I've been staring at this blank page for an hour going over everything that happened this morning in the first ever 3 hour Yoga class with both boys and girls. To say that Buck is a shining star of yoga is an understatement, to say that the kids hung on every word of every instruction is not even a description of the depth of what was going on, to say that each of the kids did some of the most amazing yoga I've ever seen would not even paint a picture, so I sit here and replay the most amazing day I've ever experienced. I am feeling blessed to have had Buck who is the only person besides my glorious teacher Karen who has had the opportunity to share in the energy and the beauty of yoga in JDC.
We started with all of the kids coming into the gym-- there was 29 kids and one staff member, two guards for our protection :) (which between you and I we totally do not need). The kids were so excited you could feel them before they came into the room--they filed onto their mats, the front row filled with the long term boys, the most dedicated of the students, and one boy who has told me he hated me every time he saw me--the same boy who told me that being a Hindu is worshiping the devil and the very same boy, who was not giving up his front row mat for anything. The girls were in the back row, there was 4 of them, one pregnant girl, one girl who laid down the entire time and two dedicated girls who rocked it with the female staff member. We began with our centering and rememberance of ego vs intelligence, and then I introduced Buck and he took over like he had been teaching there forever, he held each of the kids from the very first word--and when it was time to stand in Samastitihi, and the words came out of his mouth, the kids every one repeated it back to him---after every time he said it---it was awesome!! Yes, to answer the question, I cried--three times, at the magnificence of the moments that were shared between Buck and the kids and between the kids and themselves. Buck took the kids through the Ashtanga Primary Series, which the kids did beautifully, with an open heart and the strength of the silent warriors that they are. The front row was indescribable at their attention to their poses and the attention to the teacher--they were unwavering at their learning of some of the harder poses, and they were supportive of each other and the accomplishments that they each made even if they themselves could not get into the pose. WOW! To see them be supportive of each other when they themselves have had a life of not being supported was a testiment to the power of yoga. They worked, hard on the Sun Sals, Buck broke them down and the kids did the arm balance floaty deal that Ashtanga is famous for, the floaty thing that is so impressive to see, and the floaty thing that I secretly hope that the person next to me is not going to do the ENTIRE class through every vinyasa :)----ok I digress.
The staff told me that some of these kids have been practicing in their cells up to 3 hours per day in getting ready for our 3 hour Yoga Extravaganza--it showed, they are strong, they were ready, and I hope that someday I will be able to show my gratitude to the staff at JDC because the magic that was happening on this day was incredible.
The kids moved through the Primary series, and we finished with Savasana, they were still, so still and it happened, the breath--the room was being breathed as each kiddo's inhale and exhale was in unison. At the end, we left question time for Buck, kids asked about yoga, how long had he been practicing, about teachers, and a few very few questions about tattooing---it was beautiful. One of the boys, said, "are you going to come back?" That's all that needed to be said at how the kids feel about yoga--even the toughest kids get into it and it opens them so much that their hearts radiate literally radiate and fill the room with beauty.
As Buck and I parted ways I thanked him for his help, we hugged, and a kinship grew between us because of these kids--we know what amazing things happened today, we will always share that with not only each other but with each kid and staff member. Buck has my gratitude, and I am in awe of his ability to teach--not just show but teach each pose with humility and grace.
Teaching yoga to me is an act of being in service to your students--you have the highest level of responsiblity to the teachings and to your students, as teachers you honor the lineage of yoga through your teaching--teaching these kids is a gift, a blessing beyond words. I am filled with gratitude for the teachings of yoga, for the beauty of the kids and for my new friend Buck, who I know will make another trip to JDC to show those crazy arm balances -- I'll finish with a poem that I love that sums up today:
At night, I have a habit
At night, I remember every student I have taught that day,
I remember them and draw their heart like mine and mine like theirs.
Thank you to the students of JDC for giving me the opportunity to be in service to yoga.