Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Intro to Yoga

Like many people who grew up to be teachers, I was a good student in school. Things came easily to me, I had friends, and I loved pleasing my teachers so I didn't get in trouble. I looked forward to going to school and to getting the affirmation of a good grade. In short, school was easy for me.

By contrast, the yoga class I started several days ago is decidedly NOT. I signed up for a month of Bikram yoga at a reduced rate, and I'm trying to do the recommended 10-classes-in-10-days. If I don't die first. The room is heated to an uncomfortable 100+ degrees, and I am drowning in sweat before we ever get to the first pose. The poses were designed by someone with some real misanthropic tendencies, and the instructors have been cruel taskmasters. I got in trouble for talking because I didn't understand the No Talking rule. They don't know my name, and apparently their job is not to ensure that my self-esteem emerges from the class intact. Things are not, so far, coming easily to me, to put it in the most positive of terms.

The yoga teachers talk us through the poses, and we listen to what they have to say and do the poses based on what we hear and what we see the other class members doing. At certain points during each class, the teacher (very randomly, it seems, but perhaps there is some method to it) goes over to crack the outside door a few minutes. A rush of air coming in from the outside! A refreshing 100-degree breeze! How welcome! Thank you, kind teacher! And then, just as abruptly, she closes the door, also for reasons I can't quite discern. I don't understand the punishment. What exactly is the custom in this place, and is there anything I personally can do to increase the teacher's door-opening behavior? I want to know the secret to success here. Mostly I muddle along, trying to make sense of the teacher's words. I mimic the actions of the other class participants, and hope that things will get better over time.

Not unlike many of your students, I guess, or the teachers that I sometimes see for technology training. Most of them, like me, probably WANT to do what is expected of them. But for whatever reason, they can't quite make their bodies cooperate, at least not at first. How will you push your students this year to do more than they believe they can, without making them sweat too much?
Wishing you unexpected cool breezes, incremental success, and abundant flexibility. Namaste.

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