Why am I interested in this?
I don’t think I can identify where my interest in sharing yoga comes from. I know how much yoga has helped me enjoy life more, and I know how challenging it can be to pay for that … lots of us agree that things like education and a basic level of formal health care are human rights that should be available regardless of someone’s ability to pay, so I suppose I think yoga should be accessible as well.
And my experience with yoga service in non-traditional settings has been, well, fun and rewarding! In my experience, classes outside a traditional yoga studio space tend to have a little more conversation (before and after) and a little more laughter (during!). I like this.
Why do I share my practice?
Yoga teacher training was a pretty considerable investment of time and money, both of which I was fortunate enough to have access to. I now have a professional skill that I didn’t have before. I do use that skill to make a living – I believe that (just like other professionals and service providers) yoga teachers need to earn a living wage. I additionally like to be able to share yoga with people who might not have access to it otherwise. I think it’s great if a budget for yoga service classes can be arranged, so teachers can be paid for this work as well, but I think that’s not always feasible.
I also had the opportunity to work with some amazing people already implementing this sort of work on a larger scale, in multiple classes in Washington, DC. I’m grateful to be able to apply the insight I gained there to start my own classes – and potentially connect with others – in Chicago.
Why should others share their practice?
Well… if they want to! Everyone has their own reasons. Perhaps they are the same as mine or different. I do think yoga in traditional settings can help people tremendously as well, so in that regard, I think most yoga teachers are already doing service, just by teaching yoga in a public, paid setting. I don’t focus this project on that aspect of yoga because there is already a steady supply of yoga teachers and studios in this line of work.
Research on the benefits of the physical practice of yoga (many links in upcoming posts) indicate that practicing yoga can have some pretty significant positive effects on our mental well-being. For instance, this study found that yoga was more beneficial in relieving the symptoms of PTSD than any medication. And we can all benefit from increased mental well-being! Those who are able to pay for yoga can do so … sharing my practice can help others who cannot pay access that tool. And while extensive experience and training is helpful, you don’t need to be a medical doctor to teach yoga. Training is an investment, but lots of people have it and can share this great practice.