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?