I wouldn’t necessarily have been able to tell. I mean, she seemed like a typical almost-teenager. A little unfocused. A little unbalanced. A little tired. Okay, maybe she appeared more than a little tired, but it was easy enough to overlook. What kid her age isn’t a little tired…
“Is this the time when we get to sleep?” the girl asked with unmasked enthusiasm as we prepared for savasana.
I think that’s the moment when my heart started to break.
“Her shoulders are all knots. They always are,” declared her mom when she came to pick her up after class had ended. “She’s too stressed out. That’s why she needs yoga. I was so glad when I saw the class in the newsletter. I have a meditation app that she uses to help her get to sleep, but it isn’t enough.”
I looked around at the near-empty room and thought, she can’t be the only one.
I looked at my own daughter. Age fifteen. Just back from ski practice. Before that, a full day of school. Fifteen minutes in between to grab a quick bite of food. I could read her impatience in her restless stance. “Hurry up, mom,” she declared when it was just the two of us. “I have homework to do.”
No wonder the room was empty. My daughter is like most teens in town. Busy. Over-booked. She tends to like her life that way. But, there are nights when she also has trouble sleeping. Not every night, thankfully. There are days when she feels the stress of too much.
I took one more look at the room as I flicked off the lights. It had not been filled with teens eager for balance. Just one girl and my daughter. A twelve-year-old girl who had been nearly ten minutes late because she couldn’t find her mat. I had nearly turned the lights off an hour before. I’m glad I had not. Maybe within the next week another parent will look at her child and say, “You need this. Maybe it will help you. Give it a try.”
I hope so.