Since the days of yoga with the wild boys the group has changed: It now has more girls, a number of teeny reception yogis have joined and tooth boy is back after a six month break, now “in charge” of his little brother. The one constant is Simon, who has been faithfully rolled up in his mat or running around in circles for 3 years now.
I confess that sometimes I breath a silent sigh of relief if he doesn’t show up, because he disrupts class like a champion. Last week was no different. Before I even handed out the apple slices. I could only see his little feet sticking out of the mat he had rolled himself up in. “Look Iris, I am a Sushi!” Encouraged by this tooth boy and his little brother jumped on him and pretended to nibble the mat.
Eventually I managed to unroll him, and he spent the sun salutations lying on his belly kneading a piece of blue tack. “Come on Simon, do some yoga with us” - “Can we do Sushi?” Everyone likes that idea, and, knowing from experience to pick my battles, I agree that we’ll do Sushi at story time. Much cheering, and the rest of class flowed reasonably uneventful. When it gets to story time, Simon rolls and unrolls his mat, and eventually decides to sit it out on a bench. He had enough of Sushi for the day.
I always assumed that Simon was made to come to yoga by his parents. The boy clearly did not want to be there. “He was a very efficient yogi today” I white-lied to his mum at pick-up time. “Oh, Simon LOVES yoga. Completely obsessed. He talks about it all the time,” she replied. “In fact, if I offer him a choice of after school clubs, he may pick 3 but insists that the one important one is yoga, and that I must make sure he gets a place. I don’t dare to leave my computer screen on the day they release the after school clubs in case he would not get a space.”
Imagine that. I felt so guilty I could have grabbed the little gomerel and hugged him to bits on the spot. Instead we high fived, and he was on his way.
Assumptions are a dangerous thing. Assumptions prevent us from leading our life to the fullest. I assume that, if someone isn’t paying full attention, he is just bored. I assume that, if the kids don’t break out in a riot, it’ll be an ok class. I assume that, if I put a lot of preparation, the children will really appreciate me. I assume that, if I do a bit of yoga everyday and keep my back pain in check, my life will be ok.
Assumptions lead to low expectations. At least they did not fight too much today. At least I managed to get through it. At least I caught a glimpse of peace during my 10 minute meditation. At least I slept through the night. At least I have a job.
My assumption that Simon hated yoga let me to ignore him largely to keep the peace. What kind of teacher does that make me?
To stay relevant to my kids class: I made myself remember why I am doing this. It’s not the money, for sure. I teach yoga to children to provide tools when life is challenging. To create a little hour of happiness, and to give something to take home and use it when needed.
I have to remind myself, that I don’t know what kind of day these kids had. There are ‘wind days’ to take into consideration. I kid you not, ask any teacher, and they will tell you, that if it’s a windy day, the kids act like a mountain of feathers that’s been blown all over the place. Plan for wind days. I cannot repeat it enough: “Believe in yoga. Trust it works. You are doing great. Om Shanti”