From Miss Kinetic Energy To Ommmmmmm
Suzie kicked off her tennis shoes the moment she entered the yoga room. With a quick flick a disjoined pair of pink Nike Freedom Lites flew through the air, landing smack in the center of our yoga space. Moments later Suzie, who I have always knows to be a pretty mellow, yet academically gifted student, started leaping around, singing to her self. She paid no mind to the group of young yogis sitting and quietly talking on their yoga mats; they paid no attention to her.
Once finally seated on the floor, she struggled to get her new lavender mat out of its plastic wrap, appealing to me for help. One of her yogamates, a sometimes nervous little girl with special education challenges who has been a yoga student for a while, came over to help her. "How interesting," I thought to myself, "the anxious special education student calmly helping the brightest girl in the room who is acting completely helpless and not a little as though she is jumping out of her skin."
Her little mat finally flat on the floor, Suzie commenced rolling around, even rolling up in her mat as though it were a blanket all the while making funny little noises. I decided not to say a word to her. The school teacher in me wanted to make her pay attention and admonish her. The much wiser yoga instructor in me let her be. As Suzie was busily filling the room with wild kinetic energy, her classmates sat peaceably on their little mats. Gratefully, her energy wasn't contagious. With an eye fixed on Suzie just to make sure she didn't flop on top of another student or dance out of the room, I opened class. For the next 30 minutes we practiced different yoga partner poses. "Friendly warrior," I instructed my young yogis, "is a pose of both strength and friendship." Once into the posing, Suzie seemed more engaged with those around her but only because she had to be.
Toward the end of class we took a guided meditation to Fairy Land. Afterward we talked about our experience. "I just drifted away on a cloud," one of the students shared as we talked about our meditations. "I loved the toadstool table and chairs!" Suzie quietly told the group. To my surprise, we were all whispering (especially Suzie) in the quiet calm of the yoga room, and it was at this very point that Suzie seemed to have finally slowed down. She had gone from 100 miles an hour to 1. And I could tell by the look in her eyes, that this amazed her.
As we parted I asked her what part of the class she enjoyed. Without hesitation she told me, "The meditation." Her mom later told me that Suzie did not want to come to yoga and only tried it because she knew me and because her mom insisted. Two days later I saw Suzie and asked if she would be returning to yoga. She quietly smiled.
The lesson for me is to let students like Suzie be (kinetic energy and all) and change the energy in the room which, in turn, transforms all that kinetic energy to . . . Ommmmmm.