There is something about the beginning of a new school year that puts electricity in the air--you can actually feel the excitement of kids going back to school. The smell of freshly sharpened pencils and erasers brings me immediately back to kindergarten and my very first day of school.
The practices this week were on new beginnings. The focus was on how each day is a new beginning- that there is never a day that you cannot begin your life. Every morning you have the opportunity to begin again, and focus on what lies ahead not dwell on where you have been. People make mistakes in their life, we all have, but not making them again and learning from them is what shows that you are leading your life with intelligence. In yoga, each time we step onto our mat, we begin again with the poses, even if we have done them 1000 times--if we truly begin again each pose has something new to offer and each pose gives us a new insight into ourselves. The kids drank this up--one boy said that he always thinks about what he did wrong, but never what he could do not to do it again. Almost every boy in the room was shaking his head in agreement. I posed the question, what if every morning instead of waking up thinking about what you may have done wrong, you focus on what you have done that is right--and one boy who only comes to yoga when forced by the staff said, if I think of things I've done right, maybe I can forget the things that I have done wrong and have a better day because I wake up irritated all the time--I mean seriously pissed off--!! Every boy in the jail said that they wake up irritated because they sit in their cells and think about what they have done wrong---another boy said do you think that maybe that is because I had a lot ot time outs when I was a kid--like being alone makes me feel like I'm in time out and in trouble, so when I'm in my cell I feel like a constant time out. Wow there was a revelation for me....I've never thought about that, I wonder if maybe as adults that is why we are afraid to be alone--or afraid to become still because we immediately revert back to a feeling of in trouble in time out. I felt like in that moment we are all somehow linked in the "time out". I felt like instead of poses, today we were supposed to have a dialogue because there were so many things that the kids wanted to share, so many releases of feelings that needed to happen--but I'm not a psycologist, and felt like the class was crossing over so we began to center and breathe and become ok with stillness if just for today--and an amazing thing happened, every boy, focused more in the poses, and was so still you could hear a pin drop in savasana.