I have had a new boy in the Thursday Boys Class for a couple weeks now, he is a Gangster--I mean a real Gangster--tattooed tear by the eye and all--and the first time I saw him, I got nervous, which was perplexing to me because I've worked with kids for a long time, and I never got nervous.
The first class he was in I remember thinking, about how scared he must be in order to cling to a life that in the core of his being he knows is hard and not what his heart is leading him towards. As he sat right in front of me, I knew that his heart was full of goodness--his eyes radiated it tattooed tear and all! I joke with him know about how cute his face was--more "What the hell?" than "Woohoo we are doing Yoga!" We have talked about how the vibe of the room shifted when the other boys saw that he got into the class--I have to admit, I didn't know what was going to happen at first but I did know that the Yoga would carry us all through and I'm happy to say that it did.
This week, he asked to be in both Wednesday and Thursday classes--I was filled with a jolt of joy that radiated through me and I know that my grin gave me away--Every class that he has been in, he sits right in front of me, every class since the first class he has been practicing with a broken hand (with adjustments ;) ) and he has gotten so strong with self confidence that the other boys are no longer afraid to cheer him on, and they are no longer afraid to be around him, and for the first time he feels part of a positive kula which is similar to a gang I guess. He has become a very strong leader in the classes, and kind of my helper because when the boys get a little rambunctious, all he has to do is turn around and look at them. I cried, the first time he said without prompting--"focus on your breathing, not your talking--you can't breathe if you are talking."
I shared with the boys class about my eating disorder, and how I know what it's like to be in a contast battle with your body--how I am so proud of them for being in Yoga and finally feeling their bodies as allies not enemies. The Gangster said to our Kula, "drugs made me forget about my body I didn't care what happened to me, I was just there existing and since I've been taking Yoga I feel everything happening to me and it's scary because I didn't know that my body could do these things." The whole room understood what he meant and because he said it--the boys' class transformed into a breathing, feeling, sensation filled class with no joking and questions that I know have been inside them but they didn't know how to ask them or if it would be ok to be so vulnerable. Questions came about every muscle we were working, how in Warrior 2 if the knee is not right over the ankle that their knees hurt--:) how in Savasana when I adjust their legs they feel longer and stronger after class--;) it was a sensational class and I have to thank the Gangster for being the leader of our Yoga Gang because I can't imagine him not being in our class, and I can't imagine not learning the lessons that he is teaching.