by Karen Martin, Certified YogaKids Teacher
I am met by five sets of bright eyes, all expectantly waiting to begin our yoga practice in the New Year! The list of things to do during our class runs through my mind as I set up. Will we work with our breathing buddies? Practice yummy ohms (oh so loud and silly)? Play a game we create on the spot? The answer most resoundingly is yes to all of these ideas. But there is something more I hope to impart to my little yogis along with movement and fun activities.
All of the above are things we want to do in our class. This can be likened to New Year’s resolutions of what we want to try to accomplish in the coming year. Most resolve to lose weight, exercise more, plan places to go, decide on items to buy. Instead of these goals, I’ve thought about working on becoming the type of person I’d like to be in the new year.
Maybe it begins with a self-assessment from which arise goals not of material or physical improvements but more deeply satisfying spiritual gains. Instead of looking for outward tangible signs of achievement, look inward to developing traits to become a better person.
When I share yoga with children I hope to embody an example of a caring, understanding and supportive teacher. How can I hopefully display these attributes? I look back on a previous article on the topic of Patience. To show patience, I have to be patient with myself first. The same may be said of these other valuable qualities. By exhibiting compassion and empathy to myself I can more likely show it towards others.
The children look to me for learning flow series, guidance in postures, and sharing fun games. I hope I also provide much more by example, using kind words and patient understanding during our classes. Build awareness of how the children interact with myself and with each other. Notice how they are feeling and it will help in responding with appropriate actions and words. Encourage this behavior by pointing out signs of understanding, kind-heartedness and support displayed by the children.
Inclusion of behaviors such as kindness, helpfulness, and empathy can be a good beginning. Add to them a listening ear, a hopeful outlook, and calm words. And do not forget to be nurturing to the self as well as to others in the months ahead!