Yoga Birthday Party

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 3:13 PM

On a cool and rainy Saturday afternoon in Chicago, I made my way across town to a birthday party. I walked in to find the guests, all in their pajamas, perched on brand new pink yoga mats. The host was just getting out markers and stickers for the guests to decorate the mats they were getting as a party favor.

I had been invited to share a yoga practice with a 4-year-old girl and her ten friends as part of her birthday celebration. We began the practice by ringing the chimes to transport us to the land of fairies. The Birthday Fairy was having a tea party and we were to help her invite her friends from the forest.

We had already invited several guests (doing the yoga pose for each one): Turtle, Butterfly and Deer. It’s a delight to see children this age moving through sun salutations, feeling their breath and approximating yoga poses. Then, as often happens with children this age, one particular animal sound set them off. It was Lion, as usual. They started roaring in response to the tea party invitation and this turned into screams and all of the sudden I was at a Beatles concert in 1965. To get them to settle down, I began to whisper. This works like magic. We did some quieter poses, played a couple of games and then settled in for final rest. I began to guide them through the Magic Carpet Ride relaxation and said, “because it’s a magic carpet, it can take you anywhere you like.” They immediately started shouting out where they were going. “Mexico”, “The toy store!” To redirect them I said, “You can tell me when we get back. For now, it’s a secret.” They seemed satisfied with this arrangement and were quiet for the rest of the relaxation.

Then one girl popped up, came over to me and whispered in my ear where she had gone on her magic carpet. They each then took their turn. When one was done, another one would run up to me. This is nothing I could have planned nor would have thought of, but it was the perfect end our Birthday Fairy Tea Party adventure. We were about to chant “Om” to end our practice, when someone heard the word, “cake”. The girls screamed, jumped up and ran into the other room for birthday cake.

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