On Friday afternoon, I spent two hours with 45 girls participating in a girl scouts' dance camp. I had been invited to facilitate a session and I chose to do some T'ai Chi with them. It was so much fun! I had been a little nervous about how I would hold their attention (these were girls ages 6 to 12 years old) for two hours straight, but it turned out that I was worried for nothing. I think the moment I pulled up on my motorcycle they were right with me. Who knew a six-year old would be interested in what kind of a bike I ride?!? It was very sweet.
I love doing T'ai Chi with children because you can really engage their imaginations and elaborate on the animal stories. (Flashes of Keda in her school play with her making elephant sounds on stage come to mind...) We even went on an initial imaginary trip (=meditation & visualization) to get in the mood and to meet with an animal friend (=spirit animal) who gave them a special message. When I asked those of them to share that wanted to (of course almost everyone wanted to!) it was amazing! I had expected to have 15 cats and 30 dogs in the room. Not so! We had armadillos, raccoons, bunnies, cheetas, horses, snakes, frogs, pandas, tigers, deer, dolphins, guinea pigs - you name it, we had it in the room! I didn't ask them to share their messages - that part was intended only for them. We then went on to learn a 9 movement T'ai Chi form using various animals.
Here the girls are doing a move called "Parting the Wild Horse's Mane"."Tiger Embraces the Mountain" - aren't they the sweetest little mighty tigers?!? (I am only posting the two shots that I have of them from behind because I feel a little weird about posting the others - even though everyone had signed "media releases"...... blaaaaaaah!)
I had started out with a little story about the Monks in China and how T'ai Chi came to be. Aside from the fitness aspect, we talked about compassion, mindfulness, calming the mind, and protecting ourselves. I was so impressed with these little people who kept saying the most insightful things when I asked them questions about it all. They even pointed out that the martial arts are not to be used for harming others but to protect!!! I am convinced I learned more in the two hours than the girls did!
And I never wanted to work with children..... Just goes to show you how much I know!........