As a child I remember sitting in the back of the car heading home at night and trying to think of nothing… The best way I came up with was to picture black space and stars whizzing past… I didn’t know at the time that this cessation of thought was meditating. Questions also arose in my mind about why we are here – I saw myself like a brain with a mind, in a body that was looking out on everything… but what are we really? Are we really here and why? I didn’t know that I was connecting to my inner spirit, or higher self – the part of us that is who we really are – the only part that never changes and is the same as every other living being.
As a teenager I was naturally quiet and introvert, but as this is too often viewed as shy, I felt the need to be louder. I used to sit on my bed before going to school and breath deeply, this I found gave me greater confidence and let me find my voice more confidently throughout the day. I didn’t know this was being ‘mindful’, that people practise breathing techniques called Pranayama – and I certainly didn’t connect it to yoga!
I don’t know how many children and teenagers do these things like finding ways to think of nothing, considering our presence on Earth, and consciously breathing deeply for confidence – I know some do because I love to hear their individual ways of calming their minds, but I suspect most don’t and I want to introduce them to these ideas and more – to help young people feel a peace and a sense of calm and happiness in an ever stressful world.
It is the start of the new school year and I am thrilled to be about to teach yoga and mindfulness in two new secondary schools as part of the curriculum and after school, as well as returning to schools I have regularly visited over the last couple of years. In addition, I have new Yoga for Children and Yoga for Teenagers classes starting, that will give kids and teens a chance to practise yoga outside of the school environment. Encourage young people to listen to their breathing and to look at their thoughts, they don’t need to be doing yoga to do yoga…