During one of my classes this year I had a realisation…..children don’t often hear about other peoples minds and what goes on.
Part of Children’s Yoga is noticing feelings; physical feelings of hot/cold, heart rate, breathing, pain, tired etc and also emotional feelings of happy, nervous, relaxed, upset, excited – these are important things for children (and adults) to notice, pay attention to and be able to confidently express and process.
So towards the end of a normal Yoga session we started to touch on when you feel nervous/anxious/worried and what causes it. Things that were expressed were “not being able to do it”, “ worried about getting it wrong”.
I then asked everyone “Do you ever get nervous/anxious/worried about things you really want to do?” There was a resounding YES!
I then asked “Do you ever have an idea or see something that you get really excited about and then you STOP and don’t do it?” Again the answer was YES! and lots of eyes darting around the room as they noticed they were all saying yes.
We used the example of climbing across a climbing frame for the first time; you see it, you think ‘I want to climb it’ you see someone else doing it and think ‘that looks soooooooooo cool!’ and then you go to put your foot on the frame and you get worried/anxious/nervous and stop? What happens??
Discussion erupted about being worried they would get stuck, fall, not be able to get up, hurt themselves etc etc
We then discussed if they ever hear two little voices in their head? One saying “you can totally do this” and another saying “No you can’t” – I asked them to raise their hand if they have those two voices talking like that.
They all put their hands up and were amazed to see their friends as well as me putting hands up!
One child even exclaimed “That even happens to you? You have those two voices to?” and I replied “Yes, even me! I’d go as far to say all adults have those two voices talking to them about things they really want to do”
Then we moved onto thinking about a time where we got anxious/nervous/scared and we had some encouragement to do it and does it help when someone tells you you can do it? They all started referencing times their parents/siblings and others encouraged them to do something they were scared to do…..I asked “how did you feel after you did it?” They all started smiling! They felt happy, proud, excited, crazy, amazing…..then I asked them “What would have happened if you had not done it at all?”
Two replies that stuck in my head were “we wouldn’t know what it feels like to do it!” and “we would be sad because we didn’t do it” that was so powerful to hear.
“We would be sad because we didn’t do it”
Then I asked “Even when you know how good it feels to do something that scares you does that stop the voices next time you really want to try something new/exciting?”
One child replied “No, I still get scared”
So I asked them them all to put their hands up if they still get scared even when they know how amazing it feels to do something that scares you.
I raised my hand too.
The look of surprise and reassurance they displayed during that moment was absolutely priceless.
Have this discussion with your children and use your own examples, I’d love to know what you discover 🙂