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  • Writer's pictureAmy Sosne

Guns and Violence vs. Yoga and Calmness - A reflection from my experience teaching at the Clark

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I had the wonderful opportunity to teach yoga at the Clark Museum to all ages and all levels. What I had thought was going to be a family yoga type class became a wonderful conglomeration of single members of the community, kids dropped off, parents with older kids and parents with younger kids, including grandparents. It was wonderful to see such diversity in the class!

On Wednesday, just one week after the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, the sun was out and the weather was in the 70s and springlike! We held class outside of the Clark looking out onto the beautiful mountain and into the rocks of the soon-to-be filled reflecting pool (well probably not until May!) This class was even more unique in that we had members of the community, older children, parents and their children, in addition to the Tiger Room of Community Preschool arriving with their kid blue yoga mats. Here, breathing and moving through poses as the warm sun heated us with love, promise of spring and hope, I after class could only reflect on the contrast of the safe space and magical space I had felt in that yoga class and the violence that occurred in Parkland and has in other schools in this country. I watched the students listen as I directed them to shift their gaze to the blue sky and wispy clouds and meditatively see the clouds in shapes and moving as they flowed through or held poses. I saw students transform as with each breath they came deeper into a pose or their intensity as they could not shift their gaze from the sky.

On Thursday, it was so nice to see individuals and families that came back for the third class. Indoors in the Conforti Pavilion (like Tuesday), back to winter time, and viewing the outside as it was snowing. The space still felt safe, magical, and the community by day 3 began to feel like we were a big yoga family. The peace, calm, serenity, lack of judgment, laughter, and sense of comraderie amongst the group brought sheer joy as I led the class through fun animal poses, sequences, yoga-olympics, and some more challenging balance poses. Ending in a deep svasana as with all of the classes, each student’s body noticeably relaxed as they were led through a guided progressive muscle relaxation, a visualization, a pranayama exercise, and finally told to sink and breath into their own safe/magical space.

Just a week after the shootings at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, I just wanted to take the time to reflect on the serenity and calmness and safety that our children should be experiencing and soothing skills they should be learning. Think about the picture I painted of the Wednesday class held outside in the sun at the Clark or the Thursday class in the peaceful setting of a beautiful room looking out onto snow falling. Contrast this to the children in Parkland and in other communities witnessing atrocities and traumatized, losing friends, beloved teachers, and for what, why? Why the violence? Why the guns?

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