Monday, June 11, 2012

Big Week - Yoga for Diverse Groups

(Later in the day - I'm adding this picture someone took while I had people in class on the grass. It was a lovely day.)

I'm not sure this will ever happen again. It's sort of like my own personal yoga-teaching harmonic convergence.

This week, starting today, I have the following groups to teach: The Senior Police Administrators, Kids Who've Been Expelled, Prison Guards, and Kids in the Hospital with Eating Disorders. In that order.

Today the police get a whole lecture about stress reduction and some cool tips on how to stay refreshed in their lives. They also get a yoga class, which for most of them, is their very first time. They have to take the class as it's part of their 3-week program.

Tuesday, I have the kids who've been expelled or suspended from school. They are potential clients of the first group, let's say. They are mostly boys, but there are some girls there, too. They range in ages from Grade 7 - Grade 12. They get a yoga class, which is optional for them. It's a varied bunch and a pleasure to teach them. I see these kids regularly.

Wednesday I'm driving to Kingston to visit the big jail where I'll be doing a lecture on stress reduction, similar to what the cops get, for the prison guards and parole officers. It's their assembly and staff BBQ will follow right after my presentation, where I will be using a hand-held mic for the first time as I do my lecture because there are supposed to be over a hundred people coming. No yoga for this group.

Thursday I'm back with the kids at school. They love the long relaxation part but last week we were getting into handstands and headstands, which they seemed to appreciate pre-savasana.

Friday I have a regular group of yoga students who are in the hospital with eating disorders. These kids are in the same range as the expelled kids - 12 - 17. They tend to be mainly girls, although sometimes there are boys in the program. I get the outpatients as well, so I get to see them throughout their program. No handstands for them usually.

It's a full-spectrum set of clients this week for me, not to mention the private students I will see and then my public class on the weekend. For the police and enforcers and expelled kids, there is a lot of commonality and in fact, the profile of criminals and the similarities to police officers' profiles is a discussion in the Senior Police Administrators Course. They know.

What I see is a lot of similarity with everyone. The boys and the girls deal with some of the same issues as each other. Anxiety, stress, family issues, self-esteem, goals, fear, those kinds of things. They tend to express it differently, however. I haven't met the prison guards yet, but from what I understand, they're under a lot of stress in general, but especially right now as jobs are shifting as prisons are closing and wards are opening in other areas.

Anyways, it's a lot of people to see in a week, and a lot of people who are going through big transitions in their lives. It's a privilege to get to be with them while they're in that process and hopefully be able to lend some support and maybe even relief.

I heard this on the radio yesterday and am pleased that he wrapped it all up in this awesome video about stress in our culture.