Our volunteer teachers come from numerous walks of life and find Living Yoga at different sections of their journey. This diversity is what gives purpose and authenticity to our classes and our students. We value these differences. Here, one volunteer teacher shares her journey and how she came to volunteer with Living Yoga.
When I decided to get my RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) in 2016, after only five years of regular yoga practice, it was with the intention of somehow "giving back"--of bringing some of what I had gained, to others who might not otherwise have the chance. Yoga in the United States is deceptively simple: we say it's for anyone and everyone, but I would venture to guess that most folks practice in a gym or studio, on expensive mats, wearing cool outfits, cooler jewelry, and the coolest tattoos. There are yoga retreats in Bali, yoga performed on paddle-boards, yoga with goats, cats, or cannabis.
I actually kind of enjoy the accouterments of this (rather extravagant) culture. But this was not why I decided to pursue training. I had volunteered for a while in the Chemical Dependency center at Columbia River Mental Health, sitting in on group meetings and intake sessions. I even taught a short yoga-based exercise class to one group. Here I met people who could most benefit from what yoga had to offer, but who were also convinced that yoga was not for them (or, worse, that they were not for yoga.) But how to begin? I'm not a great innovator, so how...?
I got my RYT from CorePower Yoga in Portland. At our last class before the final, we were treated to a presentation about Living Yoga's program. BINGO! I did a little research, and, after taking James Fox's Prison Yoga Project training in May signed up for the June 2017 Living Yoga volunteer training, and am now waiting for my paperwork to be approved to start teaching.
The Living Yoga training was amazing, as were the instructors and the other students. So many of the instructors and volunteers came from service backgrounds, and their stories were inspirational and encouraging. Some were experienced yogis with many years of practice under their belts; some had just come to yoga and wanted to share their gift of wellness and peace with the community.
Throughout the training weekend, all the instructors made themselves available to us. No question was too dumb, no insight or epiphany slighted. The practices were a revelation--such compassion, such humor, such gentle guidance! We could see that it was all doable, and that whatever our style of teaching, we all had what we needed to be compassionate, gentle, and effective.
So a shout-out to all at Living Yoga. May you persist.