Kids Yoga Guide recommends Occupy your Body: Teaching Embodied Relationships to Better Our World

Today our world is facing a major shift, and like many historical shifts, it’s largely due to a new generation of people: college-aged youth, young professionals, and parents with young children, are the faces we see when we read about the Occupy in New York and around the world.  No doubt, it is because they are worried about their future… our future.

When you boil down the demands of Occupy Wall Street, what’s left is simple: be nice, don’t be greedy, and share.  Not surprisingly, those are the words parent’s use when teaching their children manners.  It’s easy right, we ask our kids to do it!  But we also live in a nation that promotes individuality, and we love it for that!  So at what point does caring for your neighbor come in?

Interestingly, with the expansion of science and technology we’re coming closer to witnessing objectively, what religion and spirituality has told us throughout human history: we are all interconnected.  So, now the question is… how will we begin to cope in an individualistic world while being a part of an increasingly complex community of people?

This is my answer… watch a group of children play together.  See how they respond and react emotionally.  Notice how their movements don’t always make sense, how their logic is not always… logical.  This is because their way of being and responding is based on emotion and bodily impulse, not logic and concepts.

Of course, I’m not asking adults to become just like their children, because emotional reactions are often the cause of greed as well as love.  I’m asking for adults to balance their logical-conceptual mind with a more child-like way of viewing their self and others through emotional and bodily experience.

Susan Aposhyan, author of Natural Intelligence, uses the term body-mind, to describe the natural connection between internal bodily experience (i.e. emotion, feeling, and thought) and outward motivation (actions that affect the world).  Natural Intelligence means the body is more than a vehicle for the mind, and in fact, the body itself has an intelligence beyond what our minds can ever know logically.

Intuition, creative impulse, and authentic actions are all expressions that blossom beautifully from the body-mind.  However, paired against logic those characteristics stand negligible according to our society at large.  And why?  Perhaps it’s because we (well, the majority) have been brought up to believe logic should win over intuition, our body-mind and heart, I might add.

Luckily, for the western world, yoga has become a great source of inspiration, teaching individuals to listen deeply to their body and know what their heart is truly asking for in life…what brings the most joy to their living.  Then by knowing oneself, responding to the world with honesty begins to build relationships based on authenticity.

As adults, parents, teachers and yogis our representation in this bidding for a new future can take place at home, in school, in the yoga studio, and in the world.  We’re here to teach our children yoga, and not simply animal poses, songs and games, but the true ethics of yoga: love for self and love for others.

The “goal” so to say, is the soft gaze of yogic meditation; half of our awareness focused inward with the other half focused out.  If we want to promote a better world, a balanced world, let us encourage our children to be children: to feel and move and act from their body-mind-heart.  At the same time, let us teach the balance of logic.  And how?  Let us be the teachers, modeling a balanced life, as well as the students, always listening and learning from our children.

Check back in to  next week for part 2, where I’ll discuss the basics of empowering children to live in their body by validating their emotions and encouraging communication skills.  All incredible characteristics of yoga!!