- Early Childhood
by Angela Stevens, PreSchool Teacher, BA, RYT, RMT, Tai Chi Chair, Radiant Child Yoga
YOGA is a path to self-acceptance, peacefulness, healing and confidence. My path to this incredible, beneficial practice is an interesting one. It began many moons ago, while I was working in the child welfare system, both in a social work and supervisory capacity. The majority of times, I witnessed stories of trauma and pain. However, every so often, I would witness triumph, beating the odds, and healing, even with the seemingly darkest circumstances. It was the story of the human spirit, rising above, and breaking the old worn out record playing, to create a new song and a new way of being.
As I began to explore different forms of self-nurturance, during my time in that role, yoga became my go-to. Yoga is the sacred practice of binding the body, mind and spirit. Each time that I would hit my mat, after a stressful day, I would feel a peacefulness and a release. My worries diminished and my confidence grew strong. I recognized that it was in this practice, that I found infinite possibilities. With that knowledge, I decided to become a yoga teacher, and eventually explored other avenues of healing, as well. I have been teaching yoga now for many years and through my experience as a yoga teacher, I have witnessed diverse populations move onto paths of well-being, both physically and emotionally. I have seen one’s physical health improve, anxiety/stress dissipate and confidence blossom. Additionally, I myself have learned a lot about life, through the experiences of my students. It has truly been a remarkable journey.
Fast forward to 2018, when I had the pleasure of joining an exceptional group of professionals at The Country School, as a PreSchool teacher in conjunction with teaching yoga. In my role as a PreSchool teacher, I often think of Jonas Salk's quote, “Good parents give their children roots and wings” which relates to bringing the practice of yoga into the school community. At The Country School our students are provided with a safe, stable, nurturing environment, which gives them roots. In our PreSchool classroom, we have been able to implement the practice of yoga consistently. Our PreSchool classroom is a joyful haven, in which we celebrate all potential. We have been practicing yoga through imaginative exercises, introducing yoga poses and breathing techniques to increase peacefulness. We encourage and acknowledge feeling awareness and we provide discussions as to feelings, while problem solving. It is an amazing process of growth. Our PreSchool students have jumped right into practicing yoga and learning the skills to enhance their well-being. They also have been great participants in creating harmony with this practice, while having fun! Overall, yoga at Country, in my experience, is about maintaining joy and promoting confidence, so that our students will be able to soar, as if they have wings!