Natural Elements: Connect, Move & Relax


This activity, inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh's pebble meditation, connects students to aspects of nature, and the different kinds of strength that make up the whole. In this Little Flower Yoga version of a pebble meditation practice, we incorporate movement, drawing and journaling, along with the a mindfulness practice, to create a complete experience for our students. You can do this activity all at once, or you can break it up into smaller parts and practice it with your children over several sessions. Using small stones to represent each of element is something that supports the students and provides a grounding energy to the activity. Four different colored stones will represent the following: mountain, tree, flower, still water.

To introduce this activity you want to give the students a chance to explore the feeling of each element. A wonderful way to do this is to allow the students time to draw each element as part of their practice.

1. Give each child 4 small stones (one of each color – and tell them that these stones represent a mountain, a tree, a flower and still water) and 4 index cards, and ask them to put them on their mat in front of them. On the first card, ask the students to draw a picture of a mountain. Now pick up your first pebble, which will represent a mountain (you can let the students choose which color best represents a mountain to them). Tell the students that a mountain represents strength and stability, and that inside each one of them is a mountain that is strong and steady, no matter what is happening around them. Have them hold the stone they have chosen, come into mountain pose, and then practice saying the following together: Breathing in I see myself as a mountain, Breathing out I feel strong. Repeat this 3 or 4 times, and then take one or two breaths silently together. Have them write along the bottom of their drawing Breathing in I see myself as a mountain, Breathing out I feel strong. Optionally, on the other side of the card, they can draw a picture of themselves in mountain pose.

2. The next element to explore is a tree. Invite the students to draw a tree on the next index card. Then pick up the pebble that represents a tree, and come to stand in tree pose. Tell the students that a tree represents balance as it reaches its roots down into the earth, and it’s branches up to the sky. Let them know that they have the balance of a tree inside each of them, and that this balance will help them live a healthy life. Practice saying together: Breathing in I see myself as a tree, Breathing out I feel balanced. Repeat 3 or 4 times, and then take one or two breaths silently together. Have them write along the bottom of their drawing Breathing in I see myself as a tree, Breathing out I feel balance.Optionally, on the other side of the card, they can draw a picture of themselves in tree pose.

3. The next element is a flower. Have the students draw a flower on their third index card, and have them choose a stone to represent flowers. Then come into flower pose (seen in above photo). Tell them that a flower represents joy and beauty. Inside each of us is a flower that is always growing, keeping us joyful even during hard times. Practice saying together Breathing in I see myself as a flower, Breathing out I feel joyful. Repeat 3 or 4 times, and then take one or two breaths silently together. Have them write along the bottom of their drawing Breathing in I see myself as a flower, Breathing out I feel joyful. Optionally, on the other side of the card, they can draw a picture of themselves in flower pose.

4. The final element that we will explore is still water. Have the students draw still water on their fourth index card. They might need more support with this drawing, and you can discuss still water being a lake or pond.  Tell the students that still water represents calm and peacefulness. Inside all of us is a vast lake of calm still water that helps us keep our life peaceful. Have them hold their last stone, and come into savasana. Practice saying together: Breathing in I see myself as still water, Breathing out I feel peaceful. Repeat 3 or 4 times, and then take one or two breaths silently together. You can extend this element by allowing the children to rest in savasana either in silence or with some gentle music playing. Once they have come out of savasana, have them write along the bottom of their drawing Breathing in I see myself as still water, Breathing out I feel peaceful. Optionally, on the other side of the card, they can draw a picture of themselves in savasana.

5. After children have explored the feeling of these elements through postures and visualization, a journaling activity helps make the experience even more concrete and meaningful, and gives them time to reflect. You can use pages that you have created and photocopied for the students, or you can just have them write and complete the following thoughts in a journal:

Mountain: I feel strong when_________________________________

Tree: I feel balanced when___________________________________

Flower: I feel joyful when____________________________________

Still Water: I feel peaceful when________________________________

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