Today marked the happy collision of my two worlds, my two loves – my family and my yoga. This afternoon I taught my very first kula class (kula means community) which is one of my additional requirements for my training program and just so happened to align very well with avani’s wish to venture into Family Yoga this summer. After some brainstorming and calendar searching, we decided to start FY this weekend and because I was home to celebrate HD’s fifth birthday, (the party was a blast, by the way!), I got to lead the inaugural class at the studio.
Thanks to the awesomeness of my teacher training group, I happen to know some amazing kids yoga instructors and got some good ideas and visuals (Thanks, MM! ) from them that helped me plan my first family class. I went for a format that was more activity and less flow, but since we ended up with a group that was on the younger side of kid participants, I think it worked fairly well. We did breath work and nature movement, traditional yoga poses, Pete the Cat (yes, Pete the Cat!, which related to our theme but not so much the poses), partner poses and relaxation (modified, mini savasana). The whole theme behind the class was “Keeping Going” in part because, as instructors, we decided to do this six-week series of classes as a freewill donation to the town of Pilger, NE which was struck by a double tornado earlier this year, so I wanted to talk to the group about continuing forward even when faced with storms which is something yoga totally allows for and helps us do. So families of any size and any age can come for any amount and participate, and it was so cool because for our very first class, we filled the studio (using every single extra mat we have!) with nine families and raised over $125!
I was so honored to be part of such a great event and so thankful that the girls at avani have welcomed me with open arms. It’s beyond cool that they are allowing me to get my yoga teacher sea legs at a place I love and adore so much. When Ben and I were talking later, he mentioned this fact and how great it was that I got to do my very first teaching at avani since I feel so comfortable there and he was spot on. Had I been away from “home” I would have been far more nervous. As it stood, though, I was able to take my amped-up energy all day (we didn’t start until 3:30 this afternoon) and channel it as excitement, not nerves. We’ve been talking about energy and emotion and choice in class the last two weeks and today was a prime example of that for me – choosing to label the jitters in my tummy all day as happy anticipation instead of fear kept me calm and moving forward (OMG, I love themes!).
The only rules I had for the class were to have fun (do what feels good) and stay on your mat unless otherwise directed. While that second one wasn’t really followed, especially by one wandering toddler (and then my kids who were trying to get said toddler to quit taking their baby brother’s toys), I think the first one was met by pretty much everyone in attendance. I saw lots of happy faces looking back at me throughout the class and, shut the front door, I got all of them to lay down and be quiet(ish) and still(ish) for relaxation! I didn’t make them hold it long, but I totally had a moment of looking around at all the peace and thinking, “Whoa. This is AWESOME!”
And the other awesomeness was, of course, having my family there. They came with their water bottles and pint-sized yoga mats (thanks, Gma & Gpa M!) and great big, 100w smiles. They have been asking for months to join me at yoga and today that request was granted. HD & RL were even willing participants to help me demonstrate the partner poses we did, coming up to the main mat (avani has a huge square mat at the front of the studio where the instructors stand and I can’t even begin to tell you how cool it was to get be on that!) and diving right in with me. Leading tree pose with LT on my hip? Having HD blow me a kiss from relaxation pose? Seeing RL’s sad face after class was over, asking, “We have to go home now? Want to stay!”? Getting a “You’re doing great” smile from Ben mid-class? All of it made my heart sing. My family is remarkable and while it is hard to be away from them this month, they make it so easy to know that I am on the right path.