Spiritual Work with Children/Psychic Self-Regulation for Children of 11-13 Years of Age
Psychic Self-Regulation for Children of 11-13 Years of Age
At the age of 11-13 years, children actively accumulate basic knowledge about the world around them. Some of them begin to master harmony; this is related to formation of the emotionogenic structures of the organism and the child’s search for harmony in relationships with other people and with the world.
Taking this into account, the instructor has to provide children with information on all questions important to them, help to develop their creative abilities, form in them a benevolent attitude towards the world. It is important that students learn about their possibilities in life and receive an opportunity to try themselves in different kinds of activity.
The adolescent age is the stage when intensive physical and psychic development of the child takes place.
Especially significant are anatomo-physiological changes related to puberty (this is a complex series of anatomic, physiological, and psychological changes). The puberty process and quick growth of the body increase in adolescents their psychical vulnerability and excitability. In the social environment, the requirements to children, when they reach adolescent age, become higher. It can present difficulties for them due to their lack of life experience. In such a case, they may exhibit unstable emotions and behavior.
The instructor has to take all these problems into account when creating the program for classes.
For creating our program of work, we used the course of psychic self-regulation for adults  (its first part, prior to work with the chakras) and the experience of work with children accumulated in the School of Dr.Antonov.
Our classes also included some methods of Hatha Yoga and wrestling, ethical conversations, etc.
Usually the classes were conducted according to the following scheme:
1. Introductory meditation.
2. Psychophysical exercises, meditation Latihan, spontaneous dance.
3. The series of asanas Surya Namaskar.
4. Games-meditations, exercises for development of concentration, pranayamas.
5. Motion games.
6. Hatha Yoga asanas.
7. Elements of wrestling.
The psycho-energetical part of the class is especially important, because it develops the emotional sphere and the visualization ability; it allows children to understand the world around them better and to know new subtle emotional states.
Due to specific character of adolescent perception, the first task of the instructor is to make students interested in exercises. That is, the instructor has to decide how to present information to the students.
For instance, one can use the following explanation:
“We are going to learn how to become sorcerers: to become them, we have to change ourselves, to learn to be filled with love and goodness. People around us will feel this. If we are filled with goodness — then the entire world around us will change, because we will see it in a different light; only we ourselves can create the world of love and joy, and there are special methods for this task which we can learn.”
One may tell children a story about a girl who had been blind since her birth but then became sighted. She looked at this wonderful world for the first time and found that it is very beautiful! The girl asked her mother, “Why didn’t you tell me about this?” The mother answered, “I told you many times, but you could not understand me!” In a similar way, we are all born spiritually blind; our spiritual eyes are closed, and we do not see the world of the beautiful! However, we can learn the methods that allow us to open the spiritual eyes, and then we will see that around us is… Love! But to reach this goal, we have to make efforts.
After such an introduction, children willingly begin to do the introductory meditation, psychophysical and other exercises.
Mastering of psychophysical exercises can become easier if children attune to images of nature — a flower, a seaweed, the sun, etc.
For example, when doing the exercise Awakening, children can use the image of a sunflower: it feels the spring, awakens, and stretches towards the sun. It becomes bigger and bigger; its leaves grow; its bud grows larger and opens into a big yellow flower. We stretch the arms-petals to sunlight and fill with it the body-stem!… — and gradually become made of goldish sun rays!
For the exercise Reconciliation, one can use the image of the ocean of tender light; we are on its bottom and caress this ocean with our hands, giving it our tenderness in these touches.
The exercise Giving Away: inside my chest, a large white rose blossoms; the entire chest becomes filled with its subtle fragrance; with my hands I spread this fragrance to my friends.
Spontaneous dance: I am a seaweed in the heaving volume of warm water.
It is good to perform the meditation Latihan using the image of a joyful goldish rain.
In our classes, we also use the technique of inner smile. It implies that one has to learn to make the outer smile not merely a mask to wear when necessary, but make it born from the inner smile.
Here again, the instructor has to find forms of presenting this exercise to the children. This method consists in visualizing one’s own smiling face, and then moving the energy of this smile into the spiritual heart and distributing it to the entire organism. Then the instructor suggests to the students to feel that smiling lips and eyes radiating joy appear in different parts of the body — and the entire organism begins to shine with a smile! It is very important that the instructor, too, do this exercise with full emotional commitment, so that children can imitate; imitation skills usually are well developed in them.
