Small yogis, larger-than-life gifts

Yesterday I did what that Eleanor Roosevelt quote instructs: do one thing every day that scares you. Teaching yoga to adults? No problem. I haven’t been nervous about that for some time. Teaching yoga to kids? Scary! I mean, that’s a tough crowd. No one wants to be told what to do. Attention spans are short, and they aren’t going to be polite and fake it either. When I was asked a few weeks ago to come speak to Kindergarteners and 1st graders about yoga, I said sure. When the day arrived, I found myself a little bit scared.

But I put on my game face and trooped into the school with my yoga mat slung over my shoulder, hoping I looked somewhat cool. As I stood in front of my first class with 20+ eyes all on me, I gulped, smiled, and felt a small trickle of sweat run down my back. I knew the moment I had their attention would be fleeting if I didn’t get it going on. And then – I unrolled my yoga mat and invited them all to come feel it (“soft and squishy!” “like butter!”). I asked them to close their eyes and focus on the sound of their breath, and to remember that they could do that anytime they felt upset. We did lion’s breath, and once I got them roaring they were hooked. We balanced on one foot and became strong, silent trees for a few moments. We went down on all fours and arched our backs like Halloween cats, in honor of the approaching holiday. Basically, I had a hard time stopping once I got the yoga party started.
I was reminded of one of yoga’s lessons that I keep coming back to: it’s about harnessing our energy. I think that’s what I was worried about, since as the mother of an energetic 6-year old, I know how hard that can be with children. But yet again, yoga taught me a lesson in how it works for everyone. As my time was up with one of the classrooms, and I stood there grinning and not wanting to leave, 2 girls came up and stood in front of me for a moment. Then they each hugged me, and I thought my heart might burst. Every day, I receive unexpected, larger-than-life gifts from this practice. Namaste.
Pictured: me and my favorite small yogini, my daughter, practicing partner tree. Photo by Larry Stanley.