Teaching Yoga at Work

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been busy planning.  Planning yoga classes for my teaching vacation and outlining a yoga program for my department at work.  Last week, I was in Jamaica teaching yoga at Jewel Dunn’s River Resort and it was a wonderful experience!  I taught two classes with students trying yoga for the first time, which was very exciting for me.  I love sharing yoga with new students and taking time to explain poses and answer questions after class.  I also met some great experienced yogis who took my class more than once, which I was happy about.  This was my first teaching vacation and I know it won’t be my last.  Check out Fit Bodies if you are interested in teaching yoga on vacation!

I've also been planning yoga classes for my department at work - lunchtime and after work yoga.  My lunchtime yoga class is 30 minutes focused on breathing and flowing through poses that are work attire friendly.  After work, I’ll be offering a full hour class - yoga clothes and mat required!  I’ve been nervous about these classes because I want everyone to enjoy the class no matter what their level of yoga experience might be.  The lunchtime classes don’t require mats or yoga clothes, so it was a challenge to create a flowing sequence that was both challenging and easy to follow for everyone. 

Today was my first lunchtime yoga class and I had ten people show up!  I was excited by the turnout and suspect the class might get bigger.  Before creating the sequence, I did some google searches hoping someone else might offer similar classes to get some ideas.  I couldn’t find anything that wouldn’t require floor time and a mat, so I improvised.  I used ball pose, mountain pose, and forward folds to transition between poses instead of plank, downdog, and chatarangas.  At times, everyone was facing a different direction and I can see I’ll need to re-think some of the transitions a bit, but overall, I think it went well!  Some of this was due to space constraints.  Our hospital doesn’t have any studio space, so conference rooms are our best option.  Everyone was trying poses and taking modifications as needed.  I tried to offer the pose with a modification to make it both easier and harder to give everyone options.  One of my co-workers said she felt like she had just taken a nap, which I hope meant she was relaxed - which was the goal.  Since this was just the first class, I hope to evolve the sequence and work out the space issues based on feedback.

One thing I’ve learned from both of these experiences is that teaching experienced yogis is much easier than teaching newbies or trying to teach a class with diverse levels of yogis.  I want my classes to be accessible to all students, but I also want my experienced yogis to feel challenged.  It’s turning out to be quite a challenge for myself and a tremendous learning experience!  I enjoy every time I teach class whether I’m on an island or in a conference room at work.  Sharing yoga is the goal and I hope to continue expanding my class offerings.