Avani was excited about the play her class was writing, a new version of Little Red Riding Hood, where Grandma would chase the wolf. She liked figuring out how the story would end for the woodcutter. And she loved painting the sets...till when she spilled the paint.
"That's okay," said Avani's teacher, Mrs. Stonier. But Avani felt terrible.
When the class chose parts, Avani pretended she wasn't interested. "Avani, everyone takes a part and gets to play," said Mrs. Stonier. Avani shook her head and said " I'm clumsy. I can't"
Mrs. Stonier was a nice lady. She patted Avani to make her feel good and said " Well, I can't take a no, Ofcourse you can! We need lots of trees in the forest."
Soon the first rehearsal came up. Walking to the stage, Avani hoped she wouldn't stumble or trip. But then she stumbled and tripped and almost fell on the ground. "Avaaaaaani....," groaned the other trees. Avani had tears rolling her rosy cheeks and wanted the fairy Godmother to make her a disappearing tree.
At dinner that night Avani was sad., very sad. "I'm the worst tree in the whole world," she said to her parents. "Why," asked her mom. "What happened?," asked her Dad. Avani told her parents about the tripping experience at the rehearsal. "It's all right. Your arms are little and legs are growing strong. They can make you feel like that sometime when you are at a growing spree." said her mom. "You try your best. You don't have to be perfect." added Dad.
The next day Dad and Avani went to the Indian grocery store in the city. There was so much to see! "Careful," Dad cautioned Avani. "I 'm careful." said Avani. She leaned and a bag of rice toppled over. "It's okay," the shopkeeper said.
Just then Avani saw feet at the backwall window! They rose up in the air and stood still. "That's one of our Yoga classes," shopkeeper said. "Would you like to take a free trial,"holding Avani's hand, the shopkeeper asked her. "Avani nodded.
Luckily the next class was beginning in 2 minutes. Avani could hardly wait to try stretching like a rubberband! The instructor gave a red Yoga mat to Avani.
"Let's do the cat cow pose," said the instructor. "Breathe in. Arch your back...Breath out. Down and Breath back." Avani tried to follow but her foot shook and shot out and she hit the other cat beside.
"Now, Be a frog," "Down on knees...Sit back on feet...Knees wide open...Bend body forward," instructor said.
Avani stretched and breathed her way through the Yoga class. The instructor helped her. Soon a smile followed Avani's face as she could breathe deeply and stay still. "Very nicc, You didn't topple," the instructor said. Avani felt golden warm inside. Her rosy cheeks became redder.
During rehearsals, Avani tried to be quiet and calm. But she wanted to say the lines when her classmates forgot. "Avani, stay still," said one of the trees. "Shhh, Only your braches are to move," said another tree. Avani tried her best not to move.
In yoga class, Avani's arms and legs learned to listen to her and move smoothly. She propped on the mat and raised her arms in the cobra pose. "Let's try the tree pose," said the instructor. "Oh, no! I'm a terrible tree," Avani exclaimed. Everyone looked puzzled in the class. "A yoga tree is different, Take a deep breath. Hold and Let go. Now root your feet and raise your arms in the Namaste," said the instructor. Avani breathe out and let go of all your worries. "Look at one point,ahead," said the instructor.
After a few Yoga classes Avani found it easy to breathe in and breathe out as the instructor said. Once when all the children were sitting in the lotus pose, a Divine thought lit up Avani's mind. I can change my body by how I feel inside, she realized. If I am quiet inside, my body will be still. That's what yoga is really about. Avani hugged her thought tight to herself and felt the bliss inside. She imagined standing tall, mighty and strong and yes, still, growing roots in the Little Red Riding Hood's forest.
On the performance night, Mom and Dad and Avani's sister and brother drove together to her school. All were dressed in their costumes soon. Avani's tree branches tickled and her roots felt itchy. "Mom, " she cried. "Don't worry, Avani, You will be fine," said Mom. "You will be a great tree," said Dad. "I love your dress," added her big sister.
" Let's begin," Mrs. Stonier announced. As Avani walked to the stage, her branches snagged another tree. Her left foot stepped on the roots of the right foot. She tripped and fell. "Avani," whispered all the trees together. "Leave your broken roots, Do the best you can, Go now, " said Mrs. Stonier, as the red curtains started to unfurl. Avani wanted to hide but it was too late. From the stage Avani spotted a familiar face. It was her Yoga instructor sitting next to her family. Avani started to do her Yoga breathing. In, Out, In....Out. She got her mind quiet and listened to her spirit. She stood up straight in her best tall tree pose, raised her arms and smiled brightly. Silly roots, It's okay! Avani thought. She would grow her own Yoga roots., right in to the forest on the stage.
Grandma chased the wolf and the play went on. Through it all, Avani took deep Yoga breah in and let them out. She was still and didn't tumble at all. She moved slowly and was careful. Most of all she knew she could do this again anytime, in her own Yoga way.
Avani was the happiest tree in the whole Red Riding Hood Forest.
A happy Yoga story for my kids Anushka, Avani and Avish. .