I may have mentioned (a dozen times!) that I teach YogaKids classes at a local DC studio. I teach 2 classes, one for 3-4 year-olds and one for 5-8 year-olds. Often I find I dread teaching these two classes. It often takes me an hour to get there and an hour and a half to get back (class ends at 5:45 pm - smack-dab in the middle of DC rush hour). There are usually the same kids every session, so I feel like I am reaching ever deeper into my rapidly emptying bag of tricks to keep them interested. There is usually the one little girl, whose company I will lovingly call a "challenge" to enjoy. There are usually 2 or three boys whose company I will lovingly call "impossible" to enjoy. Then there is the group of three kids (a sister-brother pair and their best friend) who are just lovely...but having been coming to yoga class since they were infants, so they are SO comfortable at the studio. The tend to take liberties and listen a little less than attentively.
But yesterday was a class that makes it all worthwhile. In my 5-8 year-old class I had my three musketeers...and that's it. They are sort of a nightmare when it is just the three of them. They know all the songs and all the poses and are not shy about whining until I get so irritated that I let them do what they want.
Yesterday I stood my ground. I had a class planned that I thought was fun and engaging and I was going to teach that class if it was the last damned yoga class I ever taught, and they were going to freaking enjoy it if I had to tie them down and force them to have fun.
We had a many moments of power struggle - all of which I won. They pout, they whine. They grumble. But I still win. Triumphing over 3 6-year-olds. My great accomplishment. So we made our way through class. They were a little glum and I was a little crabby, but I will take glum over crazy day.
Then we came to the Rocking Horse Pose (Dhanurasana which is the Upward Bow or Floor Bow Pose).
Now I have a problem. When I do floor poses on my stomach, I laugh. I can't help it. I get the giggles and they don't stop. So I get into Floor Bow and I start giggling. Then they start giggling. We are all giggling madly, insanely, gleefully. It is wonderful. The rest of class is just a dream. The kids give me hugs before they leave. I go home still high on joy and laughter.
It reminds me that sometime my yoga practice isn't doing poses or breathing. It is learning to be patient and sharing the joy of life with my students. It is letting the laughter out when it needs to come out. It is being joyful and loving even when the situation feels less than ideal for being joyful and loving. This is why I became a teacher.