Cassandra Cardiff making an impact for women in need:
My adventure started with a closet dig this morning to find a bag big enough to hold multiple yoga mats. Fortunately my boyfriend has done some backpacking over the years, so I loaded up his bag with half of the studio’s mats and began my journey to the women’s refuge.
After a difficult and topsy-turvy cycle (yoga mats are heavy and make one very tall when worn in a hiking backpack, it turns it out!) and a bit of frustration trying to find the hidden refuge, I wasn’t in the best mood when I arrived. I could only laugh when I was told that most of the women were out for the day and that only four of the mats I carted over would be required.
My mood quickly changed, however, when I met the ladies taking part. The room we had available for use was pretty small, so we had to rearrange furniture and get quite comfortable with our neighbours! We had some small (and very entertaining) yogis join in throughout the practice – in between playing outside and curiously watching mom.
What struck me most about this class was how light hearted the women were and how playful our time together was. They laughed when they fell (and sometimes pushed each other over!), smiled as they tried new poses, and made some hilarious commentary throughout. They had fun rather than taking it too seriously – which is exactly what I encourage my students do throughout my classes (when you’re having fun, you’re present after all). The refuge was not only a safe space to find shelter, but also a safe space to laugh, to fall, and to share the experience with others.
At the end of the class, a woman told me she was moving into her own home soon and wouldn’t be able to attend my next class at the refuge. She told me she really enjoyed it (it was her first time practicing yoga) and that she’ll be seeking out a studio once she becomes settled in her new community.
It was very nice to hear the class had an impact. I look forward to returning for my next class there in June!