Editor’s Note: There are many pathways to developing a strong and healthy Sense of Self and yoga instructor Thereza Howling believes that yoga as a tool is much more than a physical practice. She is a certified yoga instructor and currently teaches kids, teens, and adults in Washington State. She is excited to share the result of her love for yoga combined with her experience as a mother of two and years as an Enrichment teacher at a Montessori school. You can learn more about kids’ yoga with Thereza on:her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/howlingkidsyoga or her yoga classes’ blog: https://howlingyogabooks.wordpress.com/
There are many stories I could share about students who have come to my kids/teens yoga classes and had some kind of lesson change their lives in a very positive way. Yoga classes consist of many lessons given in different levels. Students get what they are ready for. I know people who tend to zone out when the teacher speaks about emotions or some kind of digging into yourself so you can evolve into a better person, and that is fine. Many lessons for personal evolution can be taken from a physical perspective, as many athletes can testify.
Today, I will share a story about a student of mine, a ten-year-old boy, who used to take class with me a few years ago. He came to class because his mom wanted him to do at least one physical activity, as he didn’t participate in any school-related sports and mostly liked to play video games at home. The first time I showed him how to do a “yoga push-up”, he tried and could not do it, which is totally acceptable given he was just starting to practice. He felt the need to justify himself and opened up to me, saying that he was “a lazy kid”. If that statement came from himself or was heard by him, I don’t know, but I wanted to help him believe he could do it. In fact, I love to help students believe they can actually achieve anything if they put intent into it! I have learned from my own experience that yoga is a great tool for turning that into reality.
We worked together for a few weeks in a row, meeting once a week, for a pre-teen class. He started to develop strength, endurance and flexibility. He had more than a “yoga push-up” to accomplish, as he had seen me performing an even more challenging pose (one arm balance) and mentioned to me he wanted to learn that “really cool pose”! And so, he managed to do push-ups and worked hard by practicing at home by himself in order to perform that special pose. Then, at the end of the month, when class finished, he asked me to stay and wait for his mom to pick him up to show her his accomplishment. I agreed to stay, and he proudly showed her – she was amazed! Not only she could see his progress physically, not looking lazy at all, but now the mom could also notice how her son had this big motivation, learning to work hard for what he wanted to achieve, of course followed by that sweet sense of accomplishment. After that day, he came back for many classes and was not intimidated by challenging poses or trying to find excuses for not being able to do them. He knew that if he put the necessary effort into it, he could do it or at least see progress towards it.
Many people don’t know their potential and how much they are truly capable of. As a yoga teacher, I see all that comes with a yoga practice as a wonderful set of tools. It delivers an encouraging message to my students, so they can realize their abilities and how much they are capable of accomplishing. That’s why I chose to teach yoga.