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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Activity versus Achievement

Our theme today was a quote by John Wooden, the infamous basketball coach from UCLA--he said, "Never mistake activity for achievement." I posed the question to the boys what is the difference and how does it relate to yoga. Is doing the poses enough to gain achievement or are we just practicing an activity? Do we get more out of activity or achievement? The answers were amazing--they sat for a long time thinking about exactly what I was talking about--and I let them sit in the silence of their own thoughts--I had convinced myself that I would sit in the silence until someone spoke--letting the questions and the thoughts percolate the answers forward. And after a long period of silence, and the kids understanding that the questions were not retorical, they began to explain that activity is just doing something without thought or end result and achievement is a goal--a finishing place. I stayed silent and the kids followed along, and then another boy said, in yoga practice is the achievement not the doing of each pose--you can do Warrior 2 1000 times, but until you understand the reason you're doing it it's just an exercise--AAAHHHHH!!!! the angels sang!!!!! And the boys understood---interstingly, in that moment I thought we would have this amazing yoga practice full of achievers---you know that feeling where you've realized that what you thought and what is are two completely different things---that was our practice today. We were moved from our usual room into a classroom, and it was full FULL of posters, stickers, books, pictures, sayings, wow talk about visual overload and the kids after the beautiful centering and talk the room EXPLODED with a frenzy of talking and WOW the kids really had a hard time conentrating. I kept bringing the theme back into the room, thought maybe they would focus on what we just shared--NOPE!--They worked on Warrior 2, thinking this is the pose, the pose that they talked about in the centering--NOPE! one kid was sick and ran out to puke in a trash can---it became evident to me that the room we were in is not condusive to Yoga too much stimulation on the outside and the kids were not going inside--so I conceeded that in my theme activity versus achievement was my answer---the kids were just doing an activity without any achievement at all--so we took the last 15 minutes for Savasana with some flute music, the room settled--after about 7 minutes in Savasana they finally calmed down enough to achieve Savasana and in that moment I understood activity versus achievement--so I owe a big thank you to the rambunctious, teenager boys of JDC, they were my teachers today in all the chaos of activity.

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