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Yoga Montclair Summer Camp 2014

What I did and did not expect. A paradox.

I expected Dr. Seuss books to be the inspiration for planning our week of yoga camp. I did not expect to discover the richness and fullness of ideas and themes that could be found in just one of his books.

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I expected the kids to journal, to reflect on the yoga teachings, and to record their thoughts and feelings in some way. I did not expect the amazing, wonderful journal that the amazing and wonderful BobbiJo created for them.

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I expected the children to be able to create a list of feeling, emotions and heart qualities that they would refer to for their art projects. I did not expected the length of their list, 50 words long, and the depth and quality of the words that they called out, one at a time as they lay there on their mats that very first morning. Words like; grateful, sensitive, passionate, guilty, warm hearted, trusting, confused, dis-connected.

I expected the designing and making of tags for their banners and their community project to be enjoyable and fun. Why wouldn’t it be? Who doesn’t love a bit of coloring, sticking and gluing every now and then? I did not expect the limitless creativity, the focus, the concentration and the pleasure they found in sitting around each morning, creating something from themselves.

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I expected the children to have fun playing ‘The Waiting Place Game’. We based the game on the part in the book ‘Oh, the places you’ll Go!’ where everyone is just waiting. The premise of the game was that you have to be daring; if your not daring, if you don’t allow yourself to be engaged and vulnerable then you are not centered, you are in a slump, you on the outside looking in, you must go to the waiting place. We dared the kids to try a new pose, we dared them to ask for help, we dared them to do a pose on the center mat and we dared them to teach that pose to others.

I did not expect how revealing the game would be. How Clara didn’t dare to do Mountain Laughter pose, it was too embarrassing, and went to the waiting place instead. How she laughed loudly while sitting there and shouted out “I need to un-slump myself!” How quiet and shy some of them were when asking for help and how great they were at making partner poses together.

How Lizzie whispered to her sister, “I am definitely going to the waiting place for dare #4” and then allowed herself to be daring and taught Dark Seed Light to the whole group.

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I did not expect to be lost for words trying to describing how amazingly brilliant they were at creating and sharing their own games.

I expected the children to need help with design ideas and the making of their t-shirts. I did not expect them to be so fiercely independent, so focused and so sure of how they wanted to create and express themselves.

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I did expect the banners to be great. I was excited about the project. The children were going to be working on them all week. They would be decorating their driftwood sticks with duck tape and ribbons, decorating both sides of their felt flag, hanging their heart quality tags from the flag and having a parade at the end of the week. I did not expect the sheer delight and excitement they expressed as they finally put all the different elements of their banners together. I did not expect them, on finishing, to go around the studio planting their banner on a yoga mat and calling out “My Yoga-land!”

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I did expect the adults at the studio to like the community project. It was something beautiful that everyone could connect and interact with. I did not expect the yoga teachers at the studio to be so touched by it, so much so that one of them wanted MORE and so we made some more heart quality sticks to span the entire length of the front windows.

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I did expect a good week. This was the second year of teaching a Summer Yoga Camp together and we had done a lot of planning, organizing and collecting materials. I did expect us to wear the same t-shirt everyday! (A tradition we have carried on since seeing Cheryl and Anabel do this at our first Grounded Training together)

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I did not expect the sense of ease I felt throughout the week. The comfort, stability and groundedness I found in our partnership, the way we fell naturally into taking on different roles and the fluidity of our transitions between activities.

Moving forward, I expect us to grow and develop the kids yoga program at Yoga Montclair AND I look forward to the wisdom, learning and growth to be found in the unexpected.

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