Yoga, Breath, Light, Love
Or at least participate!
I teach yoga at a half way house two nights per week. There are 31 beds filled with male residents ages 18 – 35. The founder, a recovering addict himself, is an inspiration; truly an individual to bow to.
The interest and participation at the house has been very minimal – not a big surprise since they are all men. And let’s face it, men just don’t “get” yoga. That is not a true statement of all men, but my experience is that most men do not embrace yoga.
A few weeks ago, my yoga classes were made mandatory to all residents who have been at the house less than 30 days. The first mandatory class brought me 8 students; 4 of whom were very resistant to being there. So I started class and immediately the 4 guys started talking out loud, laughing, grunting…essentially making their resistance known and disturbing the class.
My immediate reaction was to abandon the class and leave. I own a yoga studio where resistance does not exist; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. My customers are coming to me voluntarily, seeking what my teachers and I offer. Bu then I reminded myself that I was the mature professional and decided to offer these guys an alternative.
I asked them all to give me their attention. I acknowledged they were there forcibly but told them that I had no intention of forcing them to actually do yoga. Instead, I offered those who did not want to participate the opportunity to take a resting pose and simply breathe for 60 minutes; sharing their energy and breath while breathing in ours. When I asked if they thought this was a fair compromise they said yes.
So I proceeded to teach the class. When I looked up from demonstrating downward facing dog, I was pleasantly surprised to see that all 8 were participating! Go figure right?
Set them free and they will come back. And come back they did…voluntarily the next class. In fact, 3 of them come to my studio on the weekend. So cool!
I know they are learning from me, but the lessons that I am gaining from them are far beyond any expectation I could have had and the gratification? WOW!!