Labyrinths have been around for over 4,000 years with labyrinth stone wall carvings, clay tablets and coins dating back to the Bronze Age. Labyrinths have been featured in Greek and Roman mythology and, in the Middle Ages, they started to appear in churches and temples around the world. Labyrinths have been used by many different cultures and religions across time as they have been known to be used for relaxation, meditation and prayer that can bring spiritual and emotional well-being to the lives of those who used them.
Now, labyrinths can be found in hospital gardens, parks, schools and home gardens as they are known for their meditative properties.
What is a Labyrinth?
A Labyrinth is not a maze; a maze has blind dead ends that are used to confuse and trick the mind. A labyrinth is a spiral course having a single, winding unobstructed path from the outside to the centre that is used to calm and relax.
What is a Finger Labyrinth?
A finger labyrinth is similar to a full sized labyrinth you would walk except it is on a much smaller and more portable scale. The user traces the path to the centre using your finger rather than with their feet. There are many different kinds of labyrinths differing in size and complexity.
Finger Labyrinths are known to help children relax, feel better when they are sad or scared, deal with situations when they feel ashamed or embarrassed and help them to concentrate.
How to do a Finger Labyrinth Meditation?
- Take deep breaths to begin to relax and focus on the entrance to the labyrinth.
- Place your pointer finger from your non-dominate hand on the entrance of the labyrinth. If you find this too awkward at first, use your dominate hand. However, over time, keep trying your non-dominate hand. This helps keep the mind focused on the meditation due to the challenge it presents.
- Slowly trace the pattern of the labyrinth with your finger allowing your mind to clear from extra thought and focus solely on following the path of the labyrinth.
- “Walk” to the centre of the labyrinth and rest momentarily, taking deep breaths observing how you are feeling.
- Retrace your path out of the labyrinth.
- Sit back, breathe deeply and relax. Observe how you are feeling again.
Note: The same steps apply for a Walking Labyrinth, except you slowly walk the path.
Free Printable Finger Labyriths:
- Relax4Life- http://www.relax4life.com/paperlabyrinths.html
- Instructions on making your own Finger Labyrinth using Play Dough can be found here: https://educationsvoice.wordpress.com/2017/03/09/mindfulness-in-the-classroom-using-play-dough-part-2/
- Make a 3-D Finger Labyrinth: http://heatherplett.com/2015/01/make-finger-labyrinth-also-piece-art/
- Challenge the children to create their own Finger Labyrinths by drawing or using small objects on a flat surface or drawing one in sand/salt/rice.
- Create Walking Labyrinths using jumping ropes, construction bricks, cones, bean bags, chalk etc. outside or in the hall for children to walk.
- Challenge children to create their own Walking Labyrinths using jumping ropes, construction bricks, cones, bean bags, etc. outside or in the hall for children to walk.
Meditations can take many forms and have been around for centuries. The important part is allowing you to be in the moment and letting other thoughts float past.
Read about more Mindfulness Ideas for both children and adults in other parts of this blog : www.educationsvoice.wordpress.com or in my book published by Bloomsbury, 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Mindfulness In The Classroom.