Nicholas, forever the mover and shaker and talker and connector, talked me up to his teacher. I had no idea he was doing this; but I am so glad he did. Our town is small; our school is even smaller. I've known most of those kids nearly their entire lives. I love each of them so much; that it is such an honor to share something that I also love with them!
Teaching yoga to kids is life changing each and every time. They teach me so much!
Kids are such beautiful and natural yogis. They know how to honor themselves in ways that most adults have forgotten.
And I don't want these kids I love to grow up and forget to honor themselves.
I have two rules in my yoga class. The first, this is your practice. Your poses will look how they look and that is perfect. You decide how far to stretch and even if you want to stretch at all. The second, while this is your practice, you are sharing it with your classmates, so be considerate and quiet and stay on your mat.
But my rules are nothing compared to the amazing things these kids taught me in 45 minutes! Here's are three things those lovely 3rd graders taught me today:
1. You don't always have to do things you don't want to.
When a 9 year old does not want to do a pose, they don't it. When they want to stand, they stand. When they want to wiggle they wiggle. If a pose hurts, they come out of it.
Of course, there are so many things you have to do as a human being; but there are also so many things you think you have to do; but don't.
All they had to do today was stay on their mat. The poses, well, those are optional. Discernment is important and maybe the thing that hurts--isn't the thing you have to do.
2. You can try new things (or old things, after a long time).
Some of these kids had done yoga before; some never had. But every last one of them was open to the new things I shared. I don't think any of them (except Nicholas) had done the spaghetti test before (the kid version of a deep savasana). But, they tried and happily relaxed and became relaxed like cooked spaghetti!
For me, I did an old thing (teaching yoga!) and I wasn't sure I could do it. But, I did!
3. Being together matters.
Sometimes, I think of yoga and meditation as a solidary activity. But really, friends, it is something that is meant to be practiced together. The kids' energy and their laughter and their comraderie is what made the class so joyful and fullfilling. Being together to practice (or to sing or to laugh or to sit quietly) is what connects us together and to the entire world. It matters.