Hello my lovelies!
A funny thing happened while I was walking the dogs at the bog this morning! As we strolled through the snow covered bogs and ponds, the sun was yellow and warm, the birds were giving hints of their spring song and I found myself feeling a strange sensation-I was warm! I took my hat off and let the sun coat my head and it felt glorious!
Today I thought I'd share a little story I wrote for the Hingham Journal. A short note about how one small child can embody the power of yoga. I thought you'd enjoy.
Out of the cold New England winter of 2015, I’d like to offer you a story to carry you away from the bleak days of endlessly repeating colors of white, grey and darkness. I invite you to step with me into a beautiful wide open space, a converted church with towering ceilings and honey tone wood warmed by the yellow glow of summer afternoon light. Arched windows line the room, they glow in tingling anticipation of the coming evening, each mote of dust in the room shimmering with the languid ease of the long day. In the center of the room, on a green yoga mat stands a beautiful young child. At nine years of age she is resplendent and proud in her frilly blue striped tunic and capri leggings, her very own special yoga clothes. Her name is Jaylin, and she smiles under a ponytail of brown hair tousled from her yoga class as she bends her knee and lifts her foot off the ground. Her teacher, Kathy, vibrant with bouncing grey hair and sparkling blue eyes, offers a tiny assistance, the slightest help of one pinky finger for Jaylin to hold onto, securing her balance. Jaylin stands on one leg, a perfect tree pose executed flawlessly, and she knows it. She waves to the crowd of teachers that line the far wall of the room, one hand held ecstatically over her head as the teachers erupt in smiles and barely disguised tears. Her mom, observing from the corner, beams.
No one looking at this child would think, oh my, she has a disability, she has Down Syndrome. They would look at her unbridled joy, her toothy grin and they would giggle with her as she embodies the practice of yoga; the uniting of body, breath and mind in a single precious moment.
The teachers that July day in Duxbury last summer were at a Yoga for the Special Child® Basic Teacher training, held through the Creative Arts Therapies department at South Shore Conservatory. For one week we gathered to learn this unique method, which was founded by Sonia Sumar in 1974 during her work with her daughter, Roberta, a child who happened to have Down Syndrome. Since it’s heartfelt beginning, Sonia’s method has grown to an internationally renowned and accredited practice serving individuals from birth through adulthood, with a wide range of abilities and populations served. During the week long training we learned how to adapt the components of the yoga class to babies and children with autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, learning disabilities and other challenges. One of the unique attributes of this training is that no yoga experience is required to attend; as a result we found our training class was diverse; nurses, parents of children with special needs, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and a few yoga teachers came together to create a unique community of caring practitioners.
We are holding another Yoga for the Special Child® Basic Teacher training here at South Shore Conservatory this summer, July 11-17. Jaylin has been practicing yoga diligently, and has promised to come back and be a “demonstration student” again. I can’t wait to watch her shine. Perhaps we’ll have another picture to inspire us through the dark days of winter, a picture that shows the power of one small child as she embodies love, light and hope. Perhaps you’ll be part of the group, sitting under the brightly lit windows, wiping a tear from your eye as you watch. Jaylin would love to meet you, I’m sure.