Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Feeling good! Or are they?

This past week-end I taught my first class at Rama Lotus.  I put tons of pressure on myself before going because in my mind this is THE school to be a part of in Ottawa.  They were one of the first schools in Ottawa and are currently one of the biggest.  They were one of the first schools in Canada to have their teacher training course recognized by HRDC which is also huge.  Their space is amazing and so are their teachers.  In my head I made it bigger than I probably should have.  I should not have made this class seem any more important than any other yoga class that I have ever taught.

It was interesting it was a prenatal class that I was substituting for.  I had met non of the women before, all except one were first time mom's which is great.  I really try to focus on bonding with the baby during my prenatal yoga classes and in the past women have quite liked this approach.  So of course I tried it again.  I have to say they were the toughest crowd ever!!!  During asana practice I always encourage my students to smile - which some may find odd.  Smiling means that you are breathing and that you are relaxed in a posture, if you can't muster up a smile, even half a smile then you may not be as comfortable as you could be.  Not that you need to be laughing and smiling the entire time, but bringing joy to your yoga class can and should be attainable.

During prenatal yoga there is very minimal assisting due to the nature of the pregnant body.  Most of the assists are verbal and visual not much touch and mostly I remain on or near my mat.  The class tends to run at a smooth easy and sometimes a bit slower pace.  The savasana is longer usually about 8 to 10 minutes which for people who have not done a lot of yoga can seem long.  So we do the practice, they have their savasana, I chant a bit at the end.  Close the class and barely get a smile, maybe the occasional nod and thanks under the breath as they leave but that's it.

Feeling somewhat dejected and wondering did they enjoy the practice did they hate it  - what????  I was sitting outside waiting for the cloak room to clear and started chatting with another teacher.  She asked how the class went and proceeded to tell me that she used to teach prenatal and stopped because she could tell anything about how they were feeling, the same thing I was wondering.  Then it hit me!  Pregnant women are giving so much of themselves, of their energy and of their being to their babies that they don't have much else.  They may not be able to give more to their environment.  Aparigraha!  I was grasping at an expectation of how my students should or could be reacting, instead of just accepting where they were.  With the realization that most of what happens is internal I will approach my next class with less expectations of how I should be and how they should be and just lead the practice.  They will get out of it what they need and I will be doing what I love and am good at!



  1. I think the feedback you were looking for was also a need on your part for approval, not so much from the participants, but from your teachers and the people who work at Rama Lotus. It comes down to you wanting to make sure you do a good job and that you meet the expectations of your teachers. You did great, I know it.

  2. I went to a prenatal class when pregnant with Neirin but I left because the atmosphere was so rubbish! The teacher was lovely and worked hard to create the right vibe but the other participants were unfriendly, didn't communicate or seem to want to share and were competitive about poses. Not the vibe I wanted. I think a lot of people who do yoga do it more as a sport than as a spiritual journey so when they are pregnant they are the same. The crowd at my class were not at all crunchy and there was a very miserable feeling about them all. Maybe it is as you say, they were giving too much of themselves. Honestly I think that they were just being a bit miserable and maybe doing the class because it is one of the things you do when you are preggers not to connect with their babies. I would have been happy to share and be friendly but felt very unwelcome, so I stayed home.

  3. Emma:

    I am so sorry that you had that experience. It is too bad that when you want to do something there are energy suckers who make it unpleasant. You are right about some taking it because it is the right thing to do. My only hope with those women is that they enter into yoga as part of their check list and like it and decide to stay and further that it opens their hearts and minds to more!

    Emmanuelle - you are probably very right!