Last week I did a partner yoga lesson with a 5th grade class followed by the same lesson with Marcey's 4th grade class the next day. I have only done meditation with the 5th graders once, whereas with Marcey's class I am in her room leading a yoga/meditation lesson almost every week. Being able to do this same yoga session with these two different classes back-to-back made me really reflect on the power of practice. The 5th graders were fantastic - enthusiastic, excited and willing to try almost everything. But they were unsure of how to settle into breath work and how to sequence some of the movements. Savasana was a new learning experience as it is for most novice yogis. They giggled and fell over, and constantly looked around at what others were doing, which is totally normal for anyone new to yoga. Being patient, knowing the poses, and focusing on the breath, as well as yourself, are things that come with regular practice.
In contrast, Marcey's class knew the drill so to speak. They settled into the breathing activity right away and took it all very seriously. When they partnered up, they appeared confident of their skills and checked in with each other frequently. When it came time for meditation and savasana, all of them settled into it immediately and peacefully. At the beginning of the year with Marcey's kids, there were a few that weren't interested in yoga/meditation or couldn't sustain savasana for even 1-2 minutes. Now those same kids are eager participants and sink into savasana like pros.
Seeing the change in Marcey's kids in comparison to the group that hadn't done much yoga/meditation this year was eye opening for me. It reinvigorated my excitement for bringing yoga/meditation into classrooms and teaching kids the incredibly valuable skills that come with a regular yoga practice.