Sunday, August 28, 2011

Last Sunday

For at least 4 months, this is the last Sunday I'll be teaching yoga in the morning. I will still be a part of the teacher training, and the workshops I'm offering will still happen, so I will still be teaching, just not every week like I've been doing for 10 years. It has been my discipline to teach on Friday nights and Sunday mornings and has given me so many opportunities to practice the yamas and niyamas, in particular brahmacharya, santosha, and tapas.

It takes something to get up and get to a yoga class on Sunday morning (any time really), but the people that make it out to a Sunday class are special. I've often said that if I weren't teaching that class I wouldn't be at it, and I don't expect you'll see me hanging out in the back of that class once I'm no longer leading it.

Back to those yamas and niyamas I mentioned. Brahmacharya to me is moderation, but in particular, don't do things that make you intoxicated because there will be a period afterwards where you won't be present as you deal with processing the excess, i.e., the hangover. Weekends are often when our culture allows people to let loose and get intoxicated and recover from the week they've just had. I've heard more than one person on Sunday morning say how hungover they were! As the teacher, it doesn't work for me to be hungover and teach, it just doesn't. So although I may enjoy myself on Saturday night, I've always got to be moderate and manage my time so I am ready on Sunday morning. It's not really a problem at all or I wouldn't have managed for a decade, but it's something I look at once in a while.

Santosha is being content with what is. This morning, for instance, I have a cold. I haven't had a summer cold in years it seems like, but this weekend I came down with a cold and I have to get up and teach. I'm really okay with that. But the nature of my job is that it doesn't come with sick days. If you don't work, you don't get paid and that's how it goes. Sometimes you can find a sub and sometimes you can sub other peoples' classes to make up for it, but often you just lose the class. So arriving to class content and even happy to be there is a practice too.

Tapas is heat or a burning enthusiasm. For me that's getting up early enough before leaving the house that I can write, take care of my own stuff, and be on time, ready to go, bringing forth energy to share with people to help make them getting up and to class worth it! Sometimes I joke about how great it is that people are in class because just think about what other people are doing - sleeping in, having a coffee in bed, reading the paper - and here we are doing great work on the mat. Again, it takes something from the people showing up that is not always a common trait - it's special to get up and practice tapas - and on Sunday morning our class usually does involve some heat and people are sweating well before the end in general.

Sunday morning classes have been an important time in my life - it shaped when I saw my daughter over the years - it complicated new relationships - it anchored my life in a way. After a decade or so of being tethered to my practice of teaching yoga each Sunday, I'm going to let Sundays go free and see where they take me for the next few months.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Making Changes

After giving it some thought, I'm going to stop teaching my drop-in classes for the next few months, or the next session at Rama Lotus. It feels a bit radical but also so right. There is a lot behind the choice to pause, including what I've written in the last number of posts.

Starting in September, I won't be teaching any public drop-in classes. I will still be teaching on the teacher training team and leading workshops and teaching all of my regular non-public classes.

The major thing that not teaching every Friday night and Sunday morning brings me is, can you guess? Weekends! I will have a weekend in my life after 10 years of being committed each one. I'm hoping this will bring me opportunities to use my energy differently and look at healing my body, which is all good and serious, but what I'm really excited about at the moment is sleeping in! Going away overnight! Taking a workshop! Staying home!

I could go on and justify why the drop-in model is also tiring for me as a teacher, but that doesn't matter. I'm going to be on pause. Gratefully, the centre where I teach has said I can be off the schedule and I'll get my classes back in the next round. I may really miss teaching those times. It has been a part of my life for about a quarter of it and I didn't complain about the weekends. I enjoy this hour on Sunday morning. I love seeing who shows up. I love teaching Friday nights to help people unwind from their work week and set them up for a great weekend.

Given what I've got going on health-wise though, teaching 90-minute classes straight through isn't always workable, let's say. I sometimes need a break in that time and it is awkward to leave a class in the middle of it, at least the way I have been teaching my classes up until now. Maybe that will change and I'll build in a natural break. Or maybe I'll have my uterus taken out and I won't ever need to have that break again. I'll keep you posted.