Yoga Mat and Classroom, Places of Learning
It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. – Seneca
The Only Way Out is Through (Robert Frost)
Risk by definition underscores chances we take, possibly in succumbing to injury or harm, or by endeavoring to grow. Along this jagged path, we encounter failure, shame, doubt, guilt, and a host of other kinds of human suffering, but it is in allowing ourselves to be broken open (Elizabeth Lesser) that we gain access to the potential to participate fully in life (Maria Lumholtz).
In yoga, we come to our mats daily and move through the flow of poses (asanas). We address what we already know about this pose, and about our body's response to this practice. Maria Lumholtz, a great yogi states, "Where are we stuck?"
Incrementally, we journey to open up our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits, and in doing so, we gain access to new knowledge. This ancient practice [yoga] is not about perfection, rather, it is about the daily work, the effort that is germane to the growth of the individual.
Similarly, in the classroom, we plot a course with our students, moving them through vicarious experiences that hopefully will enable them to grow as "whole individuals." Learning, like yoga, is organic, requiring both body, mind and spirit (body and mind, to create neural pathways, but spiritually too, conceptually, in the motivational theory model).
We must be thoughtful in honoring the whole child, regardless of the dismembering process we see year after year with each new educational reform. We as educators need to continue to be the vessels that spawn creative and innovative thinkers, and that means we need to model great learning practices in each of our forums (classrooms--virtual and in real time).
To me, students learn a thing by doing it (constructivist approach to learning). They need to ask questions (active versus passive learning).They also need to collaborate and communicate. Each of us has something wondrous to share because we each have unique beautiful minds with varying gifts (The Multiple Intelligences, Building Strong Alliances). And, the infusion of the arts and technology raise the bar on the learning because both engender multiple perspectives, hone metacognition, and give way to multi-sensory and relevant learning that align with the digital natives in our care.
So, in order for this to come to fruition, we need to embrace risk, as educators, students and as yogis. We risk to grow. We risk to survive. We risk to learn.