Friday, June 11, 2010

The one in which I eavesdrop on a yoga class and see a better world...

As I have mentioned before, I am taking yoga again. In exchange for one class a week, I do a few things for the studio, including checking in for our class, and maintaining the Facebook page for the studio. I wrote this note on the FB page this week after taking class.

I usually take the Wednesday night 5:15 class, and because I handle check in for that class, I try to be early. This means that I am there when the class before ours is ending. This is a class for young girls, taught by Christyn S. As I stood in the foyer yesterday (it was rainy and cold otherwise I would have been outside on the steps) I could hear her walking the girls through a pose that involved partners. I didn't peak in to see what they were doing, but it sounded like one person was being supported in a position by the other person.

I could hear her telling them what to do, and then I could tell they were doing the pose, and there was a lot of "Whoo hooo!" and "Yes, that's IT" and general sense of accomplishment going on in there. After they had switched and done the pose with the other person being supported, Christyn said something that I thought was fabulous. She congratulated them all on doing the pose and doing it really well, and she was proud of them because she saw that not once did the person being supported in the pose ever seem to expect to just be supported, that that person worked just as hard to maintain the pose as the person who was providing the support. The pose was about team work, and in all the cases, she saw each girl working together with her partner to do the pose well, as a team and she was so proud of them for working so well together.

I don't recall if I have said this here before, but I sort of loath partner poses. I am a Yankee born and bred, and I like my personal space and I REALLY don't like touching other people, other sweaty people, or having them touch my sweaty person. I mean, I don't KNOW most of the people in our class nearly well enough to, you know, TOUCH them other than to maybe shake hands. I am being a bit dramatic, but that is what my brain says when any instructor - JUSTINE - suggests we do a partner pose. I really do get a bit weirded out when someone stands too close to me, or, heaven help me, hugs me and I am not prepared for it.

But as I stood outside of that class yesterday, I thought what if I had had the opportunity to do yoga when I was 8, 9 or 12 years old, and had gotten used to doing things like partner poses early on, and how would my personal outlook on life have been altered if someone had in such a positive and encouraging manner praised teamwork at that age, you know, outside of my parents who did a great job, making sure I knew how to share with my brother and friends? I am a pretty good team player, but I am also 45 and have had 20+ years of working life to get good at that.

These days it seems the message we get from the world is ME ME ME and ME first. We have seen first hand what that kind of self centered approach has gotten us as a society - a credit crisis that has us looking at the worst unemployment numbers since the Depression, companies closing after decades of being in business, and an oil spill in the Gulf that is threatening to ruin the environment and way of life for fisherman and coastal communities for a very long time, to name a few.

The fact that Christyn was, in such a positive and enthusiastic manner, encouraging and reinforcing the concept that teamwork is good, that all parties have to put out effort to make something work right, to me is awesome. I don't know if in the moment those girls heard the message the way I did, but I assume that this is probably a normal part of how she teaches class, and I hope that because these girls are taking this class, and might continue to take classes after this one ends, that they hear that message, and it sinks in and sticks. Because I truly believe they will be better citizens of the world for it.

So kudos to Christyn, and thank you too, for helping in your way, to make a difference in this world, one yoga pose at a time.

1 comment:

Meg at the Members Lounge said...

I remember in a college psych class, we had to try and let another person catch us free falling backward. It is really hard to trust, AND to boot let some stranger touch you. What a great message the instructor is sending!