This meditation is a favorite for many children. When you are really focusing in on the practice, it is an exciting way to feel the energy that makes up the entire natural world (including us!) right in our hands. This activity offers such a concrete way to know if your mind is wandering. As soon as you take your mind off of the meditation, you won’t be able to feel the energy in your hands!
1. Sit on your mat, with your body tall and relaxed. Take a few full breaths to settle your body and your mind, and then close your eyes.
2. Bring your hands together and begin to rub your palms vigorously. Continue to rub faster and faster until your hands feel warm, then slowly stop rubbing and keep your palms together.
3. Imagine that between your hands is a very tiny but very bright and strong ball of light and energy. As you take a full breath in, very, very slowly separate your hands and imagine that ball of light growing and expanding, filling your hands with energy. (If you are modeling this for your child, let your hands come to about the width of your body.)
4. When you are ready to breathe out, gently and slowly push your hands back together, squeezing that ball of light until it gets very small.
5. Continue expanding your energy ball as you breathe in and squeezing it together as you breathe out, keeping the rest of your body as still as you can.
6. Try practicing Expanding- Energy Meditation for about two minutes the first time you try it, and then a little bit longer each time after that.
Follow- up: When you finish this meditation, ask your child what she felt. Often she will be completely shocked at how strongly she could feel the energy in her hands. Common responses are that the hands felt warm, that it felt like there were magnets pulling them together, that they felt tingly, and that the ball got heavier and heavier.
Challenges: If your child (or you) is having trouble feeling the energy in her hands, don’t worry! When we aren’t used to feeling something it can take a little bit of time to find it. Every once in a while children say that they couldn’t feel anything during this practice; this is a typical response when they moved their hands too quickly or separated them too far during the exercise. It should take the entire length of your inhalation to bring your hands apart, and they should end up about body width. It should also take the entire length of your exhalation to push them back together. Some children need to practice for a little bit longer to start feeling the energy, so if your child agrees, try again for three or four minutes and see how it goes. Make sure that you aren’t pressuring your child to feel something that she doesn’t feel. Try to avoid making suggestions about what she might be feeling, or she may start to feel like she is doing something wrong.
Daily Practice: While Expanding- Energy Meditation will usually be practiced during a yoga session, if your child seems to connect with this practice you might suggest that she try it anytime she feels disconnected from the world around her.