Monday, September 17, 2012

Kiddie Yoga

I've always loved the connection between yoga and life. The work done on the mat finding it's shadows in life's situations, when, for instance, the controlled breath learned through a challenging asana appears during a personal conflict. Not that I've mastered that quality, but Yoga is about the connections between body, mind, breath, and your connection to the world as a whole. I used to think of yoga as a person with his legs twisted like a pretzel, and loving pretzels the way I do, it all made sense.

So in thinking what I can do with the Primary School kids, I decided to teach them kid friendly Yoga and infuse the Life Skills via applying asana's. With kids being naturally flexible, though lacking in staying power, yet bursting with a ton of energy, I figured these kid's would love yoga. Besides, they need mental breaks, time away from what is expected of them, time to just be! Kid yoga is pure fun, and the child is always “winner,” there's no way to “fail.”  Yoga instills a sense of accomplishment, and will hopefully encourage these young ones on steps towards all sorts of good stuff like self-awareness,  self- esteem, creativity, compassion and health while adhering to the 3 F's : Fearlessness, Focus, and Fun!  Yep-- that's my goal, let's see what happens!

Off I go to my class for the new semester. There's no teacher of course today, so the kids are thrilled that someone came in to pay attention to them. I write the word YOGA on the board, have them say it loudly, and then I ask one of my little friends in the class to interpret for me--”No.” What do you mean, no? “No!” I guess he means no! Another kid voluntarily stands up, “I'll do it”—he comes running up, I tell him what to say, he just stares at the class. This is turning out to be a great start. Asking the class to pull out their chairs away from the desk is our next chore, but they don't move, so I demonstrate---they do nothing---I go around to each kid, pulling them and the chair out, which turns into a game as each kid is bouncing up and down waiting for the chair ride. I'm getting way more exercise than they are here! Ok, let's talk about breathing and balloons. I show them a picture of a balloon, we all scream balloon, and tell them to put both hands on their tummy to feel their breathing.   I demonstrate---nobody moves---off I go again to put each bouncing kids hands in the proper place. They're loving this so far. Breathing kid style, here we go---they love breathing into the imaginary balloon. AAH!  Then next, our first asana, BOAT---I show the picture, demonstrate, they copy my every move, they are learning to breath while up in boat posture, and then I hear it----"Teacher, I'm so tired!" What the hell, your only 6 years old, you can't be tired. I couldn't believe my ears! So then we go into a variation of Boat to strengthen abdominals, and while we do it, we have to pretend we are rowing, so I teach them the first line of Row, row, row your boat. These kids can't connect the row to the boat. My mind starts chanting---OHM!

Next class, at least I have an interpreter, my friend Lefika, and this class goes sort of perfect because of him. Sort of, because kids outside are peaking in the window, yelling stuff---I shoo them away, but they're like mosquitos, relentless, I should've bought a fly swatter to class. I open the window and tell them to go back to class---No---what do you mean no! NO! God, these kids are out of control with no teachers available. Then I hear a kid in my class shout out, “ breathe like a balloon teacher!” This isn't exactly how I imagined my first day of Yoga Life Skills would go!  OHM!

But seriously, kids naturally understand how to use yoga, and over time, and with a lot of praying, maybe they'll gain that mental control, maybe they'll see that poses like Warrior gives the message that a true Warrior is strong without weapons, that it fosters inner strength, determination, and focus.  For right now though, we'll explore together the endless possibilities of fun through poses.
keoki wants in on the yoga

1 comment:

  1. What an excellent idea!! I'm a PCV in mexico, and am starting to meditate daily, prepping for a Silent Meditation class after I COS...vipasanna. Good luck!