Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - La Musica de los Ninos

Today I had the opportunity to visit a day care center in the morning. Maria, one of the other volunteers, needed some extra help with the kids and I raised my hand to go along. The children at the day care are between 8 months and 5 years old, and volunteers spend time playing with them and organizing activities. We made masks from construction paper and popsicle sticks, and played on the slides and swings. Monica, one of the other volunteers, and I spent some time cleaning out a very dirty refrigerator that had been donated to the center. It was full of mildew and mold. Dirty work, though so necessary for the children, and so we were glad to do it.

Later on I had the chance to do yoga with the kids. Teaching yoga to kids is a very different experience that teaching yoga to adults. It’s also very challenging because I have never done a class in Spanish. Thank goodness that Maria, who is originally from Spain, was there to translate! With kids, I find it’s easiest to have flashcards with pictures of animals and things that correspond to different asanas. Frog pose, airplane pose, monkey pose, etc. While adult classes many times focus on silence and on holding a pose for an extended period of time, classes for kids often involve laughing and moving about and making the noise of the very thing the asana is named after. There wasn’t really enough room for the class – the daycare center is a over-crowded – and we had a great time laughing and tumbling over one another anyway. It was the happiest I have been in a very long time.

What immediately struck me at the start of the class is that the sound of children playing is universal, regardless of the language they speak or the country where they live. The sound of laughter and joy is the same the world over. Again, I was reminded today of how much we are able to give to others with such a small amount of effort and time, and how much we receive in return. When we give, our own abundance grows.

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