The Spirit of Christmas - Giving and Receiving
For adults Christmas is defined by giving, but for children it is about receiving.
Let’s focus this year on expending our wishlist and focus also on giving back.
Generally, empathy is innate and we just need to give it a fertile ground to unfold. Here is a great opportunity to do just that in a yoga class!
This will be great as family yoga or for kids only. It can also be adapted to teaching online.
Both giving and receiving are ways to show love and appreciation.
For me, giving and receiving is like the breath of the universe. We inhale air with Oxygen and exhale air with more carbon-dioxide. The trees and grass and flowers in their own turn inhale this CO2 rich air and exhale for us more Oxygen. How beautiful is this? With each breath, we are connected to this bigger whole.
Photo by Elaine Casap on Unsplash
So we give and receive even when we are not aware of it. But how much more powerful can it be if we do it consciously?
And this is so important. Because unconsciously, whenever we get hurt we give less. But if we can stay consciously open and giving how would our world (inner and outer) be transformed?
What if we gave and received as if we never got hurt before?
Just some thoughts before we jump into this topic with the kids... for some of them giving and receiving is natural, or at least one or the other is, and others' need more practice. Well, practice makes perfect so let's get into it!
BRING: Something that looks like a gift, “Pass The Parcel” packages that you prepare beforehand (see below), little begs, crystals, fruit and other little items from nature
Discussion in Sole Mates
While sitting in a circle in Sole Mates (each participant giving their right foot for their neighbour on their right to be massaged. Switch sides half-way), each participant in their turn answers this question:
What do you like giving and what do you like receiving?
This is a great opportunity to learn more about each other.
The Present Of The Present and The Gift Of Breath
The past is gone, the future is not here yet, but the now is a gift and it is always here, that’s why it is called the present.
And the breath connects us to the present and to each other too.
We always inhale here and now, and always exhale right here and right now.
So sit tall and start breathing deeply.
Breath deeply and try to feel how with your breath you connect to your family, your friends, the animals, the trees and to the whole universe.
We constantly breathe each other’s air and we nourish each other in this way.
We and all the other animals inhale oxygen and exhale more carbon dioxide - the flowers, grass and trees breathe in carbon dioxide and in return exhale more oxygen.
We all support each other and we are all interconnected through our breath and through our every choice and every action.
After a minute or two...
Seated in a circle we pass a gift (wrap a box nicely with a ribbon) around. Inhale deeply when you receive the gift from the friend on your left, and exhale completely when you give the gift to the friend on your right. Pass the gift or gifts (if you can have a few with a bigger group) around the circle a few times.
Making sounds with a Christmas theme, pass sounds around the circle. Participants keep repeating the sound until the next sound comes around. In this way create together a soundscape of a Christmas gathering or a central town street in the midst of Christmas shopping or celebration.
Use: Rubbing your hands for rustling gift paper, tapping on the floor with fingers for gentle rain, laughter, birds singing, wind blowing etc.
Rainbow Wave Sun Dance
Continuing with the wave theme (now that we all know how to pass gifts, breaths and sounds around the circle), pass poses around and around the circle for a great warmup.
Yoga Present Chain - Pass a Gift
Standing in a line (make a few lines if you have a bigger group), pass the present (your beautifully wrapped box) down the line while in yoga poses. The first person in the line chooses the pose (silently) and passes it down the line with the present. After receiving the present and doing the pose, the last person in the line walk with the present to the front of the line and chooses the next pose to pass with the present.
Yoga Pass The Parcel
Before the class prepare a ”Pass The Parcel” package by wrapping a crystal or another gift at the centre with newspaper and then layering it with more and more layers of newspaper, but in between each layer put a yoga card (or a stick drawing or a photo of a yoga pose, or an animal picture).
Have everyone sit in a circle, play music and start passing the parcel around the circle from one student to the next. Each time the music stops, whoever has the parcel in their hands unwrapped a layer, finds a pose, and everyone together does the pose for at least 5 deep breaths before the music and the parcel passing starts again.
So much yoga and so much fun!
Partner within your family if it is a family yoga class, or find a partner with a similar eye colour to yours. Receivers lie down while givers massage. If you don’t know yet any fancy massage moves, you can simply do some head massage or feet massage or back and shoulders massage.
Switch roles after 3-5 minutes.
The Gift-Giving Challenge
Place gift items around the room, such as crystals, flowers beautiful leaves, chocolate...
Keeping the same partners as in massage, all participants have one minute to run around and find a "gift" for their partner and put it in a gift bag. When the timer goes off, partners return with their "gift" and the receiver of the gift has to take it out and say thank you and something complementary to the giver or about the gift.
If you have a few more minutes you can lead a discussion about how giving feels and how receiving feels.
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