It's always interesting when a new boy comes to yoga he is always nervous and you can see the wondering in him--Imagine yourself 14 or 15 scared witless and coming to a Yoga class where you don't know if the other boys participate, or if you'll be made fun of, or what the heck is going on--Most times the new boys go to the back row, hide and hope that no one sees them. Today a new boy sat right in front of me--literally, and put on the macho sheild and then it happened--the magic happened where the other boys, the more experienced in jail boys, fall into place and the breathing begins and the centering begins and the new boy looks around with his "I actually think this might be cool" look and relaxes, you can physically see this new boy soften-his face relaxes, his legs release to the floor and he is breathing. It's truly awesome!!!
We worked today on kidney loop and wiring around the abdominals. These boys never cease to amaze me with their strength--I love to remind them to soften in the midst of their strength and open to grace--because the physical changes that occur are really devotional to watch. The boys were holding in plank, stomachs in, buts level with their hips, and legs energized with muscular energy and their faces were well we'll say squished--a reminder to soften their face, and surrender into the strength of the pose and abracadabra their arms got straighter, their thighs lifted to the ceiling and their side body became long and inflated. The freedom that open to grace invokes during poses is really powerful and to be witness is humbling.
At the end of class as we were rolling the mats, one boy came up to me and said, "one year ago today--well actually right now, I had alcohol poisoning and I was in the emergency room and during the end pose (savasana) I relived that whole scary moment. I have not thought once about that time until today and it's weird that this is the day last year that it happened. Do you think it's good that I'm here?" I know that my mouth was hanging open, I focused myself and said that Yes I'm so glad that you're here and I'm glad that you felt safe enough to have that memory here in Yoga. He then explained that his parents treat him like he's invisible and that since that day, they don't really look at him, and here in Yoga he feels like he is noticed. As I tried to control my urge to hug this kid who transformed from 14 to 4 right in front of me--there was a moment of understanding how each of these kids in their own worlds feel invisible--how they are judged for their past and not for their present and how they just want to be seen as a human being who is worthy of attention. I think many people today who are hiding from whatever their life has given them by alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, or whatever their escape is --in the end they are desparately wanting to be seen.