Yoga for Educators

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As you’ve likely heard (because let’s face it; if you’re reading this blog, chances are that you’ve been to a yoga class or two), the Sanskrit root of the word yoga – “yog” – means to yoke together, or to unite. Yet oftentimes, as someone who works at an elementary school by day as a part-time yoga teacher/glittered, bindi-wearing vinyasa practitioner by night, my professional identities can feel rather separate. This distance between the two aspects of where and how I spend my time makes it all the more exciting when I find ways for these two to yoke together.

My Yoga for Educators workshop and series is just that! When I spoke with Leigh, co-owner of Unfold, the yoga therapy studio I’ve been teaching at since I moved to Portland, we discussed what my “ideal client” might be. After I explained to her the joy I’ve experienced in teaching staff yoga at the school I serve at and teaching to AmeriCorps members through my AmeriCorps Yoga workshops, she informed me that it sounds like I love teaching to the “unsung heroes” in our society. I think she’s right.

So it is with same great joy I teach from and to that I bring you the announcement of the Yoga for Educators workshop and series at Unfold. In the workshop happening in two weeks, I will cover:

  • DIY Yoga: creating a sustainable home practice that works within those unique educator schedules
  • Yoga for the Classroom: using mindfulness, meditation and stretch breaks to cultivate more engaged teachers and learners, and
  • Breathwork: to balance our parasympathetic nervous systems in the path to being more present

The series will be a lot like the workshop – just WAY more in-depth. The Yoga for Educator series introduces the wide-reaching practices of yoga in ways that make sense for educators: society’s day-to-day warriors. This series is designed to empower educators with self-care tools for themselves and professional development tools on mindfulness in the classroom. In this series, participants will:

  • Reflect on the importance of the mind-body connection and parasympathetic nervous system
  • Create your own yoga practices for different times of the day and schedules
  • Learn different breathing exercises for both students and teachers; learn how to harness students’ attention through mindfulness and
  • Relax! And develop a whole toolkit for relaxation that can be practiced during the summer, and easily transferred over to the school year!

If you know of any educators in the Portland area, please let them know about this offering (I will also be blogging the highlights so stay tuned) and check out the below links:

Unfold Website (scroll down! sign up!)

Facebook Event for Workshop

Facebook Event for Series

Personal Website ShiraEngel.com

yoga for educators2015 (flyer)

written from dragonfly coffee house in portland, or

Living Yoga Gala

On Friday night, I went to my first gala. It was by far one of the most grown-up things I feel like I’ve done. Especially in Portland. I have been yoga networking my way into substitute-teaching jobs at studios in my neighborhood. One of those studios is Unfold, a lovely institution that believes deeply and holistically in partnerships between yoga service organizations. They offer their space to Living Yoga and as a result, Living Yoga offered up a table to them at their annual gigantic fundraiser of a gala.

And a gala it was!

Remember how last week I wrote a blog post about Portland nonprofits? Well, I can now consider myself pretty immersed in all three that I wrote about. I went from a day of school garden training with Growing Gardens to dressing and doing my makeup for an event with Portland’s wealthiest and fanciest. (Yes, I had a little bit of double-life syndrome come through.) When the MC at the event got on stage after the lavish cocktail hour, he said, “Welcome to the best-dressed yoga class of your life.”

These events, I learned, are a great opportunity to talk to others about their paths, overhear conversations on what different yoga service organizations have to offer and glean inspiration straight from the source. It is also a good opportunity to recognize that, well, yogis know how to party.

The above video is a true testament to the work that Living Yoga does and all that yoga service is capable of doing. It was a fabulous (and I do not use that adjective lightly) way to start off the weekend. Talk about nonprofits who know how to do and fund their service in style!