When I started teaching Kids Yoga a few years ago, my personal practice was consistent and evolving as far as asana. My life was also in a turbulent phase after some unexpected changes in my business, which for me meant other limbs of yoga, such as meditation, the Yamas, and mindful breathing, were not in my daily practice. When I think back to the kids classes I taught then compared to now, I see that my personal state of being was reflected in my teaching. My classes followed a lesson plan “recipe”, yet I spent more time on the theme, creative movement, games, and asana than I did on teaching mindfulness and breathwork. I recall spending hours trying to create the perfect class and ensuring that each part fit in logically with the others. Being in the stressful state of mind that I was at that time, I was missing opportunities to be mindful and accepting in my own practice, which translated into me focusing less on it with my young students.
Around that time, I started working with an “embodied business” coach who incorporated breathwork and reiki into her sessions. Lying on her reiki table with my eyes closed while being coached about how to grow my small business was a new, and very cool, experience. It was also unusual. Yet, I realized that when my mind and body were calm and present, and the reiki energy was focused where I needed it most, the swirling tornado of thoughts in my head would arrange themselves into articulate sentences and manifest into logical, focused conversations and writing. It felt like I was observing the conversation rather than actually having it myself.
As I write this, I realize it sounds a little “woowoo”. But I’m not woowoo. I actually lean towards type A (I’m an A minus J). I am typically left-brain focused. Yet I am open-minded. And when I felt overwhelmed in my roles as a business owner and busy mom so much that I sought help, I was completely willing to let my coach work her magic. Clearly what I was doing wasn’t working. I didn’t have anything to lose and had everything to gain.
And I did gain. I took in so much from her coaching – simple, foundational concepts, such as “it’s none of your business what other people think of you”, or “you will have your tribe, you can’t force it”, or “it’s not about you” that gave me the ability to see the forest through the trees (cliché – sorry). Clearing these pathways allowed the best of my type A-ness to go to work on my business. It also allowed the other limbs of yoga to flourish in my mind and body.
The self-doubt and fear of failure and resistance to vulnerability and anxiety became manageable, and oddly, beneficial at times. At first, I felt fatigued by these constant reminders, but it didn’t take long until I started to feel different. The concepts we discussed in our sessions became natural thought patterns for me. This changed EVERYTHING.
This was about the time I became even more focused on teaching yoga and mindfulness to teens and tweens. I felt the goodness that 360 degrees of yoga gave to me, and I decided to do everything I could to bring this to the very impressionable tween/teenage group. I took more training, I read more books about the developmental phases of that age group, and I taught as many classes as I could. When I wrote a lesson plan for an upcoming class, I allowed my own experience to shape my teaching. It was more natural and authentic to teach this way, and the connection with the kids was and is genuine.
We all go through different phases, and our yoga practice will reflect that. This isn’t good or bad. It’s life. I have learned through my experience that giving attention to my practice, my self-care, and to always being a yoga and life student has made me a better teacher and mentor to the young people in my world. They deserve it. It’s Karma.