Big aside: I am in the process of typing and printing my Yoga notes from previous workshops over the years. While attending various workshops, I would overhear other teachers discussing the fact that they never looked at their notes afterwards. I secretly knew I was different.
And while I do look through my notes periodically, right now they are next to me in a big pile and not well organized. I am in the process of organizing them, which takes time.
(So to procrastinate even further, I am writing this blog post.)
Let the procrastination begin:
I really enjoy teaching. I have been a teacher for a long time. When I was 15 years old, I was lucky enough to be given a job as a camp counselor at the West Branch YMCA in Omaha. It wasn't my first opportunity to teach, but it was a big step for me.
Fast forward to today. I have been teaching Yoga for almost 18 years. Wow! And if you would have told me back then that I would be doing something that I love for this long....I wouldn't have believed it. Life really can surprise and amaze, if we are paying attention.
And while on the topic of teaching and teachers, I am currently in the middle of a wonderful little book by Katy Bowman entitled, Movement Matters. For those that think you have a short attention span, this might be your book. Katy has put together many very thoughtful, well researched short essays that encapsulate the decades of research towards healthy movement and healthy lifestyles. Katy cares and you can read it in her essays, in her many books, her podcasts, and videos that she has put together over the years. If you want to learn how to move well and be a better person by making informed choices in this world, she is a living example. Yay, Katy!
I am a firm believer in the idea that we are all teachers and students simultaneously. Like when I am teaching a new asana (Yoga posture) in class, I must observe and adapt so that the student receives the info at their level. If the instruction isn't translating safely in the student's body, I need to approach the asana differently so that the student is successful within their own body. Learning is a life-long pursuit and I am so thankful for all my teachers and the knowledge that they have passed on over the years.
Sometimes learning for me takes on more of a contemplate and observe level. I love to take a concept or word and carry it with me for a year or so.....observing how it shows up in my life. Some of my past words were: community, God, forgiveness, and empowerment. Right now I am focusing on the statement,
Movement is life.
It isn't an original concept, and I don't need it to be. It is just an idea that I carry with me throughout the day. I watch how its truth manifests when I observe the world around me. Of course, there is always a balance that we need to address when someone is discussing movement and health. Too much in one direction or the other is just that...too much.
When someone is sick with the flu, we can agree that bed rest is essential. If a person isn't healthy, their body needs time to recuperate. The problem seems to be these days when we are healthy and have the ability to move but we choose to move less. Moving less could represent wealth in our minds because we don't need to move to collect our food and carry our water. Our society has been conditioned to think that all we need to do is pop something in the microwave and sit down (after sitting down all day at work) to watch t.v. A sedentary lifestyle is becoming not only the norm but something that is desired. When we do choose to move we exercise, not realizing that we are outsourcing our natural movements with each convenience we perceive as necessary (and desired) in our lives. Because we are no longer are hunter/gatherers, we need to schedule in some form of exercise to replace the loss of daily natural movement.
Now I don't want to delve into the pros and cons of various exercises vs. the natural movements that were the basis of daily existence in the not-so-distant past. What I want us to just ponder for a moment is just the word "movement." And while you are carrying that word around with you throughout your day, maybe think about your movements.
When I teach my Yoga classes these days, I think more along the lines of incorporating lots of healthy movements and easy stretches that can be performed anywhere by anyone. I also make an effort to get my students seated on the floor (with blankets or a bolster so their lumbar spine keeps its natural curve). Even before I was introduced to Katy Bowman's work, I knew most people had a hard time getting up and down off the floor as they got older. Why is that? Well, in our culture we sit in chairs which are at a certain height, and go from one seated position to another seated position (of that same aforementioned height). Do you see where I am going with this?
All I want to do is plant a seed, an idea. The idea is how do we incorporate more varied movements throughout our busy days? I have some suggestions but for now, I just want you to observe yourself and your environment. Observe what movements you make and the variety of shapes (seated on the floor or chair, standing, squatting, etc.) you make with your body. That is all.
In about a week, I will check in with you. I will probably give a suggestion or two. But for now just observe. Of course, once you start to pay attention you will change your habits. Good luck and feel free to email me with any results or questions.
Now that I have finished my entry for this blog, I am going to get off of my bolster (yes, I type seated on the floor with my computer on a low coffee table) and go outside. It is time for a my walk.