Today is January 21, and again we are blessed with the presence of four beautiful children, ages 6 to 10 years, in the SRV San Francisco ashram. We have become a divine little group, all progressing at our own pace.
Each lesson always includes asana poses, breathing practice, meditation, a teaching, a discussion, contemplation, an activity, and then prasad.
Asanas & Meditation Pose:
The children know what to do now when they come for class at the ashram: enter into the upstairs classroom quietly, bow down to the altar, and gather in a circle. Then we began our asana, breathing, and meditation pose practices.
One of the mothers was able to join us, and her boys enjoyed her being there. Usually we have one or both of the mothers in attendance and they seem to glean a great deal from the class. Not only that, but they witness how their children blossom with each class they attend and are truly delighted by the outcome.
This year's River Retreat deserves a special place in the history of our SRV Associations. I am writing this from the standpoint of being the children's teacher for the last 10 years. There have been children passing through our program since 2001 and choosing not to continue once their teens set in. But over the last 5 years we have had more consistency with a few of our kids and some youngsters who have started out in their teen years. What was unique in this year's retreat was an obvious "graduation" from children's classes held in the teaching tent across the stream, to adult classes with Babaji, and the introduction of a special afternoon class for teen and young adults, called Chela Dharma, the path or duty of the student, in which the students studied Swami Vivekananda's teachings on Karma Yoga.
It gave me a special feeling to watch Marleigh and Allegra settle solidly into the adult retreat, complete with 5:00am meditations. Allegra became the recorder of Babaji's progress through his class outline of teachings for the adult classes [see RR Notes and Reflection 1]. At the end of the retreat, Marleigh helped me take down the children's teaching tent. Simply crossing the bridge ("to the farther shore beyond all darkness") and seeing the site of her introductory classes in Vedanta and art/science projects, evoked a feeling of nostalgia for a phase well-completed.