To be cool. To fit in. These thoughts run amok throughout the mind of a tween. Aye Hanuman, talk about a monkey mind! Recently, I have been witnessing some strife amongst my little tweenie yoginis that I teach. Usually, the energy from these kids is positive and encouraging to each other, but as my class grows in size, the diverse and unique personalities expand as well. Some of them are downright stinkers.
In a recent session, two new boys appeared to be interested in participating in class as they took off their shoes and sat down on a mat. But, as I began to talk about what we would be doing in class that evening, one of the boys spoke up and loudly said, “I don’t like this yoga stuff...I don’t want to do this”. The second boy chimed in, “Yeah, I don’t like it either. What is the use of this yoga stuff anyway, to be peaceful and quiet?” I replied, “Yes, yoga can help you with chillin’ out and relaxing.” With a raised voice and squinty eyes, the second boy answered, “Well you ain’t gonna get any peace and quiet from over here!” He then said that he didn’t want to stay, so I allowed him to return to the Kiddy Corral. The first boy was slightly stunned-- and no longer had a partner in crime.
Another outburst: an eleven year old girl proclaimed that she did not like yoga either. I looked over to see a tween who was back for her second class. I replied, “Really? Well I am very thankful and proud of you for coming back again this week to give yoga another chance.” She dropped her head and stared at her lap. I saw a soft expression on her face but not quite a smile. I sensed that she felt good about being recognized after one class, so she became pro-yoga after that moment. I thought to myself, “What is going on? Why do the kids want to distance themselves from yoga?”
My class plan went out the door as I switched gears to try and respond to the situation brewing in class. I decided to make it a “feel good” class… who doesn’t like massages and feeling good? I pulled out the foam rollers, and the tweens gave themselves back and leg massages. We used the foam rollers with balance poses as well. They loved it!
After class, the eleven year old girl no longer had a tough expression on her face but was beaming. The first boy (the one without an accomplice) even confided in me that he “kinda liked the class, it was ok.” I hope this child will apply some positive peer power on his friend who left, and encourage him to come back another day.
At the end of the class, my questions still were not answered. Has yoga become geeky or nerdy? Do only pansies do that stuff now? Are tweens being pressured by peers to reject yoga because it’s uncool with their age group (because their moms do it)? I am intrigued by my own ponderings on the subject and would appreciate you posting your experiences and thoughts on tweenie yoginis.