2013 has gotten off to a great start! My intention for this year is to bring yoga to people where ever they are and no matter their age, budget, or body type. The good folks at Manduka have helped me make good on this by providing 20 of their awesome mats! Their generosity could not have come at a better time as I was recently asked to teach an amazing group of teens at Temple Adat Elohim in Thousand Oaks, CA.
I normally have a few jitters about teaching a new class, but teaching to teens made me extremely nervous! They can spot BS from a mile away and tend to shut down when they think an adult is not truly understanding their needs. With this in mind I set my intention to be as honest and authentic with them as possible. Although this was not my first class with the under 18 crowd (I taught middle school yoga for two semesters at New Roads School) it was still a challenge.
I decided to open the class by first asking what they knew about yoga and how they could benefit from it? From there I just dove in with my truth – I started yoga to help with my anxiety.
One of the things I love most about this practice and being a teacher is that you get what you give. I gave them my trust by sharing something personal and not so fun about my life, and my undivided attention by making sure to answer questions that arose during class. I got the same in return. Stress does not have an age and just because they are young adults does not make their stress any easier to deal with. We did breath work (3 count rhythmic breath) and talked about how although stopping to breathe before responding to a difficult situation may not make it go away, it can help us respond in a more calm and productive manner.
As we flowed through movements the challenge was given to find not only the effort in the postures but also the ease (and sometimes the fun). For our balancing postures we looked for the stability in an unstable position, the little dance the standing ankle does as it supports the rest of our limbs. There was a moment in childs pose where I spoke directly to the hyper critical voice of self doubt that can reside in all of us at times. The message was to find value in rest, know that it does not make you lazy or irresponsible and that sometimes it is truly needed to continue on as your best self.
I cannot wait to go back and share a space with these amazing teens.
Shalom & Namaste,