The Yama of brahmacharya requires us to look at how we are utilizing our resources and evaluate if we are using our energy to reach our potential. This can be a hard concept to wrap our minds around as adults and for kids who seem to have boundless energy going in all sorts of directions it can appear impossible. However, tackling the seemingly impossible is kind of fun.
The beloved story Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae is a fun way to introduce the youngest yogis to the idea of brahmacharya. Gerald the Giraffe focuses all his energy on achieving his dream to dance, believing in himself even if the other animals had their doubts. The story can spark discussions with your child about what they dream of doing and if they are willing to focus the energy needed to accomplish their goal. Certainly a big idea but one that can be applied to learning how to ride a bike, memorizing math facts, or whether or not it is the time to get pet. On the mat you can practice with your child a pose that is challenging and show them the energy and focus required to ultimately achieve that pose, i.e. crow or a headstand.
Tween and teen yogis could practice meditation on the mat. Meditation and mindfulness can lead you to a better understanding of yourself, your goals, and also the importance of “recharging” and replenishing your energy. A good resource for you may be the book Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children by Thich Nhat Hanh. I’ve used some of the books written by this Buddhist Monk/Nobel Peace Prize nominee in my kids’ classes and have found them very helpful. You may even want to meditate with your young yogi!
Off the mat brahmacharya may take the form of encouraging your child to use their energy to help others, or the Earth. Volunteering, spending some quality time with an elderly family member or younger sibling, or taking time to raise money or awareness for a cause your family supports can all be outlets for the mindful use of brahmacharya.
Exploring any or all of the Yamas with your child is a great way to pass the days of summer vacation. I sincerely hope you enjoy discovering brahmacharya with you child(ren).
Live Life Awesomely, Mary