The Short Class

My most challenging class to teach is the short forty-five minutes for Friday Lunch Drop-in.  I want to do so much with this group.  There simply isn’t enough time.

We have an hour at lunch to gather our self, our whole self, into the space where we sit, relax, release and then open up our bodies during postures to hopefully include our whole body and then relax and lock in that quiet mind and refreshed body before we each go back to work.   I want desperately to give them these moments for themselves before we return to the phone calls and meetings and deadlines.  This tension and busyness (business…how interesting) outside the walls where we practice yoga seem to strain to come in and affect our effectiveness.  My task is to create the mental space for each of them to let go of time and stress.

I want to make this forty five minutes last longer.  But forty five minutes is forty five minutes.  I try to allow our Savasana to extend an additional minute, or I attempt to teach a little pranayama beyond the postures and the clock becomes imperical.  Everyone is rolling up the mats a little quicker.  It seems we barely have the time needed to get back to our areas.   I see from each person the need to scatter, undoing all we may have accomplished.  Am I doing a disservice sending every one back a minute or two later?

If I focus on the physical movements only and not the quieting and releasing of our tensions, then the tensions show in each of their postures.  That is a disservice, and it’s not yoga.

There is only time to focus on either the strength of Warriors, or the cleansing twists, or the calming yin postures – not all three.  Pick one.  Only one.

There seems to be a time when yoga classes were almost two hours long.  I loved those classes.  They certainly weren’t at a drop-in lunch program. The two hour program was pleasantly strenuous.  My arms hurt from holding Warrior poses.  My inversions such as shoulder stand always moved into a plow pose.  There was time to relax deeper into the postures.

Lunch time Drop-In courses require a different design than traditional classes.  I believe I am correct in focusing on stress release and single purpose focus.  We only meet once a week, so I cannot layout a five day program – Monday is hips, Tuesday is shoulders, Wednesday is…etc.  I have one day – one forty-five minutes – to let these folks feel their yoga.

I used to ask what did each of them want to work on.  I can tell you without asking any more.  Shoulders and neck, or “just everything”.  Mostly I see they just want to move.  If I ask them what is hurting they let me know they have sore wrists or not much strength in their wrists.  We do wrist movements and rolling.  We don’t do much holding in downward dog.  We stay away from plank and chatarangas.  We do dolphin pose, we do Eagle arms.  Everyone likes hip openers.

I have six regulars that rotate through.  I have another five people that email me regularly to tell me they will be there “next week” but never show.  They are my wanna-be’s.  Someday they will come.  Someday I will have twelve regulars that rotate through.

As a new yoga teacher, I am having trouble myself finding the time to practice fully what I want to share.  I want to change it up.  I have it in my head.  I practice it once at home.  I use notes.  From my own experience I liked the teachers that had a more or less set sequence with daily variations.  So I have my set sequence.  This week my goal is to write a fresh sequence and practice it myself at least three times, once for flow, once for time management, once to memorize it.  I hate bringing notes.  I’m five months in and I still bring notes.  My peeps need a yoga teacher that knows her stuff like the back of her hand and can continue to breathe.

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