Kayla Gissing – Peru 2019

let go of my need to control and allow the Universe to do her own thing.” ~ Gabrielle Bernstein

Have you ever set out with a plan, only to be turned around in an entirely different direction? Life has a funny way of leading us through numerous twists and turns on our journey to find purpose and meaning in this crazy world. I think Woody Allen said it best when he famously stated, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”

Very rarely do our picture perfect plans turn out exactly as we envision them. Often there are lessons to learn and detours we must take which guide us someplace unexpected, and entirely where we need to be. You might resist the new path for as long as you can; but what happens when you release your grip from your plan and relax into the Universe’s plan? That is when magic can take place.

A Change in Plans:

When I started my journey as a yoga teacher I thought I’d found my calling. I worked many jobs with children before, and was ready for something new. Yoga had been a long-time passion of mine and I dreamt of a life as a full-time yoga teacher leading group and private classes, hosting workshops, and growing a yoga YouTube channel. Everything I manifested started happening and it was really exciting. However, there was still a nagging feeling deep inside which told me there was something missing. Moreover, many blockages started to pop up, making it challenging to progress in my plans as a full-time yoga teacher. That’s when I decided to begin researching 300 hour teacher training courses abroad.

I had fantasized about traveling to Peru for a long time; so in my research, I instantly connected with everything I read about SYI’s 300 hour teacher training in Peru. I signed up for the program 7 months in advance, and began doing everything I could to prepare for this transformative experience. What I didn’t know then, is that in those 7 months my plans for being a full-time yoga teacher would change completely.

One day while sitting outside reading The Bhagavad Gita, in preparation for yoga school, I came across this passage: “The ignorant work for their own profit, Arjuna; the wise work for the welfare of the world… Perform all work carefully, guided by compassion.” And, in that moment I realized that I must go back to working with children, while using my passion and knowledge of yoga. This line of work is something I have always been able to do wholeheartedly, and yoga greatly enhances it. So, I am back in early childhood education, and using the lessons I learned at yoga school, just in a slightly different way from what I originally imagined.

How I Use Lessons from Yoga Teacher Training in Working with Children.

My work with children is enhanced by 3 main teachings from yoga school: self-care, intentionality, and speaking my sweet truth. Let’s look at each teaching a bit more closely.

Self-Care: One of the main reasons why I was attracted to SYI’s 300hr curriculum is because there is a large focus on Ayurveda. Ayurveda is the sister science to yoga which uses many techniques to bring the mind and body into balance. In these teachings we were reminded that when we take care of ourselves, we can bring our best self into every interaction and situation. So, I have adopted specific self-care rituals which allow me to show up with presence and patience for the children I work with. When I have taken the time to centre and ground myself, I am able to radiate a sense of calm and contentment in my classroom. This translates into having the energy to prepare fun classroom activities, clarity to effectively problem-solve, and the ability to stay calm and collected when my students require a bit of extra patience.

Intentionality: During yoga school we were taught to be very intentional in creating yoga classes; with each asana preparing the body for upcoming asanas. And, to always ask yourself “Is this serving the highest good of the beings in my class?” I have been able to use this same teaching in my preschool class by bringing an intentional focus to everything I guide the children to do. I ask myself “which direction do I want to guide these children in?”, and “which activities will help guide them in that direction?” I’ve learned to meet my students where they are at, and to find teachable moments where I can. All of this intentionality sets my students up for success and optimal learning.

Speak my Sweet Truth: While learning about the Yamas, our teacher challenged us to choose 1 yama which we would commit to practicing for 1 year. I chose Satya, which asks us to speak our truth with sweetness. So, in my classroom, I am very aware that all of these little beings are looking to me for guidance. Therefore, I must be confident in whatever I teach them, and teach it to them in terms they can understand. I use my words intentionally, and always aim to lead by example. Speaking my truth also means that I cannot always be everyone’s friend, and consequences for their actions should always make sense. For example, when I tell a child they cannot do something, I always give them a sincere reason as to why. Speaking the truth means letting go of people-pleasing tendencies, in order to effectively create change for the better, and it can be done with sweetness.

Wrapping It All Up:

You are always being guided in a purposeful direction. Sometimes you may end up somewhere entirely different from where you set out to go, but the lessons you learn along the way will benefit you in whatever you do. So, have faith, trust the process, and listen to the signs from the Universe.

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