I begin each Yoga 101 session with everyone sitting in a circle. No mats yet, its too soon to roll out the mats. The mats set an expectation and I want to wait on that for a bit. Some of the people in the room have never taken a yoga class before, so rolling out the mat makes this more about what they have seen and perceived to be yoga, as opposed to what yoga can be for them. I begin the 1st class without mats so we can begin more slowly and allow this space to become what this group needs it to be. Not an expectation I place on them.

As the students walk in for their first day of class, they see a room with folded blankets placed in a circle on the floor. The packets containing the information they will learn are placed on each blanket with a pen attached. Some of the students will sit on the blanket, some will push it in front of them, they don’t yet know what the role of the blanket is. The conversation going around the room is kind and pleasant as everyone is new to what is about to happen, even me. We are all feeling the new energies around the room and how well we are going to settle into 8 weeks of being together.

I begin with a brief introduction of myself and the space, then everyone takes turns introducing themselves and what brought them to Yoga 101. This is the most important part for me. Why are you here???

Stress is a very common reason, timing of the class and their schedule is another, but another popular reason is usually something along the lines of, ‘I want to make sure I’m doing the postures correctly.’ All good reasons to be here, albeit, I don’t know a bad reason to be in class, but I am biased.

At some point during the first class, I usually break the bad news. ‘I’m not going to use words like right and wrong or correct and incorrect. I will use words like: feel, safe, unsafe. Things like that.’ And when I say that, I’m usually looking at the faces of the people who mentioned correct postures.

Why would I say something like that? (Part 2 next week)