“I am unique. I am creative. I am bold. I am ME.” These were the affirmations we modge-podged onto the back of mirrors in kids yoga on Sunday. Later in the class, we practiced reciting our affirmations while looking at ourselves in the mirror. Each time getting a little louder- a little bolder. As I led the students sitting in front of me; however, my attention kept being pulled to one student who was taking bold to the next level- we’ll call him Mr. Bold- opening doors, picking up blocks, inspecting holes in the wall, anything but staying on his mat.
This is not the first class I’ve had a friend who didn’t want to follow along the entire time and I’m certain it won’t be my last. Thankfully, I had been warned by his mom that he needs a little more structure than most and had my sister come along to assist. She spent the class following Mr. Bold around as he decided when he wanted to sit with us and when he wanted to stray. (And quickly capturing photos for me when he did want to participate.) Despite his restlessness, my other students remained engaged, so we carried on with class and used the Yoga Pretzels deck to help create stories we could act out in yoga poses.
After movement, we played a mindfulness game called “Pass the Squeeze.” It’s usually played silently, but I started it off with a question- “What would you like to bring with you into the new year?” As they took turns answering, they squeezed their neighbor’s hand. Answers included “more dancing,” “hugs for the whole world,” and a very enthusiastic “beach toys!” When it was my turn to answer I had planned on saying “more yoga,” but surprised myself by saying “compassion- for others, but also myself.” I don’t believe in the saying “new year, new me.” I think there’s about as much of a chance of me waking up as a new person on January 1st as there is of Mr. Bold leading us in a meditation. And while there were moments I was frustrated I couldn’t keep his attention, it occurred to me I didn’t need to. I only needed to provide a safe space – a space in which he could be himself- unique, creative, and BOLD.
My next class will be February 3rd at Prana Studio in Annapolis. Namasté!