In the third trimester of my first pregnancy I began having extreme lower back pain from all the extra baby weight I was carrying. After I gave birth to Moody (see my “Ah, Life” blog if you’re confused), I was eager to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. However, I wasn’t sure I could handle an intense workout regimen so soon after giving birth, and as the back issues continued, I did my best to research other ways to resolve the issue.
That’s when I stumbled onto the path of yoga.
Ten years later, I understand the amazing impact it has had on my life, from helping to heal my back pain and other maladies, to teaching me how to know and love myself as an individual. For these reasons, I find it extremely upsetting when I see a colleague lose their focus because they’ve decided there’s a better way to teach yoga because “just teaching yoga is boring”.
Yoga began nearly 5,000 years ago as a method of self-healing for the mind, body, and soul. As a teacher, I do my best to keep this in the back of my mind when I guide my students through their poses, even if they’re a bunch of clumsy toddlers who know nothing about proper alignment. They are learning how to become stronger and more self-aware individuals and I am being invited to participate in their journey, as well as sharing my own. They bring very little fear and ego into their yoga practice, and their willingness to learn and conquer the unknown is an incredible thing to behold. Working with them has been everything and more.
Recently, I worked with a woman who believed that yoga classes for children should be as high energy and entertaining as possible.
“You want your classes to be as upbeat as possible. High energy all the way. Lively music, dancing, singing. Kids love to be entertained.”
“But….what about breathing exercises? And warm-ups? Maintaining strength in their poses?”
“If you go in there with that mentality you’re going to lose them. You need to teach them yoga so that they have no idea they’re even doing yoga!”
Naturally, I ignored her as politely as possible. Until, out of my own absurd curiosity, I tried it her way just to see what would happen. I had to then watch in horror as my calm and focused students turned into a group of hyperactive monkeys who had no idea how to go from high energy to Shavasana. It was quite the challenge bringing them back to a place where they could focus and find their inner calm. How does someone with this mindset get to teach yoga? I will never understand it.
Needless to say I will now keep my distance from her way of teaching and tell my curiosity to take a hike the next time it wants to change things up.