Christmas for me came Dec. 26 when my good yoga friend Buck came to guest teach at the JDC. The kids love him, he's a sweet beautiful practitioner who has fallen in love with these kids as I have. This time I brought Eli, my teacher's son to help with the practice and also to show the kids that this hip 20 year old man who yoga has touched his entire life, is cool-- and they saw it, and they loved him.
Christmas has always been a weird time for me, I've never really been into the orgy of gift giving-- it all seems so completely weird to buy things for people who really don't want them, and to receive gifts from people that you could get for yourself if you really needed them. As a single mother at 19, there has always been the pressure of money. I come from an upper middle class family who never understood why at 19 I didn't have money to shower my daughter with gifts--- and so the pressure to give her the latest and greatest stroller at 3 was pretty intense. In order to fulfill these kinds of things I worked alot--- I worked when I should have been parenting, I worked when I should have been doing anything. I was really blessed with a good work ethic from way back in my family history-- my family from Northern Minnesota came from working people-- both sets of my grandparents were immigrants and working was their life-- my grandfather-- who has always been the love of my life, worked and then retired with an incredible pension and benefits that have served him now longer than he worked to earn them-- it's a remarkable story for another time.
This great work ethic has served me well over my life, and that is why I now can spend the day after Christmas with the kids at JDC-- my life has transformed from working for a paycheck, to what I like to call sharing, growing, and living to breathe life into the hearts of the kids of JDC---
As Buck, Eli and I were in the gym of JDC, I was litterally trembling with excitement, this Christmas Practice was all these kids had to look forward to over the last weeks, and I couldn't wait to see their faces-- this was Christmas to me, kids running in to find their mat, and open the presents of their heart.
Buck has been to JDC, 3 previous times, and many of the kids have seen him all 3 times. Buck has a strong presence about his yoga, he is an amazing practioner, and he is a beautiful teacher-- his strong love for yoga comes through in his confidence with his teaching-- the kids were silent during the beginning of the practice, watching, really drinking in all that Buck could give them--- the front row compirsed of many of the kids that Buck has seen, and they all had uncontrolled smiles on their faces. Having a man come into JDC who is a practioner, is a big deal-- after 2 years, some of the kids hear the voice of Charlie Brown's teacher when I talk-- I love to infuse them with Buck's voice and wisdom-- it breaks the monotany of an old lady who really is into the placement of their feet ;) Buck teaches Ashtanga, an ass kicker of a practice designed for young teenage boys-- and they eat it up, it's face paced, jumpy, floaty and really fun--- it's a strong practice, one I like to visit, but really would not like to live, at 40 I'm not into jumping--- Buck is amazing at his craft, really skilled teacher, and his yoga is stunning-- he has a quiet confidence about him that puts his students at ease and in that moment of ease he has them open and he fills them with yoga-- it's humbling to watch and I feel more blessed everytime he comes.
Eli was a new addition, he also has a quiet confidence that puts everyone around him at ease. He settled into the 3rd row next to one of the kids who is heavily medicated, and well kind of "not his best self", but Eli in his beautiful way, talked him through a lot of poses, Eli was quietly guiding him into the best poses he could do. It was pretty auspicious that he was next to this boy, because through the last year of my teaching him, he laid on his mat, with an occational manic outburst-- but with Eli, he listened, and he did most of the 3 hour practice. Eli has lived yoga, his beautiful mother is my Teacher, and you could definatly see her shining through him-- it was spectacular to be witness too. Eli has said many times that he's not sure if teaching yoga is in his future, but if I had a crystal ball I would tell you that it is, he's a natural teacher because his heart is so big.
The true heros that day, were the girls, 7 of them who all hung in for the entire 3 hour practice, the did all the poses, the were AWESOME! Buck was stunned many times at the talent of the girls-- kapotasana is one of their off the shelf poses, and they ALL did it beautifully-- and it was amazing for the boys to see that the girls could do arm balances better than some of them, and that the girls didn't care what the boys were doing, they just quietly did their yoga-- practice over a long period of time with devotion--- It was awe inspiring to watch!
Another beautiful Christmas-- as we rolled the mats, I can honestly say we were all wrapped in love-- which is really what Christmas is about..... sharing your heart with those that need it most.