By Sunny Rucker
“The gift to each child in the world should be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.”
Educating the Heart
Our Community Development Department shares aspects of the Hridaya teachings in local schools via our Educando el corazón (“Educating the Heart”) initiative. We visit students at the kindergarten, elementary, and middle school levels, touching the hearts of 175 students each week.
Kindergarten Program: Heart-Centered Teachings for 3-6 Year-Olds
Our Kindergarten Program has a natural openness thanks to the children’s profound and wonderful instinct to live with open hearts. Our weekly classes aim to plant the seed of the awareness of the Spiritual Heart and empower the children with the tools to live from a place of love, centeredness and calm. The kindergarteners are 3-6 years old, so the program requires plenty of imagination, creativity, and fun! Students send “heart rainbows” to family and friends and have written unique songs that generate healing energy for themselves and others. The children have also learned sun salutations and nadi shodhana pranayama.
Program Curriculum: Connection, Engagement, and Lots of Fun
Each class begins with everyone coming into a circle in a playful way. We share how we are feeling or, perhaps, a favorite memory or the most delicious food we’ve ever eaten. We share about what excites us and what we love doing most.
Then, we begin passing love through the circle. This may be by passing a squeeze of the hand, doing a massage train, singing songs, or blowing love into our friends’ hearts. Once we’re all sufficiently connected to each other, we start bringing our awareness into the Heart. We have learned the Sufi technique of “Blowing upon the Embers of the Heart,” and if there is a more restless energy in the room, we may send blessings or become aware of our heartbeats.
This is when we bring in the physical body with partner stretches or sun salutations set to an engaging song. We always encourage the children to stretch their bodies intuitively as well.
Sometimes we’ll throw in our fun asana cards—each one is associated with an interesting animal that we can discuss. When we’re feeling extra brave, we bring in a chakra-themed class. When the class is calm, we incorporate a few minutes of pranayama. Nadi shodhana, sama vritti, and maha yoga pranayama are the more recognizable “pranayamas” that we perform, but we also breathe into different body parts and fill them with love and light. We also blow bubbles, blow out candles, and count seconds on our fingers.
To cultivate a love for meditation and, more simply, concentration, we practice bringing our attention to the space between thoughts. We also do Tibetan micropractices such as evoking the experience of being “wide open like the sky,” “shining like a flame,” or “radiant, lucid like a crystal.” We’ve even done trataka on a candle flame!
To inspire the imagination, we visualize the sun in our chest or a healing light moving through the body. We use blindfolds and identify objects and smells. We imagine ourselves as animals or plants and we draw our emotions or sensations in correlation to where we feel them.
We round off the curriculum with a few holistic add-ons, including social skills, hand-eye coordination, and environmental awareness—bringing attention to the Earth that supports our lives. The class always ends with a short shavasana, a Yoga Nidra session, or a goodbye song.
If you feel inspired to support our Kindergarten Program by sharing your time and skills or by contributing financially, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.