So this morning we rolled out our folded beach towels in lieu of yoga mats and got started. The video I chose was excellent - the movements were simple and not in the least bit intimidating, and the instructor's voice was really pleasant and relaxing.
After a bumpy start - it took a while for the kids to stop giggling every time the dude said "buttocks" and the dog ecstatically happy danced all over our faces - we ended up having a pretty successful first session. The kids actually laid quiet and still for TWENTY MINUTES and I came out of it feeling incredibly refreshed and full of The Force. I might have misheard that last part.
But one of the things that's surprised (and saddened) me most about homeschool is the amount of deschooling the kids have needed. By that I mean the process of helping them adjust to life away from school and the methods used to learn there. Attie is particularly sensitive to failure and the negative consequences that came with it at school, so he needs a lot of encouragement to try something new. This is especially true when it involves motor skills of any kind, and yoga today was no exception. He immediately felt anxious that he couldn't make his body do the things that he wanted them to.
I hadn't really understood the extent of his negative experiences with this at school until this morning when I was helping him learn how to spread nutella on his toast. He started shaking, and when I asked him what was wrong he burst into tears and said I'm just so scared that someone's going to yell at me for holding it wrong, like they used to do at school. Wow. After I picked up the pieces of my heart from the floor and mentally kicked the shit out of whoever had made him feel this way, we hugged for a long time and talked about how it's okay to need help and that we have all the time in the world for his body to learn how to hold a knife.
And that's where I'm hoping yoga can help. To give him time to slow down and learn how to connect with his body. To be happy with the things that it can already do, and patient with the things it's still learning. To build some pleasant and safe body learning experiences for him to override the apparently traumatic ones that he's had so far.
And if in the process he learns to stop talking for a few minutes and I develop some killer abs, well that would be awesome. Okay, yoga? No pressure.