sharing: This is one of the sharings when you want to be particularly careful to give feedback about remaining silent…
For small children: You could take them on a ride with dolphins, asking them to transform themselves in a baby dolphin who swims with one of his parents in the ocean, or with friends, or with a grandpa/grandma…You can visit the King of the Ocean, he invites you to dinner, then you dance with the princess and princesses…in the end you are really tired and you want to rest in a huge shell and the waves are rocking you to sleep. All of a sudden you realize that during the whole feast no-one has spoken. There was total silence and how you can actually feel and experience it.
OM…The dolphin is pulling your arm, he wants you to come with him…and you swim back and up and up and back and up…Till you land on the earth again…you breathe the air…take some deep breath, bring your hand to your belly and feel, how the belly moves up and down. When you inhale, all the air makes your belly move upward and when you exhale the belly slowly sinks down…feel that the sides of your body become wider as you inhale deeply and then when you exhale they shrink into the body; even the chest expands towards the neck and when you exhale, also the chest shrinks back…Breathing in deeply you fill your body with air, it expands like a balloon, and breathing out, it goes back to its original form.
(This goes very well with Gomukaasana.) Today we will go high up into the mountains, on a wonderful pasture. The mountain tops are still covered with snow. There are cows on the meadows, grazing…we can hear their bells, dong, dong, dong…We are lying on the grass, smell the herbs, the flowers, listen to the ding, dong…Above us clear sky, not the smallest cloud….the sun warms us…we are so relaxed and peaceful, all the flowers relax with us, the Earth underneath is totally relaxed, the sky above is totally relaxed, also the meadow is relaxed, all the herbs…also the cows are relaxed. We are in a wonderful space, a safe space. With eyes closed we hear sometimes and insect flying by…And sometimes a cow speaks up….Mooo, moo…we stay happily resting on this pasture…Silence…
When you have not built up to a question during Yoga Nidra and you get a feeling they still want to share you can ask: How do you feel now?
Using the 4 Elements for Yoga Nidra
You can consider integrating a CD with water, air, fire, and earth sounds. If you have a little tape recorder, you can go and do your own recordings of nature sounds…Have the children listen to the sound of water, air, earth and fire. Tell them to look around where they are. Watch what is happening. These sounds create a landscape. Ask them to tell you afterwards what the place they saw was like…
Where were we? At the beach listening to the sounds of the sea?
By the waterfall?
Close to a little creek or a big river?
Was it raining?
Drink the water…
This section is an awareness training of seeing better, listening better, smelling, touching, tasting…
CD’s with earth sounds often take you to a place where you hear water sounds as well as air sounds as well as animals. As they listen to the sounds, ask them to look around and to see where they are and what they observe around them. Most always they come back with vivid descriptions and we are amazed how the mind can come up with these images.
A Voyage to Mother Earth
We are going deep down into the Earth…we are climbing stairs downward, then cross a river, go through a tunnel and finally we are in a huge room full of all the treasures of the earth, minerals, beautiful stones, crystals…wherever you look, it shimmers and shines in all colors. The Earth Mother greets you and tells you that she is happy you come to visit her. She tells you to look around and she allows you to just take one of her stones whichever you like best. The others you may watch and touch but not take. You are looking around, touching, feeling. And finally, there is one stone that seems to say: Take me! Take me! You take it and give thanks to Mother Earth. Mother Earth says that she wants you to do her a favor. She also needs a gift from you. Pay close attention. She will ask you something which a child can do…And you actually might really want to do what she asks of you. Afterwards we will talk about it. For now you say goodbye and we go all the way back through the tunnel, crossing the river, up the stairs, till we get back on our mats…
We are at a beach and we look up into the night sky. The moon is up there. It creates a silvery path on the ocean. Looking up we find out, whether it is just a tiny bit of moon, a half moon or a full moon. Look at the stars. We too live on a star. The Earth is a star and therefore we are star children. Think that you are glued to the Earth by the force of gravity.
The CD’s bring the sound of soft breeze and also of a strong wind blowing. That again is a possibility to go to their safe place first, where nothing can hurt them and then they may listen without fear to event the strongest wind because this wind cannot damage them. It tries to frighten them but they know that they are safe.
Magic voyage to a Grandmother on top of a mountain. She lives in a little house, surrounded by animals. One of the animals wants to be your friend. You talk together. Maybe the animal shows you something special. At the end you are giving a gift to the animal.
Sharing: Who was your friend? Where did he take you? What did you give to him?
Extending Yoga Nidra
Every once in a while you can put in more of an adult Yoga Nidra. Like choosing a magic vehicle, go to a safe, beautiful place, rest there; observe and when you come back tell the others where you where. You have a little time for this trip where you can travel in silence without being disturbed by further words.
Afterwards you have to leave more time for sharing because they will go on extended trips.
~Reprinted from the © Integral Yoga Childrens Teacher Training Manual