From Education Week
By Colin Lieu with
At a time where so much focus is placed on building walls – yoga and mindfulness provide pathways for students to realize they can break down walls of their own. Standing out of the limelight as the tallest, the strongest, the boisterous one – Malakai has been able to thrive in an environment he didn’t know he could; celebrated for this calm, intuition and introspection. As Markeace begins to see through the cracks of his learned protective mask, he’s finding the courage to ask about identity, culture and community.
I continue to teach students like Malakai and Markeace. They remind me that I may be one of few positive role models in the lives of young people who is male, from a refugee immigrant family, identifies as LGBTQ and practices yoga. Now, Markeace even comes to class early to help me roll out the mats! Sometimes I’m his soundingboard. Sometimes it’s silent. It’s a safe, check-in space, for him.
I didn’t reach these candid moments overnight and when I first started I wasn’t sure I’d have these breakthroughs. The administrators, educators and students I work with have difficulty integrating mindfulness as a regular practice. I get it. Budget, school schedules, parent support and other factors all play a role.