Sunday, February 6, 2011

What Can Kindergartners Teach Me About Yoga?

I'm kinda in love with yoga lately. I took almost two weeks off from it because of my ridiculous back injury last weekend (no, I didn't get it from shoveling which would have been normal- I instead slipped on ice, didn't even fall all the way down but managed to tweak my back somehow, wah). Yesterday I decided to try it. My back was still hurting but I thought of all things, yoga is the thing to try. If I decide to go down to child's pose and lie there the rest of class, no one would even bat an eyelash.

Luckily, it didn't come to that. I modified poses a little bit, but in general I think yoga helped my back. Can't say the same for running this morning, but why talk about negative things like the fact that running + me = worst enemies?

Let's talk instead about all the important lessons that my kindergarten students have taught me about yoga...

1. Push Ups or Chaturanga Dandasana (haha I love yoga lingo). I will admit I am not the most awesome at yoga push ups. I try to do them but by the time I get to the 15th of the yoga class, there is no way I am doing it correctly. I never gave much thought to do until I saw my kindergartners doing "push ups" one morning when I told them we needed to get some exercise. They were in push up position all right, but there arms were not moving at all... it was just butts in the air, butts down, butts in the air, butts down and then of course "look, we are doing push ups!" As ridiculous as they looked, I can imagine that I may look similar by the the middle of class. So now I swallow my (pointless) pride and sometimes put my knees down. Girl push ups are better than butt push ups.

2. Slow Breaths. I literally am impressed by people in yoga in how SLOW they can get their breathing. When we do the "oms" at the beginning of class I've taken like 13 breaths while people are still letting out one. I figured this didn't matter much until my kindergartners got involved. Sometimes when they are being particularly insane, I will tell them to take a deep breath. Without fail when I say this I have 20 children who sound like they are hyperventilating. This does NOT calm children, it makes them more crazy. So I've now taught them how slowly you need to take a breath in order for it to actually calm you. Hmm, perhaps I need to take my own advice?

3. Time to Breathe. One of my favorite of the "mind" concepts in yoga is the idea of breathing in a difficult moment. You would think that yoga would teach me this and then I would apply it to kindergarten, but in fact teaching kindergarten has made me better at doing this in yoga. As you can imagine, teaching kindergarten requires a certain amount of patience. Though truthfully, its more often the parents and other people at my job who require the true patience. Still though, I've learned when I am waiting for something (let's say a child is taking a full minute to get out what should've been a 3 second answer- c'mon you know what I'm talking about), it's best to just think about breathing rather than how long it is taking for that child to zip his jacket, ahh! I'm still working on applying this concept when adults piss me off though...

4. Don't Get Discouraged. I'll be honest, I'm not a natural "yoga person." I clearly don't have the relaxed personality for it and don't even get me started on flexibility. I am literally one of the least flexible people ever. I can't do so many of the cool yoga poses... crow, wheel etc. Oh and downward dog is definitely NOT a resting position for me. But you know what? There are kiddos in my class who struggle with reading, writing and/or math every single day. Sure some kids hear me explain something once and get it, but others have to listen really carefully, try really hard, do the modified version and still might not be even close to perfect. Do I suggest they give up on kindergarten? Nope, I modify it for them... just like the yoga teachers do for me. So I won't give up on yoga either. I'll just love it more. Maybe someday you'll see me doing a sick headstand.

Oh yeah, and it's Superbowl Sunday right? Who are you rooting for? If you don't care at all (and I really don't, so I hear you), tell me something fun you did this weekend. AND, go visit Lisa and wish her a Happy 30th Birthday!!!


  1. Thanks for the shout out! I thought of you on Friday at my party since I know you've been at a LOT of 30ths. I thought - now this is a themed party that Kelly would enjoy because it did not require anyone to dress up. ;)

    I am half-cheering for the Packers, mostly because that's the neighboring state's team. But I really don't care all that much either way (and will likely only watch the first half, if that!)

  2. I am still terrible at taking slow breaths. But you're so right, hyperventilating does not help anybody and if anything it makes it worse!

    We are not watching the superbowl. Mostly because we don't have cable and partly because we don't care. Lol

  3. I'm sitting here "watching" the Superbowl with Nick. He's playing with his iPhone, I'm on my computer, and the game is on at the same time....we're such a pair! I'm routing for the Packers, only because the Steelers have won way too many Superbowls!

    I think it's great that you have been true to your goals and are doing more yoga. I am not flexible, or relaxed either, but as we both know that is the point of yoga! To get you more flexible and relaxed. I know yoga is something I should do weekly, and I think I may just have to suck it up and pay for a class already, rather than using the TV (no motivation there).