It is important to teach children concentration so that their attention does not scatter and becomes steady. For this purpose one has to find an approach that attracts children. For example, during the introductory meditation, we first imagine that we are standing on the planet Earth surrounded by many living beings. The sun shines above and gives life to us. Let us listen how our hearts beat… Then imagine that instead of the heart there is a bit of tender sun in the chest, and the entire chest becomes filled with its light, and we begin to shine as a floodlight from the chest…
For development of the visualization ability, the following exercises are useful:
The exercise Dragonfly: we are standing on a forest glade on a warm summer day; we stand on soft green grass barefooted and feel that the grass is very soft… A dragonfly flies close to me; I stretch my hand to it, and the dragonfly descends on my hand. The dragonfly basks in the sun… Let us warm the dragonfly with our love flowing from the palm…
There is an exercise with an orange: we peel an imaginary orange fruit, its juice flows on our palms, we bite off a piece and swallow it…
In our classes, we also use some pranayamas. For example, we become magicians. On the palm of everyone, there is a white ball of light. We pull it inside the palm, move it through the arm, through the chest, through another arm — and the ball appears on another palm. First children can do this exercise in pairs: one partner moves his or her finger along the trajectory of the ball’s movement to help another partner to do the pranayama.
Children quickly get tired of doing concentration, therefore it is important to end the exercise in time, so that children remain in a good emotional state.
In the classes we also use exercises with identification of oneself with some image (a dynamic one, best of all). For example, we enter the image of a flying bird, or become identified with an airplane, or we play a train and each of us becomes a car of this train, we move through different places, different landscapes. Or we join together and form a large snake: it moves forward. Or we turn into a shoal of playful dolphins; the sea is our home; we travel in the underwater world, jump high above the water surface and dive again. These exercises bring much joy to children.
In order to make the subtle emotional states stable, to make children healthy and strong — the instructor has to provide them with basic skills of work with the body. One of such methods is Hatha Yoga asanas.
In the classes we use, among others, the series of asanas Surya Namaskar — Sun Salutation. Then several simple asanas follow: cuckoo pose, frog pose, bow pose. Before doing the asanas, children perform emotional attunement: they say to themselves that they will do asanas well and self-confidently. They also learn that we have to become masters of our bodies, not vice versa.
Wrestling exercises are very useful for harmonious development of adolescents. Children may learn simple methods of martial arts like sambo, aikido. Classes in wresting are conducted as game situations. They develop strength, provide children with the psychological stability in difficult situations, and help develop willpower. Together with Hatha Yoga, they allow the child to master the body, to feel it better. This contributes to development of courage, gives practical skills.
For emotional relaxation and for making children more interested in the classes, we use all kinds of motion games. They are different variations of tag games, relay-races, etc. Children become very agitated during such games, so it makes sense to teach them to calm down after it in one of the relaxation poses.
For resting at the end of the class and during the class if necessary, we use relaxation in crocodile pose, in half-tortoise pose, or by lying on the back. In relaxation, we use visualization of clouds floating in the sky, hovering birds; children may identify themselves with these objects.
One of the most important parts of the program is the final conversation, when the instructor does the intellectual and ethical parts of the work. Conversations with children are based mainly on the material from the New Testament (namely, on parables) together with discussing such subjects as:
— the meaning of life,
— the ecological aspect of human existence,
— how to develop in oneself the ability to love
— the principles of evolution in the universe,
— how to live without causing harm to anyone.
We have such a conversation for 10-15 minutes in the form suitable for children. Many children are interested in these problems and begin to ask questions, which is quite important.
Boys show much interest in the question of the ahimsa of kshatriya. Ahimsa is the main ethical principle which reads: “Causing no harm, as possible, to other living beings — in deeds, words, and thoughts” . A kshatriya is a leader, a warrior. The ahimsa of kshatriya reads: “One has to be strong and kind, to use power without getting angry!” Children need to work with this subject practically with the help of the methods of wresting.
It is good if the instructor can conduct several classes in nature, in the forest. Here children can learn a careful attitude towards living nature. For example, how to build a fire without causing harm to it? They may also try finding the borders of bioenergetical cocoons of trees; this helps them to understand in practice that all living beings around us are our companions in the process of evolution.
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By the end of the classes, one can notice changes that happened to children. These changes are, first of all, a broader knowledge and outlook, positive skills and qualities, active interest in reforming oneself in accordance with the information presented in the classes, and a lower level of diffidence. Many children begin to study in the school better, become calmer; some of them correct their conduct in accordance with the ethical principles that they learned.
Their parents notice that children gained aspiration to creativity (they want to paint, want to go to creative classes), that they developed self-confidence and have higher interest to the classes in ordinary school.