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Little Buddhas

By Joy Bryan Markley

Join me once a month, as I explore what it's like to teach a calm and joyful yoga class (well, usually!) to kids!

Make Way for Meditative Ducklings PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joy Bryan Markley   


ducks in a row

We had just finished a guided relaxation and my young yoga students lay still on their mats. I had recently learned walking meditation and decided that this would be the next thing they would learn. To begin, I asked them roll up their yoga mats and stand quietly in mountain pose (feet firmly grounded, arms hanging loosely by their side). Then I began to slowly walk around the room. With all eyes on me I quietly repeated, "Heal, toe pad, toes, heal, toe pads, heals" over and over as I made my way around the room, walking in a wide circle. "Watch, listen and follow me," I then directed my students.

Twenty Kids All Focused and Calm PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joy Bryan Markley   

dogmaWhat potential chaos would ensue, I thought, as I tossed and turned in bed imagining Kindergarten kids out of control on and off their yoga mats, fifth graders flailing around, laughing at the poses I modeled up front, refusing to follow my lead. As my nightmarish reverie continued on I felt the harsh glare of unhappy teachers as they whispered and wondered, "What in the world was this woman thinking?" And then as I lay in bed half-frozen in self-doubt, on the verge of looking up the PE teacher's phone number and calling him right then and there (around midnight) to cancel, something settled over me. And with the ease of a high-flying and carefree seagull soaring through the air on a sunny summer afternoon I thought, "I'll do it." "Move into the fear," I laughed at myself as I decided to just do it!

Peaceful Piggies, Moody Cows and Elephants with PTSD PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joy Bryan Markley   

peace_piggies_1"Fairy tales are loved by the child...because—despite all the angry, anxious thoughts in his mind to which the fairy tale gives body and specific context—these stories always result in a happy outcome." -B.Bettelheim (1976)

"Sometimes the world can be such a busy, noisy place," Peaceful Piggy Meditation, begins. I found this charming little book while co-facilitating a workshop on creativity and yoga at a local Buddhist Center. The center is actually two giant geodesic domes. In the bridge-way between the domes is a little "store" where I have purchased such magical things as my Tibetan chimes (well, my loving husband purchased these for me for my birthday) and this sweet little book that my yoga students seem to love.
Angels Wings PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joy Bryan Markley   

I asked one of my very first yoga students who had been in a Friday afternoon class with me for well over a year, what her favorite part of yoga was, "Meditation," was her quick answer. "Why is that?" I asked. "Because it helps me float away for the weekend."


Swinging like tall pine trees in a wild Noreaster, my six hyperactive yoga students began swaying their bodies back and forth in palm tree pose, "Try to move with your breath," I attempted to guide my eager young students, "and, slow down." Twenty minutes later each of these high energy students had settled into a quiet crocodile pose (bodies flat down on their mats) while I read a guided meditation about a wonderful imaginary world where they could ride a tall giraffe and search in the tree tops for a leafy snack or swim with giant humpback whales as they made their way in a wide, blue ocean. My young yoga students, all boys under the age of 8, had gone 100 miles an hour to zero. Only after moving their bodies in yoga pose after yoga pose while breathing slowly in and slowly out, had the stage been set for the peace of meditation.

 Meditation....whether I try candle gazing, mantra meditation, walking meditation or guided meditation, my young yoga students all seem to love how we end our yoga sessions.

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