The recent story of Amanda Todd is an unfortunate reminder that the world is far from peace, and our children are enduring a kind of suffering never seen before. Unfortunately, bullying is a universal experience. From schoolyard bully to workplace intimidation, each of us likely has a story of how someone has been verbally, emotionally or physically maligning. For me, I was always teased for being too thin. In college, ‘mean girls’ would say things like, “you should eat a sandwich” or “stop sticking your fingers down your throat” or my favorite, “you look like you should be on the cover of National Geographic.” It was hurtful. It was their attempt at exerting power through fear and humiliation.
Amanda’s story, like many teen’s today, was filled with violence that pervaded every crevice of her life. The teen recently recorded a video chronicling how she’d been bullied on Facebook and how that spilled out violently into the real world, completely destroying her life. Unfortunately, Amanda is the latest victim of hatred’s grasp; she committed suicide Wednesday, 10 October, just shy of her 16th birthday. #RIPAmandaTodd is now trending worldwide in support of anti-bullying, and the video has become her own sad legacy.
Bullying of any kind is jarring, it’s a violation of our self, the safest place we have. It’s the worst kind of ‘home invasion.’ So, what can we do to put a halt to this trend and teach what might be the bullies of tomorrow to lead with their hearts instead? How can yoga help the children who are bullied, cope? Dee Marie of Calming Kids Yoga may have the answer. Dee has created a training workshops for educational professionals, health care providers, parents and children who are enduring bullying. Her entire program is focused on the teaching ahimsa — non-violence– to self and others.
After spending three years studying the effects of integrating a comprehensive educational yoga program into the elementary school curriculum to reduce aggressive behavior and bullying and increase concentration, Dee Marie, M.A., C.Y.T. was elected as the SAVE (Stop America’s Violence Everywhere) Representative for the State of Colorado as designated by the American Medical Association Alliance.
The project’s primary goal is to convey a philosophical and scientific, non-denominational yoga program to school teachers and children as a lifestyle choice.
It seems abstract to try and teach children adult concepts such as recognizing suffering and applying kindness first, but maybe it’s time Dee’s type of teaching is a mandatory part of every school curriculum. Maybe it’s time we better teach our children to scatter seeds of kindness rather than harvest hatred.
We are all bullies in our lives at some point whether we realize it or not. At some point in your life, you’ve hurt someone with your words or actions out of an unconscious need to be ‘right’ or to ‘win.’ And THAT is a form of violence. There’s a beautiful quote I saw once that I love. It says, “Open your mouth only if what you are going to say is more beautiful than silence.”
Think before you speak. Love before you act. Help someone up who has fallen. Your words and actions have power, use them wisely.
– Your Charmed Yogi