Meditation Camp – Do we associate this idea with children’s activities? Ask any adult – what is important for a child’s development – and you will get the answer: studies, sports, music, dance, and other extra-curricular activities.
Let’s introduce something else to the list: meditation and prayer. Meditation is generally considered as an activity for adults, but that is not true. It adds to the holistic development of the child and gives him / her an inner confidence to nurture one’s individuality. Meditation can nurture one’s inner connection at any age.
It was with this vision that the Ashtamangal Meditation team from Chennai decided to conduct a meditation camp for children. First things first, a cute poster was created by Naveen Galada, one of the senior Ashtamangal Meditators, to announce the camp.
The AMKM Hall in Purusawalkam was chosen for the camp since it was sunny and cheerful, as well as centrally air-conditioned to beat the summer heat. Nowadays, many parents are willing to try something different for the children. They are open to the idea of a meditation summer camp. Thus, more than 30 children turned up for the camp in the age bracket of 5-15 years.
See the video below for the slideshow of images from the camp:
Nine teachers from the Ashtamangal Chennai team volunteered for the camp – Kirtida Shah, Chandrakala Jain, Nirmala Jamad, Sharmila Katrela, Sunita Ostwal, Sangeetha, Suchithra, Dipti, Indra. They took care of everything from the registration to activities to snacks. The teachers themselves took the initiative to decorate the hall to add colour and cheer. Naveen took some candid photographs of the camp in progress.
The activities of the three days included prayer, memory games, balloon games to introduce concepts such as peace and co-existence, activities for emotional expression as well as knowledge enhancement, and activities for recycling waste products.
For encouragement, smilies were given and children aspired to collect the maximum number of smilies.
Kirtida Shah, another senior Ashtamangal meditator, said that the purpose of the camp was to work on the five facets of life using the five coloured cards.
On day 1, children meditated on the white card to improve memory and concentration. On day 2, they meditated on red card for emotional balance. On day 3, they were taught to meditate on the remaining colours: yellow card for proactivity, green card for relationships and blue for intelligent planning.
At the camp, Jyothi Ajith conducted infinitheism session for mindful living. As Sunita Ostwal, one of the meditation teachers stated, “Since this is the first time we were introducing children to meditation, we wondered on day 1 whether they would come the next day. But they all turned up, with their smiles and enthusaism.”
The children enjoyed the different activities of the camp, as well as the meditation sessions. In fact, they maintained pin drop silence while meditating. After each meditation session, each child had to report on what colours he/she saw during meditation. Based on the colours reported by the children, the teachers gave a brief analysis to the parents about the children. The parents said that they found the analysis to be very accurate. At the end of the camp, many parents also said that the children seemed to have enjoyed themselves and would like to attend it again. They also said that it can be longer than just three days.
Kirtida said, “We asked them on the last day what activities they had liked and whether they can suggest any improvement. They said they had enjoyed it all. They also said that next time too, they would like the same set of teachers to be there.”