Giggles give you great energy

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 25, 2014

If we harness the energy contained in a group of Andalusia Elementary School students, we might be able to provide electricity for the entire county. I met some of these revved up, ready-to-go kids last week and it was fun.

This year AES has a wonderful Summer Acceleration Program that not only gives students help with academics but also offers them a chance to experience the arts and other cultural opportunities. Best of all, it is free.

Fortunately, I got an invitation to teach yoga to the kids taking part in the program. So, that is how I found myself in the midst of the energy you could feel radiating throughout the gym.

The first day, I met four groups of younger kids who bounced into the gym and onto the mats. Giggling was their form of communication and it was contagious.

Getting them to settle down enough to learn some deep breathing was a bit of a challenge. However, in just a few minutes, I felt their energy moving into a more focused pattern.

From there I lead them through a series of yoga movements. We mooed like cows and meowed like cats as we stretched our spines. We barked like dogs and hissed like snakes waking up the legs and bending our backs.

Then we balanced on one leg at a time standing tall like trees growing our branches toward the sun. Between the poses, we jumped up and down, shaking our arms, legs and heads to get rid of the little red monkeys that sometimes hang on us and cause stress. I think this was the part they enjoyed the most.

Finally, everyone rested on their backs, focused on their breathing and as their bodies relaxed, they let their imaginations kick in. They left the AES gym behind and floated across a blue sky on soft, fluffy white clouds. As they floated, they let their bodies relax completely and focused on feeling the softness of their breathing.

We ended our time together sitting quietly, hands at our hearts as I shared with them the meaning of the word, “Namaste,” that we use at the end of yoga classes.

“The yogis say we have a light that shines in our hearts,” I told them. “It is the light of love and it shines through all of creation.

“If I know I have this light in me, I can look at you and know you have the same light in you.

“Then if you look at me and see my light too, we know we are all the same in our hearts.

“And if we are the same, we get along better and are kinder to each other.

“So, right now I see your light and I bow to that light. “

They listened to my words and then together we said namaste.

For a few seconds, there was silence, but only a few seconds. In a rush, they were up, putting on shoes and giggling as they headed to their next adventure.

Two days later, I was back to share yoga with three groups of older students. They had energy too, but it was less frantic. They came in quietly and sat on the mats. We moved through the poses without animal sound effects — only a few shy giggles.

The classes ended the same way, with moments of relaxation and with us bowing to each other’s light.

Both days when I walked out of the school, I carried their wonderful energy with me. The idea was to expose the kids some yoga and I hope that happened.

What I didn’t realize was how much they would teach me or maybe remind me of some important things. One, that giggling is good for you, and two, if that you let yourself be more childlike, you might experience some of the boundless energy that will light the world if we only harness it.