For almost 3 years, we’ve been teaching yoga to young boys who stay in a shelter in Woodstock, Cape Town. They’re an eclectic bunch of kids, some of them have homes to go to over the weekend, others are orphans or have chosen not to associate with their families. They all have one thing in common: their experience of life’s hardships and suffering is beyond that of other children their own age.
Many of them have been through much trauma and pain, and as a result, are used to presenting themselves as tough and fearless. They have perpetually tense bodies, speak loudly to receive attention and are often very anxious and stressed.
You never see them surrender. They watch everything and everyone, fully taking in their surroundings.
Asking them to do yoga postures is one thing, asking them to breathe and relax is another story completely. They find it incredibly difficult to lie still, keep their eyes closed and go inside themselves.
Typically they lie down in savasana (corpse pose) with their arms crossed over their chest, eyes wide open. It takes a lot of repeat-instruction and time to get the whole room quiet, still and calm. But it happens, and when it does, magic occurs.
Through the guided relaxation, faces visibly soften, bodies holding tension release, flickering eyes become closed and still. Soon a room full of noise, shouting and aggression becomes an unbelievable space of calm and quiet.
To be able to offer these boys a simple tool for quieting and calming their minds is a gift. You can SEE the effects yoga has first hand, and it’s p.o.w.e.r.f.u.l
If you would like to assist us in teaching yoga to these children, or offering another form of release such as sports or dance, please get in touch.