Sunday, September 18, 2016

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Recently I attended a Kid’s Yoga Teacher Training at Asheville Yoga Center in Asheville, North Carolina.  A lot of topics were discussed over the course of the training, but one topic that continued to make an appearance in our conversations was about the pressure that children feel from being ever -connected to the world of social media, how they believe they must respond immediately when their phones buzz, and how as a whole, they spend most of their  daylight hours in front of a screen and less and less time outdoors.  JaneAnne Tager, led the discussions and emphasized the importance of using nature themes in our classes as a way for children to disconnect, leave the world of technology at the door, and become more grounded using tools found in mother nature.  

At the end of day one, we came back to our mats in their circular formation, set up perfectly for sharing thoughts, ideas, and memories.  JaneAnne closed out the day by asking the group to share what their favorite season is and why.  

Without hesitation, I knew the answer to this question, but this time I didn’t share out loud.  This time, we didn’t go around the circle one by one.  People voluntarily spoke at will and by the time the umpteenth person described the beauty of the changing leaves and the crispness of the air, I figured they’d pretty much covered it.

But just thinking about this season transported me back to 404 W. Exchange Street, my childhood home with it’s large picture windows and wrap around porch.  The sounds, the sights, and the smells still strong in my mind.  The crunch of leaves on the ground, the scraping of the metal rake as it crossed the sidewalk escorting the leaves on their journey from yard to driveway, the whoosh of the leaves as they flew through the air before safely joining their brothers and sisters on the mountain of foliage my dad had painstakingly raked all afternoon.  And then laughter, I can hear laughter as we ran and jumped into the big pile of leaves.  My dad would rake them up again, and again we would run and dive into the sea of leaves.  Thud.  They always looked so inviting, so much fluffier than they actually were and I still remember feeling shocked and surprised upon landing.  I expected to land on mattress soft, but instead landed on packed dirt hard.

This was the way it was every year.  He’d rake, we’d play and then he’d burn, standing guardian over the flames until there was nothing but a few ashes left.  For a few short weeks every fall, the smell of smoke would waft throughout the tiny town where I grew up, unceremoniously marking the end of fall.

In Michigan snow was inevitable.  The only question each year was whether or not we’d be wearing boots and coats over our Halloween costumes.

Crisp air, colorful leaves, hayrides, carving pumpkins, warm sweaters, and sap buckets hanging from tree to tree round out my childhood memories of my favorite season every year.  


The most wonderful time of the year! 

At the beginning of the training, JaneAnne stated that one of the goals of the weekend was to help us become reacquainted with our inner child.   With each exercise, I found myself being transported back to my childhood, a time in my life that was filled with happy memories, uncomplicated and innocent.  While this was not intentional, I also do not think it was a coincidence.  I finished the training feeling more grounded than I have in several months and freshly inspired to be the best mom, wife, and yoga teacher I can be, to make a difference in the lives of children who may not have as happy a childhood as me, and to write.  This is the second blog post of a three-part series.

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