This past week has been a wash for me since Sunday after I contracted a sickness that is not Coronavirus. It sent me into a three day bedridden prison. I call the flu: “rest by force”. The type of rest that people are always saying, “getting sick is your bodies way of slowing you down.” Well, I’ve slowed down…are you happy, body????
It just so happens that I contracted this nasty sickness from a bunch of adorable little children. When I am not at school or studying, I am teaching ESL…and when I am not teaching ESL, I am instructing yoga to adults…and when I am not instructing yoga to adults, I am instructing yoga to tiny little humans at an elementary school. I adore these humans, but they are currently little petri dishes of sickness. Sniffling, hugging, all-too- lovable petri dishes.
Anyway, today was my first day back into the real world, and I honestly wish I would have stayed inside. Everyone is in a panic, have you noticed? I heard everything from “the world is ending” to “50% of our population may die” to “your school may be shut down” to “it may not be shut down”…and guess what is shutting down, now? My brain. I don’t know what to think about it all. So, instead of me, a not scientist, giving you my highly unqualified opinion on coronavirus, I am going to tell you about something cute, instead.
Teaching small children how to do yoga is a lot more than just walking in and going through a 60 minute vinyasa flow. You think your attention span is short? Try being a little bullet of energy after a full day of elementary school. Sometimes, as I look around and see one of the kids rolling his body up into a yoga mat burrito and another picking her nose so intently that it could be considered meditation I think to myself…am I doing something, ANYTHING here?! Thankfully, I have been doing this stuff long enough to know it works literal magic.
Our classes are a mixture of breath practice/meditation, song and dance, yoga asana practice, a mini lesson, and a craft period to solidify our lesson (fingers crossed). We have a yoga pose of the week, and we always focus on either the individual person, our friends and loved ones, or how we interact in community. It is incredible what four to seven- year-old kids have to offer on these topics.
Over this past Thanksgiving break, I returned after two weeks away from these nuggets. My worries about if the kids were getting anything out of the classes were immediately dissolved with hugs and excitement to practice yoga again! On top of that, a parent shared this story:
Apparently, over break, their son had a full on tantrum. He was sent to his room and left to calm down. Well, the wailing continued…and then it stopped. The boy’s father went to the room to check on him only to find him on the floor in a “yoga posture”. I am assuming it was a child’s pose or an easy pose. His father asked him, “what are you doing?” and he responded to his father that he was doing his yoga breathing so that he could calm down.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Can I just tell you that when I was told this story, my heart melted and exploded all at the same time!
Can you imagine at the age of five being able to regulate your emotions like that? I think I was in my twenty-second year when I figured out how to do that, lets be real.
At a very young age, we have the ability to regulate, change, calm, and adjust our emotions. We have the autonomy to direct our energies in the direction that we want them to go, in a positive space or a negative space. How you react and how you respond is completely in your control. This little boy, the little boy that often looks at the ceiling and spins around as fast as he can when I would rather him stand in mountain pose, got that.
In these crazy times, take a lesson from this little guy. When life feels overwhelming, when curve balls come our way (because they always will come our way), take a breath, lay down, place your hands on your belly, close your eyes, reset your nervous system. We have the power to display rational thought and intelligent conversation with each other.
…and for the love of God, leave some toilet paper for the rest of us.
Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate.
2 Tim. 1:7
7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.