This is what I mean by the “Upside-down class structure”: I’m continually looking for new information to inspire my teaching of Children with Yoga and had been reading a lot the last few weeks prior. Tai’s mother was concerned that he was going “into himself” as he’d recently been checked out for hearing problems. Tai is 6 years old and we’d seen how disruptive he was getting in his class with his 9 year old sister – although when given the chance he insists he likes his Yoga and wants to continue.
I’d read that the “DaVinci Kids” and the Indigo/Rainbows like to be in their inner worlds, and can be either very quiet and dreamy or disruptive and noisy – because they’re blocking everyone out from whatever dream is going on in their head. Their dreams are too nice to be disturbed.
So before in class, we’d had variations on the usual class structure which I’ve built up over the last ten or so years – and changing the rhythm every ten minutes in an hour’s class. I’ve talked about some of the teaching methods in the kids section of the suZenYoga website in the Background to my Teaching.
But today I decided to change the “rules”. And having read that these kids need to be grounded – taken to the “sweet spot” in their brains between Alpha and Theta brainwaves – decided to turn the class upside down and TELL them that was what was going to happen. Then they were given the choice for the order of the class with just a few guidelines as to what we’d try and get into the class, practice-wise.
I said: “. . . as long as we get to do some relaxing, meditate with the candle and breathe with the stones you can choose when we do that and what postures you’d like inbetween.”
So Ayla spread out her duvet (we use lots of soft stuff in these classes) and she tried to get on with her visualisation . . . and Tai made a little soft house in the corner of the Yoga room to curl up in and then decided to roll all over his sister. I thought we were getting nowhere and his sister wasn’t getting her Yoga practice so I decided we were literally going “upside down” into whatever inverted postures they wanted: A last ditch attempt to see if getting the blood flowing to Tai’s head would take him to the “sweet spot”.
Tai has this version of a supported handstand that he does handsfree on a bolster pillow, so in effect its a handsfree-headstand with feet up against the wall. He invented this and it took him 3 weeks to perfect it. Ayla is now getting very strong in her headstand up against the wall. That “worked”.
Finally, and right at the end of the class in an attempt to make enough progess to carry on with next week, we started Sun Salutations practice – their first teaching. So I said ” . . . now we’ve got 5 minutes to go, so we’re going to do something new and I’d like to have 2 minutes left so you can relax . . .”
It was a miracle! Tai needed literally ONE very quick run through of the practice, got it off pat, realised that it was a practice we just would always keep repeating leading right side, then left, went into relaxation for the last 2 minutes and when his mother arrived promptly demonstrated his practice perfectly. To her amazement.
We promised that his sister Ayla had more attention the next week, which she did. And she told me that even after 4 years in Yoga classes with me she didn’t even realise we had a “class order”!