Today we were joined by local writer and yoga teacher Grace Tazewell for some practice in meditating. First we discussed the story, "The Miracle of Purun Bhagat," and I introduced the Himalaya and Sunnyasi fast facts. Then Grace took us through several different short meditations. The first was a listening meditation, where we made ourselves very quiet and then paid attention to all sounds, far and near. Mostly, we heard the sounds of the co-op, but we also heard cars outside, seagulls, an airplane, and a little bit of our own sounds -- heartbeat, tummy rumbling, etc. The second meditation was about sensations we were feeling -- we paid attention to our clothes, to the floor under us, to our hair, the air in the room, anything we could feel with our bodies. Then it was time to examine our thoughts, as we tried to focus on what we were feeling and thinking inside.
It was very interesting to listen as the children shared their experiences with this. The older children in the academic class spent a lot of time considering what they were supposed to be thinking, while the younger kids in the enrichment class were less self-aware. All of them came up with some really interesting thoughts though! The final meditation involved holding a grape in your mouth and then eating it very very very slowly, paying attention to each sensation, change in taste and feeling in your mouth. That was very cool! Grace spent some time answering the kids' questions about meditation too. In the end, we got a very small taste of what it was like for Purun Bhagat to spend so many years in quiet contemplation, doing nothing but thinking.
Song and Dance: We also sang our songs and managed to squeeze in a brief India Dance Party.
New Stuff: This week I'm going to tell the kids that any child who wants to choreograph a brief Bhangra dance either individually or with a group of friends can have time on the last day of class to perform it for the parents. We are also going to be taking on a collective "pen pal" in India, and this week we'll be writing an introductory letter to him.
Assignment: Study the fast facts and be ready for a quiz! Read "Mowgli's Brothers."