Thursday, April 12, 2012

My First Community Class

"Well THAT was interesting..." Those are the precise words uttered by one of my students as they left my community class yesterday. I taught yoga at the Boys and Girls Club at a local middle school. The kids were between the ages of 12 and 14. Eight kids showed up. By the end there were only 3 left.

The vibe was really weird to start. The class began with the B&GC facilitator yelling at the kids while I was introducing myself. In my experience Yelling and Yoga are typically mutually exclusive. She immediately kicked out two kids and then she left. I started them off seated, eyes closed, and breathing, rolling their heads from side to side.

It was challenging to keep the squirrels, I mean kids, focused on themselves. Their little eyes kept darting to see what everyone else around them was doing. And they giggled themselves all the way to reclined pigeon. What worked best was cueing a focal point in every single pose and giving them a number of breaths to count (i.e. take 5 deep breaths here) in the longer held poses.

At the end of the Grounding Series three of the kids had to leave for soccer practice.

I gave the remaining girls a really long savasana complete with music (I KNEW I could use that battery-operated iHome for something!). As I brought the girls to seated for Namaste I could see something had changed - they had hit the zen spot! At the end I asked them how they felt. "Relaxed", one replied. The other two nodded druggily.

Next week I will work with them more in the beginning to set the tone as they walk into class and have them leave the frenetic B&GC vibe at the door. I'd also like to make a stronger effort to connect with the kids. It felt very middle school: I am the teacher and you are the student. I'd rather the students feel like we're all in it together! Also, usually I am Air and Fire all.the.time. For this class I tried to bring in the Water and Earth but then I lost the Fire and joy! blarg. I think I was too focused on getting them to calm down that I forgot that yoga is supposed to be fun! I've been teaching classes for my friends (successfully, I might add) and now I see that teaching yoga to hormonal youths is waaaay different.

"Well that WAS interesting" -- my thoughts exactly. If just one student got something out of my class (which I think happened) then I'll be happy. And if not, well, I'll try again for next week!