Suzie kicked off her tennis shoes the moment she entered the yoga room. With a quick flick of her two little feet, a dis joined 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, academically gifted student, started leaping around, singing to her self. She paid no mind to the group of young yogis sitting and talking quietly on their yoga mats and they paid no attention to her. Once finally seated on the floor, she struggled to get her 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 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 blue 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 to not say a word to her. The school teacher in me wanted to make her pay attention and stop moving around but 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. 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.
Towards the end of class we took a guided meditation to Fairy Land. Afterwards we talked about what we experienced. "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 in the quiet calm of the yoga room and it was at this very point that Suzie seemed to finally slow down. She had gone from 100 miles an hour to 1. And I could tell by the look in her eye, that this amazed her. As she left 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. Days later when I asked Suzie what she thought about yoga and if she would be returning she simply smiled.
I know, had my yoga class been more hyper Suzie would have orbited! Somehow by letting her be and changing the energy in the room, she was able to calm herself down. What a lot for a little girl to learn :)