Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Yoga For Amazing Kids

The amazing thing about teaching yoga, is you can always learn and grow from your students. While taking classes is also inspiring, students can teach a teacher so much. Some of my greatest teachers, have been the kids who take yoga with me. Kids display so much kindness, energy, enthusiasm, and freedom of ego that I love to be around. Recently, I was asked to teach a group of amazing kids diagnosed with special needs. It was part of a family therarphy group. While the parents had time with a Therapist, I had the privilage to work with these amazing kids. The boys had various diagnosis from Aspergers, ADHD, and autism. The issue and complaint of their schools is that they lack focus. Here I am about to lead these boys in yoga, and without any regard to the clinical evaluation, I let yoga work its magic. These boys displayed tremendous focus, listened, moved their bodies, socialized with eachother, and as expected, had fun!!! We did various breathing exercises, yoga poses, yoga games, and more! They showed so much compassion for one another, encourgaed each other, and had a blast! After the session, one of the therapists, introduced an altnernative theraphy of Accupressure/Accupuncture. A tiny magnet was placed on all the boys ears, including myself and the parents to support the boys. The magnet was on a pressure point called Shen Men, meant to bring a sense of calm to the body. As a former NYS teacher, I can honestly say that the lack of arts, physical education, and the governments constant adjustments to the quality of education inspired me leave the field, and pursue teaching yoga full time. It's so easy to blame the kids, diagnos them, and blame the teachers or even the system. How about modelling the countries that seem to be excelling in education? How about acknowledging HUMAN NATURE? Kids have a lot of energy, they need to be stimulated, they need to move their bodies, especially little boys. We are so quick to diagnos a child with a "special need", or to suggest medication, but did schools ever take the time to analyze gender? Meaning, how about acknowledging the little boys have a lot more energy than little girls, are different hormonally , are stimulated differntly, and learn in a differnt way. Forcing a little boy to sit in a desk all day, color, and talk about their feelings, when you do not provide daily recess or physical education is ridiculous! This was the case for the one little boy diagnosed with ADHD. From my one experience with him, he displayed a wonderful amount of focus, listened well, and moved his body with energy that adults only dream of. This topic is one of frustration to me, because on a global scale, our kids in North America do not meet the standard, not even in ELA, when English is the primary language, and obesity rates are soaring. As I want my posts to inspire, and be positive, I want to encourage schools and teachers to take some time in the day to let kids move their bodies. Have kids do yoga, have them jump up and down, have them dance a little. The bad weather should not be an excuse. Kids are amazing teachers, provided we create a forum for them to grow. I am so grateful for this experience, and hope to watch and witness these boys grow and excell in all areas with their new found love for YOGA. ~ OM Shanti

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