Last summer I had the joy of going back with my eight years old daughter to the Sivananda Ashram in the Laurentian mountains in Quebec. It was a dream come true! All these years when I would do my yoga practice, Zara never showed any interest at all. She did not even want to go to the kids yoga camp. I did not force her, I just did not hear her (if I heard her every time she said no, we would be sitting in front of netflix most of the time and eating cake).
So we arrived at camp. She did not talk to me for a few days. Later I realized that she was jet lagged and completely overwhelmed, she even said that she felt we were in a different country (all the Indian culture). After a few days she told me: "maman, je ne savais pas que le yoga c'etait plus que d'etre sur un tapis de yoga" ("Mom, I did not know that yoga was more than being on a yoga mat"). Bingo! I was so thankful. The rest of the three weeks was spent deepening more and more her understanding of mantras, she even got to make her own malas (that she lost right away). She loved the chanting and came back to the Yukon chanting "Hare Krishna, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare Hare" to scare the bears away on our trails! She learnt to write sanscrit and could identify some of the letters when she would see them (I had forgotten all of that myself). She learnt about karma yoga (selfless service for the wellbeing of all), with her group mates, she would dry the dishes, sweep or take the compost to the garden and they would also have to clean their cabin... When she was asked what she did not like about camp she clearly stated:"la meditation c'etait long" ("meditation was long"), the beautiful thing is that she got in the habit of meditating 30 minutes a day! (Now we do 15 minutes because of diner, homework, and her 6 years old brother joining us!). I have to say that I am so glad for immigrants, I am so glad for other cultures who have strong values such as family, respect of elders, older kids helping the younger ones, everyone contributes with tasks. Those values make for fantastic role modelling.
Now you might be thinking that the mom was happy but the kid was tortured. Being one of the two youngest kids in the camp, she became the little sister to most kids. It was a pleasure to see. They would do her hair, especially the Canadian Sri Lanka and Indian girls, it was so sweet to see! The guys would carry her on their shoulders (I have an image of her with this really cool Capoeira black guy from Toronto). I saw her bloom. All the kid's spirit got super charged, good food, great well-water, walking bare feet, lots of exercise, no screen time, no sitting in a car, no parents to tell them what to do! The kids were so vital and clear, it was a real treat to me who is very sensitive to people's prana!
Now I have asked her to teach a yoga kids class with me, she said no. As usual, I did not hear her...Classes are starting in two weeks.
(If you want to know more about the kids camp it will be a pleasure to give you information. There is a kids camp in California and New York as well).