This story came to us from one of our wonderful Imagination Yoga teachers, Laurie Davies. Laurie earned her Imagination Yoga certification in 2012 and since that time has been teaching yoga to kids in and around the Merced, Ca area.
My story is about my 6 year old son, Ikey. Ikey has anxiety problems and last year was an extremely difficult time for him, and us, especially with going to school. He seemed terrified and became very violent, depressed and self destructive. We began working with the school principal, psychologist, and counselor, as well as an outside therapist who diagnosed him with Aspergers (high functioning autism). This explained his lack of social interaction with his peers, and his fear of the playground and cafeteria.
As a mom, I started reflecting on my own childhood and found I shared some of these same traits. Later in life I started practicing yoga to help with my own anxiety and depression which I found was very helpful. Ikey grow up watching me practice yoga at home. He would try the poses and crawl all over me. I had considered teaching yoga at an adult level, but when I saw my son going through so many difficulties in life at age 6, I thought, “wouldn’t it be great to teach kids yoga”.
Searching the Internet for yoga schools, I came across Imagination Yoga which sounded perfect. I got certified in April 2012 and started teaching classes in Merced, Ca. immediately with my son at my side for every class. He loved it, especially the deep breathing which I always emphasize to the children to use in any situation where they felt upset, anxious or out of sorts.
One day at school Ikey was in one of his special education classes and his teacher noticed him breathing funny. She thought maybe he was asthmatic. When she asked if he was okay he informed her that he was doing his deep yoga breaths to calm himself down before going back to his regular class. She was impressed and the school psychologist was amazed. He said, “To teach a child, this is one thing, but for the child to implement this and practice it on his own is amazing.”
Ikey is in the 2nd grade this year and is much more comfortable, and even happy, to go to school. He still practices his deep breathing; in fact he used it just the other night while doing some timed reading for homework. His words were getting all jumbled up as he read really fast and he was getting out of breath. He reached over, stopped the timer and started doing his deep yoga breaths. When he felt calm he resumed his reading. Recently, he has even been coming up with his own imagination yoga stories and thinking of poses that would work within it. It’s a joy to see him imaginative and creative and most of all happy to be in life.
As a mom I am ever so grateful for finding Imagination Yoga not only to teach my own child, but to teach other children who may or may not be struggling with everyday life challenges.
Thank you Laurie, for sharing your story with us! Your commitment to helping your family and children is inspirational. Your family’s success is a testimonial to what this program is all about.
The IY Team