accessible yoga, charity, gratitude, kirtan, mentor, volunteering, whirligig life, Yoga, yoga teaching
See this lovely, lovely building? It holds the secret to my Big Exciting News. Which is happening, it really is!
If you follow me on Twitter, you might’ve noticed me talking about this already. But until things got a little more certain, I didn’t want to write a post. Just in case.
So, at this otherwise rather uncertain time (no, I still don’t have a new job yet and will be out of income-providing work as of this Friday – and I’m trying my best not to panic about that!), my Big Exciting News is 100% certain. Can you believe it? I barely can, and oh wow, I think I can stop holding my breath now…
What I’m talking about is my very first ever yoga teaching gig! And even better, exactly the sort of teaching I want to do right now. Volunteer teaching that is, and for a very specific audience.
I don’t know who’ll be in my class yet, but they will be clients of social service organisations like Sacred Heart – my students could be homeless, or coping with mental illness or possibly even street workers. Not that it matters to me. All I care about is making yoga accessible for people who otherwise could not afford it.
Y’know, when I started thinking about how to make this idea work, I didn’t realise how much effort I’d have to put into giving my time away. But I guess that’s how it is when you’re creating something from scratch, right? It takes effort and energy to build something new!
The first step was easy – I just started talking to people about what I wanted to do with no idea how to make it happen. And it turns out that unbeknownst to me, the key was among my existing network of people.
I’m a part of a little community that gathers once a month for kirtan, and then some of us go out for dinner afterwards. We’re a diverse bunch of people, and when I started explaining what I wanted to do, one of the women at the table told me she was a social worker. She gave me a tip about a local charity she works with – one that provides recreational services to the disadvantaged. It sounded promising, and so I did a little Googling.
Which is how I found myself making email contact with them, then having a chat and a cup of chai with one of their really lovely reps. We hit it off and had a wonderful conversation! And I explained that what I wanted was this – access to a room I could use free of charge for yoga classes once a week, and the classes would be free for the people who attended. And preferably, a bunch of yoga mats to use.
She was very supportive and excited about my idea, but nothing happened for a few weeks while she put the word out in her network. To be honest, I think if we hadn’t clicked as well as we did, I don’t know if she would’ve tried as hard as she did to find a way for us to work together!
Several weeks ago I received an email with the subject was: “Exciting news!”
What she’d been able to negotiate was free space for 10 weeks at a local venue (see photo). It’s actually an art gallery in St Kilda, and the yoga room (used by other yoga teachers etc) is upstairs and out the back.
Last Saturday I picked up the key and had a look around. It’s a very short cycle from my place (15 minutes max.) and the building is GORGEOUS, isn’t it? Wheee!
The idea is that my charity contact will keep looking for a more permanent venue we can use, and for now this is sort of a test run – for them and for me.
And, ummm… I’ve got a request for my yoga teacher peeps reading this! I figure I’m gonna need advice and perhaps a little mentoring. I’m not sure y’all remember what it was like when you first started teaching, but I’d sure appreciate some tips. So along with my network of yoga teacher friends in my physical community, I’m hoping I’ll be able to call on my blog network yoga teacher friends, too. If that’s okay with you folks? 😉
So. Stay tuned. There will be LOTS more on this topic. For now, I’m just thinking about the first few classes and what I want to do with the 10 week period overall. Remembering that many of my students could be BRAND NEW to yoga, and many could also have all kinds of physical/mental/emotional issues.
I feel a lot of gratitude for this opportunity. Even when I’m not sure of my own employment status, I can’t tell you how excited I am to be doing something for other people. Somehow, it’s about the only thing in my crazy whirligig life that’s making any sense right now.
The ways in which we are blessed, we never really know, right?
Rachel @ Suburban Yogini said:
This is fantastic. Some of the best classes I have ever taught have been my volunteer ones. You are going to love it!!!
congratulations, dear lady!
here’s my quick piece of advice for working with transitional populations (homeless, dealing with mental health issues etc.): you need to constantly be putting a lot of effort to get people in the room. while yoga is something that is great and healing for that group, it tends to not be priority #1, and while initial class numbers could be great, it’ll fluctuate greatly depending on the other priorities.
don’t be surprised if telling them to “sit comfortably and close their eyes” is one of the most challenging things you could have asked. closing eyes is a big thing to ask a lot of people. so is the definition of “comfortable.”
i used to work with homeless/transitional women at a ywca, so i could talk for a bit on this. let me know if you need anything anything. my email is egsilverman at gmail dot com.
peace and hearty congratulations,
congratulations Svasti 😀 It is a beautiful venue! what a wonderful setting to launch your teaching career, and how generous of you to be offering it in such a way. I think there is often a whole lot more work behind the scenes than anywhere else, when it comes to teaching – no matter what the subject matter. Launching something from scratch takes a great deal of dedication and passion – things I see you containing an abundance of!! yippeeee!!!
Wonderful news. This is something I also have had in mind. Excited to read more when you start. Congratulations!
OHHH!! This IS exciting news! I was just considering writing about the homeless population in Halifax.
I am so happy for you- what a truly generous and giving opportunity.
Hooray! That is so exciting and (karmically) a long-time coming and well deserved!!
You know if there’s one thing we LOVE in the blog community, it’s the giving of advice! So I doubt there’ll be any problems with that… just let us know how you think we can help! You’re going to rock it, girl!
awesome, lady! it looks like a beautiful place! email me whenever you want to, you know I teach in a DV shelter.
as for teaching, don’t try to teach every pose you know in the first class. I still have my notes from the first class I ever taught….WHAT A SCREAM!! 🙂
Congrats! I’m so excited for you!! And what a gift you’ll be giving to others!
You are so inspiring! Yay you! Perhaps all sorts of things will unfold from this.
@Rachel @ Suburban Yogini – I just hope I do okay!
@Emma – Thank you for that, and I’m sure I’ll take you up on that offer! 🙂
@Karin – Thank you, I’m excited!!
@Maria – I will certainly be writing about it. 😀
@EcoYogini – It is a great opportunity, and I just hope whoever comes along gets something out of it. Then I will know that it was a success.
@LaGitane – I will look forward to any advice that is offered, with thanks!
@Linda-Sama – I plan to take it very sloooow in the first class. I’m sure it will still be overkill, but that’s all part of the learning process, right?
@fiveseed – I think I’m the lucky one, to be honest!
@Nadine – I’m not pinning any hopes on this, except that I can perhaps make some people feel better. Anything else that comes is a massive BONUS.
Congratulations, Svasti! It’s obvious that right now is your time to shine–and you are, my friend!
Keep shining–life is going to keep getting better for you!
Thanks Melinda! 🙂
I am doing my best with what I have, and hoping I’m in tune with life enough for it to be the best thing I can do. xo
Good luck with the class and congratulations!
Teaching Tip: Teach from within, from your own practice and just breathe. 🙂
Thank you, ma’am!! 🙂