When I teach a free community class for Newark Yoga Movement I never know who will show up. Sometimes 2 people, sometimes 20. Sometimes octogenarians, sometimes toddlers. Sometimes brand new yogis, sometimes experienced practitioners.
Yesterday as I was about to begin teaching a small group of yogis in Military Park, I saw a sizable group of people walking along the path carrying yoga mats. There were two grown women with about seven young girls, all somewhere between 8 and 12 years old.
They walked towards us, and started looking around for a place to set up. When I asked if they had done yoga before they all said yes, and explained that they had been there last week. ‘Old pros’, I said.
They all rolled out their mats like they meant business. Then they sat with their legs crossed waiting for class to begin. Their counselor (or teacher or guardian) was keeping an eye on them from a few mats away. There was a brief whisper between two of the young ladies. ‘Girls, are you being conscientious?’ she asked. One of the girls replied ‘Yes’. One ‘Yes, ma’am’.
And they were. So very conscientious. There was none of the usual pre-class chatter that I always hear when there’s a group of kids. There was no wiggling and giggling and fidgeting. They were focused.
After a minute or two a woman at the front of the class turned to one of the girls and asked ‘What does conscientious mean?’
The oldest of the young ladies replied ‘It means that we’re paying attention. That we’re being considerate. That we’re behaving.’
‘Oh, I see. That’s a big word.’ the woman declared.
‘Yes, it’s a big word.’ the girl replied.
I seized the opportunity to jump into the conversation.
‘We have a similar word in yoga’ I said, ‘Mindfulness. Paying close attention to what’s going on, both outside of us and inside. Being aware of our bodies and our breath. Being aware of what is happening in this moment. Being present.’
And with that, we began to breathe together and move together. Conscientiously. Mindfully.
The girls all worked so hard. Moving through each pose. Listening to my directions. Concentrating. Focusing. At the end of the class I complimented them on their practice. Their teacher/counselor explained to me that they were The Supergirls, an awesome group of young women who were spending some time together this summer.
I never know who will show up to a Community Class. Yesterday it was a bunch of Superheroes. Mindful, conscientious Superheroes.
My job brings me so much joy.
A friend of mine came to the class yesterday and filmed us doing the Breath of Joy. Just watching it makes me happy, and fills my body with energy!
Here’s how to do the breath of joy:
Sip breath in through your nose 3 Times. Inhale inhale inhale
Then exhale out of your mouth big! With a Hah! sound from deep down in the back of the throat.
Sip, sip, sip, Hah! Sip, sip, sip, Hah!
If you want to add movements
Sip- arms reach out in front of you
Sip- arms open out to the sides
Sip- arms reach straight up over head
Ha!- fold over head towards to floor and toss your arms back.
Watch the video. Try the breath. Feel the joy!