For the 2022-2023 Youth Practice year, we will be looking at the theme of refuge. The last few years have been hard, filled with a lot of stress and uncertainty. When we think about refuge in our lives, we think about those things that give a safe space away from our difficulties, pain, and anxiety. We might turn to family, friends, junk food, television, sports, or mindlessly scrolling social media. Most of these things (especially in moderation) are good and helpful. But they are not always reliable-they are not permanent.
This year in youth practice we will study the three refuges of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. What are these three things? Why do we take refuge in them? How do we take refuge in them? Do they offer a type of protection that is always accessible?
An important part of our time together will be exploring different mindfulness techniques. When we meditate-typically sitting or walking-we are practicing being mindful. We can also be mindful in our daily lives, for instance at home, school, or when we are hanging out with friends. Below are two mindfulness practices that we have learned that can be used anywhere!
Meditation can often times be difficult for children (and honestly, for most adults). Being able to link purposeful breathing with movement is a healthy way of practicing mindfulness that can be slightly more accessible to folks of all ages. It is also important to remember that meditation is about awareness of the activities of the mind AND body. Practices like yoga and Qi Gong are good places to start. Students have enjoyed learning new mindful movement techniques, and after learning a few yoga poses we were able to use them for a game, “Rock, Paper, Scissors… Yoga!” (rules below).
Below are a few resources for anyone who would like to learn more about what we are studying currently in Youth Practice.