Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kids Yoga!

Let's play a game.

First, you have to close your eyes. Get your imagination in gear.

All set?

Ok. I'm at the front of a play room, otherwise known as the kid's room at the transitional living home I volunteer at each week. Toys surround me. I'm standing on a yoga mat, eager and nervous to give my very first kids yoga class. In front of me are about a dozen children, 3 of them cute as buttons at 1 ½ years old, not quite able to make words with the noises that come excitedly out their precious little mouths. They're not really interested in staying on their mats. Shocking.

Then we've got the cute but rambunctious boys and girls from 5 to 15 years old, some really wanting to do yoga, others wanting to show me and the rest of their friends what they already know, and others undoubtedly thinking, “who is this chick?”

20 minutes later, and we've done every possible animal pose and noise I can think of, and things are getting loud. I mean really loud. One talented boy is rolling himself around in his yoga mat and showing me his human version of a pig-in-a-blanket. His friend joins in. The 1 ½ year old girls are screaming excitedly and clapping their hands at the sight of it all. Another one is stuck to me like glue, and climbs all over me like I'm his own personal jungle gym. Pretty sure he even grabbed my chest at one point. Did I feel violated? No time to feel, people – only to react and move on to the next kid who was trying to do airplane at the back of the room!

40 minutes to go. Oh dear. Do I suck? Am I doing this wrong? I listened to all the advice you guys gave me. What's wrong with me?

Funny how dealing with children can bring up all sorts of things about our ego, and cause us to question ourselves in ways the children have no understanding of. Though I spent my early teenaged years babysitting kids of all ages, and dealt with my fair share of kid related experiences, last night was the deepest version of humble I think I've ever experienced.

About to lose my mind, I called savasana, and tried to get the kids to sit still and lay down for 10 minutes to come them down. This was an entirely new hurdle to jump over. I felt like the mean teacher tapping her stick at the chalk board at the front of the class room, looking menacing with her furrowed eyebrows on her angry face. Yoikes!

After savasana, we (me and the other volunteers) got wise and brought the little ones into a separate play room. Us older kids stayed in the play room and played Simon Says for the final 10 minutes of kids night. Yes – my little man was still climbing all over me.

Once the mats were rolled up and put away, and the kids slowly trickled out of the room as their parents picked them up, I was rattled but still standing, and shaking my head in spite of myself. I'm all for throwing myself into situations that make challenge me in different ways, and this one certainly did!

The volunteer coordinator worried that I may not want to do it again. Are you kidding me? Of course I will! Band-aids have been applied to my wounds, my ego is on the mend, and I'm even more energized to see what next week has to offer!

But first, I've got to make it through tomorrow: we're going on a 6 hour field trip to the science center. Many children, many entrances and exits, many opportunities for escape. Excellent.

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