05Aug Sitting at the Kid's Table
This past weekend I completed a training course for teaching yoga to 8-13 year old kids with the amazing Jodi Komitor Revivo of Next Generation Yoga in Encinitas. My intention in participating was rooted in my experience teaching yoga to pre-teen girls about three years ago, and my desire to begin teaching yoga to adolescents again.
Back then, I remember feeling challenged and frustrated when a couple of the girls in the class refused to take their socks off for practice. On another occasion I couldn’t get the girls to stop a giggling fit that started with one girl and quickly infected the rest of the group. While my intentions in trying to create an “orderly” and “typical” yoga experience for them were always good, I now realize that my past yoga lessons with kids omitted a very important element: putting myself in their shoes and making the class kid-centered instead of teacher-centered.
Back when I was child and during family dinners I always balked at having to sit at the kid’s table. I so badly wanted to be like the big kids and adults and sit on a “normal” size chair. I thought that was where the real action happened! Even though I had a blessedly happy childhood, I still couldn’t wait to grow up. And inevitably, I did. So during this past weekend of learning to teach yoga to kids, I was very pleasantly surprised to take a trip back to my inner-child and just play.
It was delicious sitting at the kid’s table again. We barked in downward dog, moo’d in cow pose, and jumped onto other people’s mats mid yoga session. Our sun salutations were interrupted by loud shouts of “I LOVE YOU SUN” and our cobras featured real hissing. I relinquished any ideas of how the pose should look and just enjoyed the spontaniety of the moment and how it made me feel. Practicing yoga through the eyes of a child revealed to me yet again the true purpose of practicing yoga: connection with oneself and the timeless, pure, child-like spirit within us all. That’s what it’s really about– flowing with a fit of childlike laughter. I can’t wait to put it all into practice with the next generation of yogis and yoginis!
~ Alex Mares ~ [email protected]