Part 1 - Embodiment of values of Yoga practice
Many of us know on some level that to be able to care of someone else, we need to take care of ourselves first. When we are kind and compassionate to ourselves, that is when we have more to give, our 'cup is full' in a sense. So when we meet a child or young person on or off the yoga mat, we are usually best equipped to help them thrive when we ourselves are feeling calm, collected and comfortable. In Special Yoga, there are certain 'precepts' and 'qualities' that help us to feel this way and connect with ourselves deeply. These precepts are:
Humility - surrender to what is in the present moment, open your heart to yourself and the person who you're with and work on seeing yourself as no better, worse or different from that person.
Generosity - Giving from our hearts without expecting anything in return, the desire to give and to be of service to others, this does of course entails giving to ourselves as well.
Patience - We need to work with the person on the yoga mat with where they are physically, mentally, emotionally and energetically, not where we want them to be or where we think they 'should be', this means embodying cheerful endurance of trying conditions, it requires trust that the child or young person will fulfil their potential and thrive when they are ready, and we mustn't impose our expectations or pressure on them in the process, we must try to alleviate expectations and pressure on ourselves as well.
Loving kindness - Meeting the child/young person and being with them with absolute acceptance and love is crucial for our understanding of yoga practice and their growth, this means wishing for their welfare and happiness.
Empathy - The capacity to recognise emotions that are being experienced by this person. It helps us to connect and understand a little bit better what this person is going through on an emotional level, being mindfully empathetic means taking the perspective of others without becoming overwhelmed or judgemental when we encounter the difficulties, challenges or hardships that they experience or express.
Compassion - The value that helps us to treat all living beings as one's own self, wanting only good for others, when we feel empathy for another person's difficulties, and move towards it with loving kindness, this is compassion.
When we practice these precepts of Special Yoga, we develop the following qualities:
Trust, Courage & Care, Soul Connection, Unconditional Love
And it is these precepts and qualities that when practised and embodied, we will be in the best place at that moment to share the beauty of Special Yoga with children, young people and adults with or without special needs.
River Flute by Kevin MacLeod