Friday, June 21, 2013

Farm Yoga- it happened!

So last weekend I taught a yoga class out under a beautiful tree at The Youth Farm at The High School for Public Service.  Initially I was nervous, but it ended up being awesome! I expected to teach to some kids, which would have given me a sneak preview of teaching yoga to kids, but the students were all adults- which is totally fine! I had never even taken a yoga class outside before, not to mention taught one, so it was probably a blessing in disguise!
I tried to think of every possible aspect that might effect a yogi-gardener doing a practice outside, but naturally there were elements that came up that I didn't anticipate. It was a bit of a challenge to lead and demonstrate without raising my arm above my head, but I explained my (injured shoulder) situation and the students were understanding, of course. Nothing was a major problem at all, and overall the class was a very pleasant experience.
Five of us came together on this hot day to practice under an old beautiful Sycamore tree.  Above us was a view of craggy branches and abundant leaves and beyond that a clear open sky.  Below was soft grass and some hidden little Sycamore tree fruit balls, which are kind of hard and spiky, and really cool looking.  We just moved the spiky balls away and let ourselves really connect with the earth, it was pretty easy to feel grounded. 

spiky balls!
The sky was perfect and though temperatures were high, the shade from the tree kept us cool.  My favorite part was hearing the sound of the wind blowing through the leaves above us.  There were plenty of other city sounds to distract our focus such as the usual police car sirens and screaming teenagers, but I noticed the peaceful sound from the wind and leaves dancing together and challenged the yogis to see if they could find a place within themselves where they heard only that noise. I don't know if it worked for them, but I enjoyed it.  
When prepping for the class, I was very interested in trying to specialize the structure so that I could address specific needs of the farmers such as back pain or stretching the hamstrings.  However, the group was mainly volunteers who had only worked that day so they did not have chronic pain that developed from working the land over time.  Also, they seemed to be in their early 20's and I guess I've forgotten that feeling of invincibility that flows through you as an early's been a while since I've been that age!  Still, they seemed to appreciate the class and what I gleaned from our chat post-class, was that the most fulfilling part of the experience was the combination of working on the farm, getting dirty...being part of that cycle, AND then finishing up the day with a very grounding, gentle yoga practice to end the day.  The two seemed to fit together well. 
After my class I took a little more time to explore the rows and check out everything that was growing.  I cursed my aching shoulder and wished that I could have been out there that morning, weeding and watering, smelling the soil, touching the dirt...but, it wouldn't have been safe.  I vowed to myself to go back once my shoulder is healed, I owe it to myself to spend time caring for a garden- it's so rewarding for me even if its not my own. After a moment, I stopped being irritated at myself and my shoulder and just appreciated the fact that I was there and breathed in all of the loveliness that surrounded me.  The poppies, sunflowers and squash plants seemed to smile up at me and invite me back whenever I am ready to return.

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