Sunday, March 25, 2007

Me & The Boys

Taught the kids again yesterday—supersmall class—only my two boys Bradley and Kieran were there. I don't know if that's due to the weather, reorganization of the kids classes, or what, but lately, our classes have been two-to-four kids, tops.

Winging It
Even though I only had my boys (who I think are around eight years old), we had a blast. I decided not to sequence the class beforehand, but to wing it instead. This is both a good and bad idea for a green teacher. Although I wasn't at a loss for things to do, it does allow you to be a bit more scattered, especially with kids as an audience. That's not really good for a cohesive practice, but it did work in my favor because the boys are more high energy and more difficult to have a serious practice with than the girls. Had I spent a lot of time on a sequence instead of reading the vibe that day, I would have been at a loss because the boys were fired up! A typical practice doesn't work well for them...they need constant stimulation and challenge, or they get bored.

After the boys came in and got settled, we started centering and breathing and I was totally blown away when Bradley took Guyan Mudra with his hands while sitting! I explained to him what he was doing and tried to tell him a little about his mudra, and was so glad that I had an explanation for it. He obviously had seen it before and associated it with Easy Pose, although he didn't really understand what it's about. To think that a kid under age 10 would come in class and do a hand mudra is unbelievable (if only I could have started practicing at their age).

After centering, I put my Bond, "Shine" CD on. With the weather being bright and invigorating, I wanted music that reflected this. Bradley actually said he loved the first track which I believe is the DeBeers diamond commercial track...pumped up classical. I was shocked. I didn't know what to expect when he said, "What is this music? It's CRAZY!" I was about to jerk the CD out, then he said it's "crazy" but he likes it. One point for the teacher!

I ran the boys through Surya Namaskar A and B, but with a twist or two. I added a mad dog and a flip dog in there, which they found difficult, but they were fully invested in it, and intrigued as they'd never flipped their dogs before. Bradley commented that he wanted to practice it at home, which also really took me by surprise. Kieran tends to be more centered in his practice, but Bradley really gets into the complicated asanas. He wants to be able to do them and although at times in class he may seem like he's not fully engaged, he is. He's thinking about the mechanics of certain asanas and in his head, he's coming to terms with them even if he's not fully there physically.

Since the girls weren't in class, I allowed the boys (who are friends) to be a little rowdier than I prefer. To channel their energy, we tried more challenging asanas in one practice than I would normally. The boys loved Tripod Headstand. I had them work at the wall, and they decided they didn't want to try it at the wall the second time, and both got almost fully extended on their own strength and balance on their second attempt. It was so cool to see—they were so proud of themselves. Handstand at the wall was much harder; one did get all the way up, while the other was fearful of it. It gave me a good opportunity to talk through being OK with one's abilities as they are right now.

Both boys love Crow/Crane, so we did some Crow and I showed them Side Crow, and they tried that as well. Their Crows were just absolutely effortless and lovely, and I could that tell it's their favorite asana. We closed class with a very short Savasana—it's all I can do to get them to be still, much less be still with their eyes and mouths closed. I think they might have shut their eyes for maybe 15 or 20 seconds, tops. But as they rolled their mats up, Bradley's mom peeked in and asked how class was, and Bradley responded with an enthusiastic "It was FUN!" and that was all I needed to hear to make the rest of my day.

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