I love Keen Oxford- they provide social and sporting activities for young people with special needs... this is how Yannick did teaching the athletes yoga!
A few weeks ago I ran an afternoon of yoga sessions for the great people at KEEN Oxford. KEEN is a charity that runs sports and other activities for young people with special needs. It was a pretty glorious afternoon (by Oxford standards!) and there were lots of people there. I took a lot from these classes. Here’s a few things that I thought were most important.
First, teaching a group that’s very different to what you’re used to is difficult. I normally teach classes to people who’ve done quite a bit of yoga. It was humbling to have to reassess the way I teach to try to make the sessions interesting and enjoyable for students with a completely different set of needs. The learning curve in the first session was very steep. By the last session, I think I was just getting there.
Secondly, anyone can yoge (that’s definitely a verb). Often people are put off yoga by images of super toned, super flexible, generally scantily clad people, contorted into a pretzel and with an annoyingly serene expression on their face. This really isn’t what yoga is all about. There were young people of all sorts in our sessions, including some wheelchair bound. Every one of them was, I hope, able to get something out of the session. Yoga is about asana and the physical, sure, but it’s also about pranayama (breathing), dhyana (meditation) and the yamas and niyamas (ethical teachings). It’s really about how you live. There’s something there for everyone.
Finally, yoga is just plain good fun. It’s hard not for everyone to smile while we are doing frankly ridiculous poses with accompanying animal noises.
So, thanks to the people at KEEN for having me – I hope the athletes had as good a time as I did!