Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Query: Can you do yoga in a skirt and heels?

A thoughtful friend, who also happens to lead professional development workshops for social workers on occasion, invited me to teach an hour of restorative yoga to a group of said social workers yesterday.  They were working on training towards some kind of certification and, at the end of the day, she wanted to offer them an hour of "self-care".  That last bit was very thoughtful of her, don't you think?  She knows that social workers have very high pressure/low appreciation jobs and burn out isn't just an abstract idea for them.

So, with my shiny, new certification, I entered into the lion's den.  It wasn't quite that bad - for one thing, social workers tend to be extremely nice and caring people - but there were a couple of things that my friend neglected to tell me.  She had mentioned that there would be 45 of them.  La la problem!  We will just stick to very simple movements and lots of breath work.  She also told me that probably none of them had done yoga before and possibly about 20% of them would not be able to get down on the floor.  Ok...chairs and simple movements and lots of breath work.  Oh, but she didn't tell me that she wasn't going to tell them about the yoga portion of the day, so naturally many of the women had on skirts and high heeled shoes.  And some people simply had no interest in yoga, period.  And the room was a bit small for 45 people to stand in, let alone to whip out the mats that she had very generously provided for everyone.  They were all pretty psyched about the mats, however.

When I arrived and quickly noted the situation, I realized that I had to scrap about half of my class plan.  Because, however wonderful my teacher training was (and it was!), we never talked about how to teach yoga to 45 people in a small room, where half the people are in inappropriate clothing (for yoga), one of them is pregnant and a handful prefer to remain seated with their chins in their hands and a look that says, honey, if I wanted to move my arms around and visualize the moon on a still pond, I would NOT do it here at work.  And PS. I don't want to do those things.

Needless to say, it was an excellent learning experience for at least one person in that room yesterday.


Jan Morrison said...

I adore you! Just thought I'd tell you. I can so see this perfectly and although I haven't had the SAME experience - being a therapist and not a yoga teacher - I've come pretty damn close. To offer who you are and what you know is a big gift. How it gets opened is not your problem!

Robyn said...

I adore you too, sweetheart! Thanks for that... : ) Your perspective is right on!

dorinalouise said...

oh wow, robyn . . that was a very brave hour for you. well, you must have changed the life of at least one person in that room . . :O and not just you!

maybe you can go back to your yoga training and do a class on how to teach a class to people who don't want to be taught!

and i do like jan's perspective :)