Mouth dry, heart beating like dove wings in my chest and hands getting a bit sticky…… No, I wasn’t auditioning for X Factor! I was standing in front of over 370 children about to tell them why they should practice yoga.
My path into the wonderful world of children’s yoga has been a non stop roller coaster. Since meeting a Kidding Around Yoga teacher and trainer, Katie Toth, in India in 2012, then on my return being asked to teach disabled children in 2013, excitedly studying with Kidding Around Yoga with their first online training course in 2014, and then being approached by Epping Forest Primary School to start up a children’s after school yoga club. I didn’t want to get off this roller coaster!
And all of those pockets of experience had lead me here. Standing in front of over 370 tiny faces, eagerly looking at me as if I was magic.
“Good morning Epping Forest Primary” Miss Rowe greeted the children. “Good morning Miss Rowe. Good morning friends. Good morning!” The cutest greeting I’d ever heard!
And then the floor was mine…… “Good morning Epping Primary School.” Pleeeeeeaaase don’t let my voice crack and betray my calm exterior. “Good morning Abi. Good morning friends. Good morning.” And the was that adorable greeting again that just melted me and my natural instinct took over. “Does anyone mind if I unroll my magic carpet and come sit with you, please.” Eyeballs bulged wide at my shiny bright mint green yoga mat and mouths opened wide as they eagerly nodded yes.
“So. Does anyone know what yoga is?” My turn for my eyes to widen in shocked delight as lots of hands went up. “It’s a form of exercise” one child shouted at me.
“That’s very true in one respect, but there is so much more than just that and a lot more fun too.”
I could feel the energy of the room change from unsure to excited arm offering as I asked questions and got them more and more involved and intrigued by the topic of yoga.
I explained how the yogis of yesteryear got sore bottoms (giggles) from all that meditating to help bring peace into their minds, and that by watching and copying the animals, meditating became easier. I practiced cat, cow and downward dog (more giggles) and then asked them to think of some animals. Lion came up and I got them to do their loudest lion breath. The unadulterated trying something new is AWESOME look on the 5-8 year olds was heart melting. The 11 year olds on the other hand were taking a bit more effort to persuade. And then someone said monkey, which lead perfectly into monkey mind. We all did our monkeys and then monkeys treading on a scorpion. “Was that peaceful?” I asked. “NOOOOOOOOOOO.”
“Well, I have a little trick to help with that naughty monkey mind”. I held my hands up and sang peace begins with me. And then we all said it together. Then we whispered it and then we said inside our heads. “Was that peaceful?” I asked. “YYYEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSS!” Wooooohooooo, was what I wanted to shout and high five each and everyone of them….. And maybe a few 11 year olds that had started to come round after I caught them showing off their monkeys treading on a scorpion.
And then we finished off with one of my favs. Jogging Through The Jungle. Some where a bit reluctant at first but as we jogged and roared, everyone was joining in (including the teachers)! And then, as if by magic, my time was up. Nnnnooooooo, I wanted to shout! I don’t want to finish. There’s so much more we can sing, play and laugh at. But, I allowed Miss Rowe to let them out class by class to playtime, hopefully practicing some of the yoga postures I had shown them OR Jogging Through The Jungle!
I left Epping Primary School with a really big smile on my face (not like the sweaty palmed new kid on the block that first went in that morning) and with my security pass for the year. Another exciting yoga path I’m Looking forward to sun salutating down and learning from my new friends.