1 07 2011

I have heard people say that this salutation in yoga means: the light in me recognizes the light in you.  I don’t know if it is true or not, but I like that idea. 

Here is actually a good point in the post to admit that I know very little about yoga.  I mean, I have taken a handful of classes, owned a couple of videos… but expert I am not.  I am actually barely a beginner.  But here is what I do know about yoga: it’s about listening to your body, learning to value yourself/your feelings, focusing on the moment, focusing on your breath.   And knowing this, was knowing enough to realize that there are some kids at the aldea that would really benefit from some yoga time.

I did it with a few little boys, but there was one in particular who really started to respond to it.  He, like many of the other kiddos here, is diagnosed with a handful of psychiatric diagnosis… which to me feels like multiple doctor’s attempts to explain and label what I would simply refer to as behavioral outbursts.  He is a sweet, considerate, gentle emerging teen that loves positive attention from adults… who can get angry and throw a fit with the best of them.  He has lately been having lots of trouble at school being aggressive with teachers and classmates.  He is not really the typical PT patient, but I just couldn’t resist trying this. The idea would be to start with yoga, focused sessions, but eventually get him to start using these strategies “in the moment” when the rage strikes.

From the first moment, he loved it.  It really amazes me how easily kids can “get in the zone”.  I have been in yoga classes and seen others…. and often struggle myself, with really letting going, “quieting the mind” I believe is yoga speak for the concept.  But I mean: not worrying about if I look stupid, if my butt is supposed to be that high up in this pose, why the girl next to me is doing so much better, and darn it if she doesn’t look a lot better in her spandex than me too, where did she buy that top I wonder?… breath dang it!! That is what it sounds like in my head throughout most of a yoga class.  But my buddy here seemingly stays really focused the whole 30 minutes or so that we practice together.  He starts and ends focusing on his breath.

Showing me his moves- child's pose

And I too have had my most focused, in-the-moment moments with this little boy.  Listening to him breath (I talk a lot with him about breathing in the good, the life, all things positive… and exhaling the bad, the stress, everything that is bothering him.  I hear him breath and I see him working to do just that.  I see his body and face relax.  And that constant breathing…. just typing about it now makes that lump in my throat, it really is powerful.  And every time that we are done, he sits up and opens his now sleepy eyes and I say… how do you feel.  “Relaxed” he says with a smile.

And with that, the light in me really does recognize the light in him. That, my friends, is namaste…. and you don’t have to know much about yoga to know that.

This is staged… but we wanted a little reminder of our mad skills!
The tias really love the idea too. So much that they have rearranged his daily schedule (which is highly structured because his behavior is lots better with consistent/predictable days) with two 30 minute yoga/relaxation sessions.  I worked with the tias forideas to talk him through some of the different meditations we do and they thought it was great and might even start it with the whole house.  This yoga business is contagious.





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