Hey, ma’am, this yoga feels good!

I taught yoga yesterday morning and yesterday evening. Two classes in a day! I feel lucky to be able to do this.

The morning class was to 5th graders at my granddaughter’s school. At back to school night a couple of weeks, the 5th grade teachers said this year they would focus on fitness. They have arranged for the kids to get outside for 15 minutes a day, and they were seeking volunteers to help with healthy snacks and fitness activities.

When I was in grade school so many years ago, we got about 30 minutes outside every day. If it was rainy or snowy, we went to the gym. Sometimes our physical activity was organized into team sports, track and field, or games (remember Red Rover?), and sometimes it was just plain old free play on the playground — jungle gym, merry-go-round, slide, swings. It was active. It was fun. I loved it.

Last year my granddaughter’s class did not get to go outside except on rare occasions. They have PE (often in the gym) every third day, rotating with art and music.

Spending time outside every day is important, in my opinion. We need the sunshine, fresh air, and trees and sky to look at. Even if we’re not consciously aware of it, exposure to nature suffuses us with more well-being. Fifteen minutes a day is a big deal.

With so many kids being obese these days, with the decline in school lunches and physical activity, I wanted to support their focus on fitness and volunteered to teach Hannah’s class some yoga. I won’t be able to sustain it all year, but I can spare 30 minutes one morning a week for a couple of months to teach them some yoga.

In fact, it just occurred to me that I can teach a few of them to lead the class after I stop teaching!

(And of course, it’s asana practice, not really yoga. We don’t get into philosophy — but yesterday I did include breath awareness and coordinating it with asanas, and I taught them that namaste means “I honor you”.)

About half the kids had done yoga or were at least familiar with it, and half were new to it. I cherish one little boy saying, when I had them do a seated side bend, “Hey, ma’am! This feels good!”

They were full of giggles and chatter, and I didn’t make any corrections. Let it be fun for them. Let them moo and meow in cat-cow.

I completely improvised. We were crowded onto a rug, limited to seated and standing poses that didn’t take up much room, and tabletop/dog. The first thing I taught was belly breathing. I crammed a lot of asanas into 30 minutes.

At the end we sat cross-legged with our backs straight and closed our eyes and paid attention to our breathing for one minute. During that minute, I heard a few whispers and giggles, and then … about 10 seconds of pure silence.

That silence was so powerful to me! I don’t think they get much of that.

I’ll return next week to teach yoga again. I will also teach them an NLP technique, Circle of Excellence, that they and their teacher will find useful this year, and for the rest of their lives.

In the evening, my Beginner’s Yoga, Beginner’s Mind class picked up again. We did four weeks together, had a week off, and are continuing for eight more weeks. These are adults, most of whom are really new to yoga. We meet in a home, moving the furniture aside.

What a joy it is to hear about them having more body awareness, noticing new strength, having more stamina!

I don’t improvise much in this class. Because of various students’ health issues, we take it slowly. We use props. I want them to feel safe and be safe. No yoga injuries! Taking yoga teacher training from a highly experienced Iyengar-certified teacher has given me the confidence I can do this. We are gradually building strength and flexibility.

We did a nice long savasana, and I got to use some NLP trancework, addressing the healing part within, asking it to communicate clearly to the conscious mind any new information about healing it would like to share.

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