There is a wonderful teacher named Wendy Palmer, who I had the pleasure of hearing speak at the MindLife summit last winter. Wendy has trained in meditation for over 40 years and she has trained in Aikido, a non-violent martial art in which she holds a 6th degree black belt. She now runs an organization called Leadership Embodiment which you can check out here.
At the conference, Wendy taught us a practice that moves the practitioner in the direction of the core elements of the practice in three simple steps. The three core elements are alertness, spaciousness and compassion, which a teacher of hers once translated as “noble,” awesome,” and “shiny.” (See her explain it here.) I shared this practice with a group of adults I was teaching last summer and several of them found it incredibly helpful; it’s easy to remember and can be done as part of a formal sitting or throughout the course of the day.
It works like this:
- Breathe in as you sit up tall, finding a sense of dignity and nobility, becoming attuned to your body and your surroundings.
- Breath out as you connect the feeling or image of something you love deeply
- Breathe in an expand the sense of yourself – your proprioceptive area – beyond the border of your body. (You can do this part a few times, getting “bigger” and “bigger”).
Today it occurred to me that this practice is a perfect one for kids, especially young ones, because it doesn’t require a great deal of attention stability. The last part – the part about the proprioceptive area can be taught as “imagine yourself as big as this room”… “Imagine yourself as big as the school” … etc.
Try it out! Let me know how it goes.