Yoga for the Homeless
I didn’t know what to expect when I signed up to teach yoga to homeless women through Crisis. When I arrived there were more volunteers than guests and the volunteers where scratching their heads for something to do. Straight away a lovely lady called Leo helped me carry some big gym mats through the hall to the chapel. We cleared the chairs and then started to round up the women. To be honest I thought this would all be organised for me and I would just turn up to teach the classes!!
I managed to find 2 women for the first class and it was perfect! They both new what they were doing, I was able to stick to the class I had planned and the music I had picked was perfect! Some really deep heartfelt Sanskrit chanting. You can get completely lost in the music and as it touches your heart it helps you start to get more connected to your body and empty your mind. I had a moment during teaching where I thought this is bloody brilliant! And this is what I’m going to be doing more of in 2013. Amazing!!
I did the rounds about 3 times for the 3pm class. By 3 I thought I wasn’t going to get any students and then 2 appeared, and 1 from the morning came back also! When I got to the chapel there was an amazingly warm lady in there. I invited her to join us but she said she felt so uncomfortable in her body, that she felt like she was still a baby in body. I said yoga can help you get more in touch with your body, why don’t you join us and just do what you can. Well you know you’ve got the confidence to be a yoga teacher when you can hold a class together for 4 homeless women who just want to do their own thing!
The first lady decided she only wanted to do standing yoga when I was planning to start the class seated, so I had to get her a chair. The lady from the morning was great, just copied everything I did. The younger lady in the middle’s mind was all over the place initially, then she decided to bring her own moves in and just started to do her own thing on the mat. The lady in the skirt with trousers underneath couldn’t work out how to get from 1 pose to the other so she was completely doing her own thing. 2 of them didn’t understand English very well so I had to make really obvious but simple body movements and hand gestures. They told me they wanted the music louder, one lady just stopped halfway through said she was too tired. They were very demanding. But the best part of the class was when the first lady was sat on the chair with her arms and legs spread out like a star whilst the rest of the class was doing hip openers. She was swaying from side to side to the music, I caught the eye of one of the other students and had to contain the laughter. My heart swelled up with love.
At the end she told me she thought she had gone to heaven and back and then energy of the room was outstanding, that it had been the highlight of her Christmas. Another lady wanted me to adjust her in a hip opener using my bodyweight to help her go deeper. And 2 of them made me write down their names to make sure I find them the next day I am there! So although it sounds like a mess it was brilliant, it all worked so well and I just let it be how it was meant to be.
What I learnt from today is along with being homeless, the women are also very unstable. Their minds are all over the place, or even in a completely different place. They need a lot of attention and kind support; they need guidance and direction but in the end will just make the yoga class what they want it to be!! I can’t wait for Friday!
Great blog you have herre
Leave a Reply.
I was working full time in a high pressured office job and studying for my accountancy qualifications in the evenings and weekends. I loved my job and enjoyed studying, but when my social life had to step aside for me to focus I discovered yoga, which gave me the space, clarity and a sense of inner peace I so clearly needed.
After qualifying, I decided to take some time out from my career and see the world. During my travels I undertook an intensive yoga teacher training course in India. This experience changed my attitude to my career and it accountancy no longer held the same interest to me. Over time I have transitioned from full time accountancy to virtually full time yoga teaching.
Having worked with many organisations from young, fun, media companies to money hungry city firms, I know how yoga can calm and centre you after a long hard day at work.
Through breath and movement yoga can give you space between office life and YOUR LIFE!