For the first time in a while, I released a newsletter (to sign up for my email list, register on the homepage of ShiraEngel.com). Here is part of that letter.
My intention with my weekly open-level vinyasa flow class on Saturdays at 5:45pm that I will teach at Harlem Yoga Studio is to bring all I’ve learned about yoga teaching to the table. I want to develop this class on a deep level and pour all my yoga-teaching ENERGY into it. Teaching yoga is an art…it’s my art. I never gravitated towards painting or lost myself fully in writing. But when it comes to sequencing a class of 20 people so that everyone’s bodies move in a harmonious and yet individually opening way…THAT gets my creative juices flowing. Come be a first time student, maybe a regular student, and lose and find yourself simultaneously with me on the mat.
Let your Saturday evening be a ritual to open yourself up to whatever the rest of the weekend may hold.
Now, for some more explanation and the yoga teacher nerdy-ness for why I’m so excited to teach “just” one class a week.
There is a yoga teacher named Amy Ippolitti. Years ago when I was doing my first yoga teacher training she had a e-course called at 90 Minutes to Change the World. Now, this isn’t a blog post about how I took that e-course (I never did; it was too expensive for a new yoga teacher and college student to purchase). But for years her title has reverberated in my mind…especially every time I have the chance to teach a yoga class where there is the time, space, people, and energy to incorporate a complete mindfulness education in the span of 90 minutes.
When someone first hears the phrase “90 minutes to change the world” in a yoga teaching context there can be assumptions about the ego of the person who is using 90 minutes to change the world – ostensibly, the yoga teacher. But upon meditating on this phrase, what comes to mind is not the teacher but the space and people who fill the space that open themselves up to changing the world by devoting 90 minutes of their time to the practices of yoga.
In December when I took the Yoga and Social Change training at unfold Molly Lannon Kenny opened the training up by saying that you can draw a direct line from mindfulness to what is happening in the world today. Today, atrocities are happening all over the world. The direct line of mindfulness to those atrocities that can be drawn is that there isn’t much mindfulness on the other end of them. There are times when it can feel hopeless watching the news or talking about the state of the world. I use the yoga practice as an outlet to deal with that hopelessness to make it feel manageable when it can feel very unmanageable. More than that, I use it as a place and space to refuel so that I can actually do something to change the world. This does not mean that I am the one changing the world; clearly I am not. You can also draw a direct line from the people who dedicate themselves to these practices so that they become so ingrained that they spill over into the work that they are doing.
As a yoga teacher that believes in cultivating sustainable practices, here is my suggestion:
Carve out 90 minutes in your week to really study these practices that can easily be taken off the mat. Let yourself be a student of self-care. Allow that to facilitate a collective changing of the world.