Hello dear ones,
I want to tell you about an important change I’m making, and more importantly, why I'm making it. Beginning in March, my Wednesday night class will switch from being a drop-in class to a LEAPS+BOUNDS class. This class will be a six-week series that requires registration in advance, similar to the Monday night class. The difference is that Monday is an advanced-level class, and Wednesday will be an all-levels class.
For more than two years I taught my Monday night class as a drop-in, advanced-level class. And for most of that time, I felt frustrated by the feeling that I wasn’t making progress, and that my students weren’t making progress, at the rate I knew we could. This was for a variety of reasons, namely that the students attending each week varied, so it was hard to build from week to week, and that the levels of the students also varied, so some students in this advanced class had been practicing for many years, and others had just a few months of practice under their belts, so what I was able to safely teach was quite limited.
I polled other yoga teachers for suggestions. “Have prerequisites for attending,” they said, such as requiring that students be able to perform certain poses (like Handstand or Wheel Pose) before attending. That didn’t seem to solve the problem. “Require instructor permission to attend.” How would I even enforce that?
None of these suggestions, well-meaning as they were, felt right to me, and here’s why: I try so hard to make my yoga classes warm and welcoming. It’s my first priority to make sure that when you walk in the door, you feel like you belong here. Whether you have 10 years or 10 minutes of experience with yoga, you’re in the right place. If you’re wearing Lululemon pants you bought at the mall or shredded leggings you got from a free pile, come on in! Whether you can pick your nose while doing a one-armed handstand, or can barely take a breath in downward dog, I want you here.
So to suddenly start requiring a certain level of physical prowess to attend a class was out of alignment with who I am, and who I’m trying to be as a teacher. Making people prove themselves worthy of advanced asana practice was directly antithetical to my entire approach to yoga. I just couldn’t do it, and I felt more frustrated than ever.
When the idea (finally) occurred to me for LEAPS+BOUNDS, I knew I had landed on something good. Here was a chance to encourage commitment, to deepen our community, and still remain open and welcoming to all who were interested. I love all my classes, but Monday nights have become a source of satisfaction beyond what I could have imagined. It’s so fulfilling--and SO FUN--to watch people grow into poses and thus, into themselves.
I’m so excited to make the switch for Wednesday nights as well. Stay tuned next week for all the details, including a syllabus and full course description for both Monday and Wednesday classes for the spring!
Here’s to challenge, growth, and always belonging.
Much love, Bear