In a country divided, after a stunning presidential election result and a toxic campaign season, the children of Indian Creek Elementary School woke up afraid, angry and confused on November 10, 2017. Indian Creek Elementary School is comprised mostly of Immigrants, Children of Color, Muslims and Non-Christians. Notably most of these children are not typical immigrants, but rather refugees who came to America after fleeing war torn countries, human rights violations, and crumbling economies.
Normally, my visits to Indian Creek are light, fun and learning oriented. However on 11/10/17 the children needed something different. The concern was heavy on their heart about their futures, potential bans on Muslims, and deportation.
Thankfully Yoga is not just about getting on your mat and making shapes with your body. Yoga is about giving an individual a safe place to be with their emotions while they work through the things that are challenging for them. Through conscious dedication of our physical practice to a concept, thought, idea, person in need, or challenge one is facing an individual can utilize their Yoga practice to help them refresh their perspective, get clarity, be reminded of their strength and ability to persevere.
In order to get clear on what was bothering them, the children were given an opportunity to express their concerns and ask questions about the political process. One student asked, “Is it true that my family and I will have to leave this country soon?” Another student asked, “Is it possible to keep all Muslims out of the US, because I am Muslim. Will I have to leave?” Others expressed anger, confusion, sadness and overall fear of the unknown.
The beautiful truth about Yoga is that once one knows what is causing them suffering, one can utilize Yoga to transmute those feelings, gain new perspective, and tap into the unlimited strength we each possess deep within.
The children at Indian Creek Elementary fearlessly opened up and shined a light on their darkest fears that morning. They dove into the process and needed a positive practice more then ever. On 11/10/17 the students learned about Resilience and focused their practice on that idea. Through employing poses like Washing Machine, Breath of Joy, Lunge Twists and powerful visualizations exercises like The Loving Kindness Meditation helped the students release some of their heaviness. I witnessed them move from fear to hope. The same students who had come in crest fallen, depressed and worried were now optimistic and solution oriented. They were ready to take Action. They were uplifted, smiling, and left happier then they had arrived. Yoga had reminded these children that they may be down, but they will never be out as long as they remember the power they have within. #YogafortheWin