Saturday, June 8, 2013

Yoga on the Farm

Things are starting to happen with me and my yoga-teaching journey.  Next Saturday I will be teaching a class on a farm- at The Youth Farm at The High School for Public Service.  I found out about this opportunity through my friend Melissa, who is the manager at Shambhala, the yoga and dance studio that I currently work at as a karmi.  I loved the idea of doing yoga in a farm setting, and felt honored that she asked me to be a part of this! The students will be the farmers and volunteers, adults and probably some kids, and in exchange for teaching, I will take home a veggie share.  I love it!
I will admit that I am a little nervous, for a few reasons...but I am excited to challenge myself and show up and help to share in a positive experience for everyone.  I will be stepping outside of my comfort zone in terms of location and class setting, but also because I am nursing a shoulder injury which seems to be getting worse... so that is tricky, but I am excited to do it!

 one of last weekend's gardening projects
Luckily, part of my escape to the country last weekend involved me working outside doing gardening/landscaping projects, and I tried to make note of the atmosphere around me, how I used my body, and how my body felt.  One thing I noticed was that my friend and I would repeatedly get dizzy when standing up after weeding or digging.  We both got blisters on our hands from the tools...we both got a lot of sun!  So there are some things I need to consider as I structure the class:

First off, we will be outside, in the hot sun, with the dirt and the bugs, amongst the rows of flowers or veggies, and most likely without a yoga mat.  That means that I need to think about things like- sunshine getting in our eyes as we raise our gazes to the sky...the potential for insects to want to fly into our noses/mouths when we inhale...the likelihood that we will have pollen/dust/stuff in our noses due to breathing in the blooming garden all day and kicking up soil.  Also, the volunteers will probably be a bit tired from working all morning- so the class should be more on the mellow side. It will probably be helpful to do some alternate nostril breathing to help clear out the sinuses and calm us down a bit to start off.

Second, people will not necessarily be dressed for yoga- they'll still be dressed for a day of working on the farm.  I'm expecting to see jeans, sneakers, and tee shirts or tank tops, possibly a long-sleeved button up shirt. People could likely even have a sun hat on and sunglasses.  Things like denim waistbands and laced up shoes can reduce the range of motion that is usually available to us in a yoga class when we are appropriately dressed...usually we are barefoot!  How will those factors change the way I structure the class? 

Third, the yogis will have just finished up with a shift of working in the garden, pulling weeds, digging with tools, bending and contorting their bodies in ways that are particular to gardening.  They will have aches and pains (hopefully not too much pain) specific to doing this type of work.  I imagine it will be useful to focus on the hands, wrists, all parts of the back, some hip openers  and shoulder openers and hamstring stretches.  I imagine they will have been squatting, bending over, reaching and pulling with their arms, and gripping tools tightly...they may even have developed some blisters on their hands. I would like to offer some ways that they can move and work that will help them to avoid injury and to protect themselves while they work in the garden in the future. I think a restorative, gentle approach is definitely in order for this class. 

I will need to balance the class so that it is not too active, yet I will likely need to structure the class with mostly standing poses, since we will not have mats underfoot.  And since my shoulder is not feeling good and I don't want to injure myself further, I need to modify my teaching accordingly.  I am indeed up for a challenge- but I do feel like I have a good sense of what the atmosphere will be like and some idea of the special needs of my population.  Hooray!

No comments:

Post a Comment