Occupy your Body part 2: Social Movement from the Heart
Last week I introduced the topic “Occupy your Body” to Kids Yoga Guide. Being happy, whole, and empowered in ones body is the foundation of the yoga we practice today. At Kids Yoga Guide we encourage teaching children the fundamentals of yoga, in part, because we want to see a brilliant future for our world.
When I think about current events in our world, events that will undeniably permeate into our future, I tend to come across a similar conclusion. Overall, so many of us are disembodied, in the sense that we’re not able to feel and relate with our internal world, our bodies. Likewise, we’re not able to relate with one another on an honest level.
It’s not that we can’t feel and listen and respond, as the powerful embodied beings which we are. It’s that we’re taught to do otherwise, viewing bodily sensation as gross and inappropriate while shunning many of our feelings, seeing them as wrong and inferior to mind’s logic. Sadly, today we are seeing a world where the majority of people act without hearing their heart… and likewise, give away their power, their passion, their feeling, to a conditioned way of living.
Luckily, the events we see today in New York and around the world are there to encourage people to take back what is theirs. In the world of yoga, I’d say more than anything, it’s the heart of people. People are passionate, emotional, heartfelt beings. We connect on the level of feeling, in the body, in the heart. This movement is about coming together, on a real level.
We make changes now for our future and the future of our children. So when we as adults want to see compassion, equality, and generosity, we make that happen in our self. Furthermore, we extend those feelings to others, especially those who need it.
On a similar note, when our children show evidence of anger, greed, or dissonance, it doesn’t help to berate them for their actions. That’s dis-empowering, it’s saying to them, “it’s wrong to feel that way, your feelings are wrong.” Negating feelings only causes them to harden, producing a heavy shield to hide their heart from both shame and love.
Yoga is about truly listening to our feelings and that of others, no matter what feeling it is. We want our children to be loving and open! So meeting those actions with compassion can help transform negative behaviors into a positive relationship with one’s internal and outer world. It empowers children to know their feelings are real and okay. As adults, we can help them make choices about what to do with their feelings, whether it’s asking forgiveness, saying I’m sorry, or choosing to share a toy with a classmate. Later we can ask how their feelings were changed by the new action, strengthening positive feelings toward self and other.
Rather than enforcing a desired way of being, the role of adults is to model positivity and facilitate our kid’s relationship with the world. That’s how we empower our kids! We let them know their feelings are okay, because in fact, we want them to feel and connect with their self and the world!
Yoga serves as an incredible system of practice to help both children and adults get in touch with their body. Our future is truly based on us being whole as individuals and whole as a people.