I just finished teaching three of the eight SCHOOL Kids Yoga & Mindfulness classes for today. Going into public schools for over 13 years and teaching to elementary aged children has provided quite a wealth of experience. It is safe to say that the approach I take with these amazing inner city kids works. The essence of the practice, the reason to practice, the motivation to practice is to have a calm heart. Pretty simple and yet, disappears from our mindfulness so many times each day with life’s business and demands.
Here are a few of the responses from 2nd graders on how they have been using their practice:
“I had to get a shot at the doctor and I used my calm breathing.”
“I played with my sister with a calm heart.”
“I used my calm breathing while taking a test.”
“I said Our Hearts Are Calm Today when I had the hiccups.”
“I helped my brother to breathe calmly when he was mad.”
“I couldn’t read something very good so I used my calm breathing and had a calm heart.”
And of course, we need to have a calm heart for:
“I went to the fair and rode a roller coaster and used my calm breathing to keep my heart calm.”
Life is much like a roller coaster, yes? It is quite challenging to teach Kids Yoga and well worth every moment. If one has been teaching as long as I have, the cutesy and idealistic honeymoon phase of teaching Kids Yoga is behind us. We work with the dynamic of the classroom, the children, and the environemnt to demonstrate by our own presence and behavior the essence of a calm heart. Going into public schools and teaching more than 25 children in each class and seeing more than 1,000 children on a weekly basis has indeed been challenging and simultaneously, the most rewarding work I have encountered. Life’s ups and downs are much more manageable with a calm heart.