This drawing is by a young student who took yoga with me about eight years ago. She’s probably well into high school by now. It’s a picture of her “Worry Tree.”
What Kids Silently Worry About
During relaxation we imagined a big tree where we put all our worries before we enter into our relaxation garden. It may surprise you to see the kind of things she wrote down. This girl was pretty quiet and seemed to be happy. I had no idea what was going on beneath the surface until we did this guided relaxation and the drawing time that followed.
Here are her worries (I erased the names of the other kids she mentioned from her class):
- I was called the B word,
- B___ said she wishes that I was dead,
- K____ said I suck at jump rope,
- J____ said I suck and put her hand in my face,
- I lose all my friends,
- The teacher blames everything on me.
Modern Independence Day
Many people celebrated independence day last weekend. I think Yoga helps us celebrate a modern independence. In today’s world we need ways to free ourselves from our worries and fears. We know stress is a silent killer. The tools we teach children give them a way to voice that stress and find relief. A freedom that they may not be able to find anywhere else. And it’s something to celebrate.
So if you have times when you think teaching yoga to kids doesn’t really make a difference in their lives, think again. Just because kids aren’t saying anything doesn’t mean they don’t have a tree full of worries. You can make a difference.
Consider giving children some relaxation time with their heads on their desks and guide them through a session where they let go of their worries. Examples include:
- Imagine a big tree that they can pin their worries on and leave them there, then guide them to a safe place in their imagination like a garden or beach where they can relax,
- Put their worry in a box and put the box up on the shelf,
- Blow out your worry in a bubble and let the bubbles float away and disappear.
Are you surprised by this young girls list of worries? Why or why not?
Do you use meditation and visualization tools to help kids deal with worry?
You’re invited to share your experience in the comments below.