My friend Zac Wedemeyer, founder and leader of Taproot Nature Experience in Iowa City, asks me every year to come teach yoga to his group of junior high and high school students in his week-long outdoor leadership camp. This year we met at Palisades Park on Memorial Day for some yoga along a sandy stretch of beach right next to the Cedar River. We set up 20 yoga mats in a circle and just as I began to talk about how yoga teaches us how to align with nature, Mother Nature decided to speak with loud rumbles of thunder. The kids eyes widened, and Zach said, “let me just check the radar”. We watched the dark clouds roll in above us and one young man spotted lightening so we quickly packed up our mats and headed for shelter in the Tap Root van aptly named “Beluga”.
Zac and I decided that we wouldn’t be able to do any down dogs in the van, but we could meditate. So in a stuffy and smelly van, I sat on a cooler and guided them through a 20-minute meditation. Rain pelted the van and everyone was in close quarters. As I was teaching, I thought to myself, “This was a bust….these kids aren’t getting anything out of this.”
I brought the meditation to a close and by then the rain had stopped, so everyone clammered out of the van for fresh air. A 12-year-old boy with a round face and glasses quickly come over to me, and said “I have to tell you something. I realized that my mind always goes ‘CLICK,CLICK,CLICK,CLICK,CLICK,CLICK’, and after that meditation, my mind goes ‘CLICK……..CLICK…………CLICK……….CLICK’. This is amazing!”, he exuberantly told me. Then he went on to add, “This just might change my life!”.
He couldn’t have summed it up better. When we devote time to yoga and meditation, we suddenly find more SPACE between our thoughts. Because most of us have extremely active minds, the space created by the practice brings peace, calm, a different perspective, and it does change your life.