How Teaching Kids Strengthens Me

At each class I teach, I learn more from my students than the content I share with them. How each person practices a pose, interacts with challenges and experiences physical and environmental chaos reveals how yoga happens, how positivity inspires action and how we all grow.

Some of my most joyful and enlightening classes have been with kids. Seeing how they gleefully approach the poses just for the fun of it, with occasional concern for alignment, with consistent interest in being a part of a group and with less fear of failure than most adults has helped me increase those qualities in my own practice.

In 2015, I taught a weekly yoga & meditation class at a middle school in Baltimore City. The environment was more chaotic than any yoga class most have experienced. Kids coming and going from the classroom. A model runway class in the hallway blaring house music. Mega loud room with constant distractions. Regardless, the kids would sit still in meditation with relative ease, barely opening an eye throughout the madness.

One week, we practiced in a quieter part of the campus. Chirping birds replaced the thunderous thud of house music. Easy access to calming the mind, right? The kids hated it. They said they were more comfortable blocking out distractions than sitting in a quiet zone.

That experience is partly why I keep my classes physically interactive. Yes drishti is important. Yet sometimes life comes so fast that focusing on a still part of a wall, or whatever your external inspiration may be, isn't possible. Your strength and your ability to establish peace and joy must come from within. I learned more about doing that while teaching kids. I will always be grateful to them.