One of the things I love about yoga is that, at the beginning of every practice, we start with a meditation where we set aside all our stresses, problems, to-do lists, and other nagging thoughts, and we set our intentions for the day’s practice. My instructor, Gabi, will sometimes say something like “thank those thoughts for showing up, and then let them go. They will probably return later.” I loved the imagery of thoughts being physical things that fly around, and I realized that it took someone giving me permission to get me to set them aside.
I wanted to use this idea in my classroom, but struggled with ways to make it meaningful for my students and so I came up with The Magic X. I found some sparkly duct tape at the dollar store (because magic is always sparkly, right?) and made a little “X” outside my door. Above it is a sign that says “leave your problems on the x.” I invite students to leave their problems on the X as they enter the room, and I told them they can pick them back up after class.
Some students looked at me funny, but most pantomimed dropping their problems on the X as they walked by. Some wound up to throw their problems really hard at the X. Some stomped on them. One student asked to revisit the X because she didn’t get it all out the first time. After class, a few students stopped by to pick up their problems, but most just left them there.
I don’t know if it will help students to learn ways to set their stresses aside and have a little 45-minute vacation while their problems are hanging out safely outside the door, but I plan to use it whenever kids bring their arguments, upsets, and other distractions into class. It took a yoga teacher giving me permission to realize that I can temporarily set those things aside. Maybe I can allow my students that break, as well.