Make Way for Meditative Ducklings
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.
Like a school of minnows, suddenly disturbed in a quiet little pond, the room was instantly filled with a crazy kind energy as my young yogis started wandering randomly around the room into the corners, up near the piano, over by the door; each in her own quiet space. As I attempted to regain some sort of order and move us into the actual meditation I asked them to, "Now, breathe in and lift up your heal, then your toe pad, and finally your toes.....breathe out and place down your heal, toe pad, toes...."
As my students tried to coordinate their breath and body, I thought about the first time I tried to synchronize my breath with my walking. Sounds so easy to do. Yet as I struggled to breath and walk in a slow and contemplative way it was everything I could to not flop on the floor burst into a fit of laughter. As I fumbled along my masterful yoga teacher led the way, breathing and walking with perfect synchrony.
Kids seem to learn so much quicker and with much less judgment. In short time, each of my little yogis began a walking meditation as feet and breath moved in tandem. After some time, I sensed the space between us had changed. Turning around I found that all my students had cued up right behind me. Mere inches now separated me from them and them from each other. It was the sweetest moment. It was as if we were all breathing, walking, and meditating in our own space and yet so close together.
We continued on, "Breath in, heal, toe pad, toe...breath out, heal, toe pad, toe," for the next couple of minutes and all I could think about was that famous sculpture in Boston Public Garden where the mother duck leads her ducklings, all lined up behind her, around the park. "Make way for meditative ducklings," I smiled to myself as we continued our walking meditation around the room. Make way, indeed.