Many times I get requests from parents if I could do anything to change their kids and thats one of the primary reasons they want to send their kids for yoga programs, hoping that some positive changes happen which they haven’t been able to bring about ?
I listen patiently to all their concerns and say let’s hope for the best! But to tell you the truth, never have I tried to change or influence any kid for that matter because I know that it doesn’t work.
When I first started teaching kids, it was the most frustrating experience I have ever had!! Atleast when you are teaching adults, they seem to listen to you and it feels like things are in your control but when I started teaching kids, it felt like everything was going out of control. The only tool you had to control the situation was to yell or threaten them… (this is what most school teachers do) and even that doesn’t work well.. It used to be such a desperate situation, not knowing what will happen next and just waiting for the class to get over soon and getting rid of them! Well, this wasn’t the situation with all kids, but with many of them whom I felt were so difficult to handle.
It was one of the most unpredictable and difficult assignments I had ever taken on and always kept me on my toes. This continued for a few months – I have even seen veteran teachers who have been teaching adults for years, throw up their hands in despair and lose their cool when they are with kids!
What I learnt over a few classes and by being with some other teachers who were able to handle the kids comfortably was that it’s not about the kids but it’s about you! If you try to change or control them it doesn’t work, most of the time you are only reacting and not responding to what they are doing and that’s why it feels like you are not in control. So you need to loosen up a bit rather than being like a hard rock…to move over from trying to control everything and become more accepting.
So once I figured that out, I realised that i need to work upon me and try to change myself and not the kids! Whether yoga was working for me or not was so evident when kids were around …i was far away from being in yoga ?
So it took a lot of sadhana, but over a period of time this evolution happened that though I never tried to control anyone or anything, still things felt in control. Once this happened, I began to enjoy taking more and more kids programs..being around with kids became so much more fun ? And surprisingly, I heard from many kids and parents that the kids enjoyed being with me as well!
With this confidence, slowly I graduated from teaching day programs to trying my hand with residential programs ..thats when Srishti first happened last year in December! Again, I didn’t know how it would turn out.. Whether I would be able to handle all the kids for 3 days and if parents would trust and send their kids to me!! It was a huge responsibility which felt quite overwhelming to begin with since there are so many things to take care of during a residential program. Again, just stuck to the fundamentals, of not trying to rule over things with an iron hand and just trying to maintain my inner balance and allowing things to take shape.
It’s been a year now, with numerous such programs being completed successfully…! The feedback from parents and kids has been encouraging enough for me to continue offering more such programs ??
I have never attempted to take the burden of trying to change anyone since it anyways doesn’t work and I don’t want to do things which don’t work! The only thing I have continued to do, is to work upon myself and if things or people around me change, then it’s a bonus! And I feel this is what parents could do as well – instead of trying to change their kids, why don’t you first try and change yourself? When you try doing that, maybe you will realise that this was the most difficult thing to do, so then how to expect your kids to change ?
So with whatever programs that I’m doing, my only endeavour is to see if this can be a sadhana or a tool for me to evolve myself – whatever else that happens around it is a side benefit! My hope is that if yoga has touched me, then it will touch others around as well ?
4 thoughts on “Teaching kids – an acid test for yoga!”
After 3 days of srishti programme in may this year,i found my son brimming with energy and full of experiences like trekking;pottery making;running in rain and doing everything right to impress Mukul anna then it was time to listen to him carefully what was really so unique about Mukul anna? so i must say hats off to u mukul for being fantastic with the kids??
Thanks Sonal ??
Hi mukul,after reading this article I hv reached one conclusion to tk up this challenge again…which I dropped being in dilemma…whether it would be worth or just a waste of time n energy ….specially loved the last line of ur experience has touched my soul so deep..that I really feel grateful to God as well as the medium he connect us with to move on…
I’m a Hatha YOGA instructor n taking small steps to reach higher goals. ?
Thanks Shaveta for sharing your experiences and very happy if this had helped your journey in some way.. Wish you the best in life ??