What To Expect in Class
After suffering a trauma, people often just don't feel safe anywhere. It is understandable that some may feel very nervous and uncomfortable trying something that they don't know what is going to be expected of them. So, I have decided to post one of my class plans to help ease any anxiety about starting a class.
To start with, I would like everyone to know, that I am no drill instructor. Every student may choose to opt out or in any of the suggested practices I offer. This is YOUR yoga practice to help you heal, I am simply a guide that will offer things to try to help you heal and grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. I always encourage students to listen to their own body, it will tell you if you are stretching your muscles too far and risking injury, it will tell you if you are not ready to practice a breathing technique and I want you to listen to it. If a student does not feel ready for something and wants to opt out they can without any judgement.
This is a safe place to let go and focus on your needs.
I always start class with a few beginning thoughts to think about during the class.
In this case the class theme for the month is "Grounding." I know it's quite a strange word, but "Grounding" simply means to use your senses to bring your focus to the present moment. We can do this by bringing our attention to the sounds we hear, specific shapes and colors we see, smells we can detect, sensations we feel in our body, or they rhythm of our breath. This is a technique that is commonly used to help calm anxiety, fear, panic, dissociation (feeling separated from our body) and is helpful in many other ways.
I just spend a few minutes introducing some thoughts and then invite students to try a breathing practice.
I select 1 breathing technique for the month that goes along with the theme. Breathing practices can help to calm someone or it can help to energize someone. I encourage students to experiment with different ones to see how it affects them and see if they might find it useful in their daily lives. We only spend about 2-3 minutes here.
After breathing practice, I may have short meditation.
I don't always do a meditation here, sometimes the purpose to to teach a calming technique, sometimes it is to tell a story or provide a demonstration, something that makes the point of the concept we are exploring for the day. Only a few minutes are spent here.
Then students are invited to begin the movement/exercise portion of the class that yoga is most known for.
Again if there is a form/position or movement that a student is not comfortable with, for any reason, I offer variations that may make it more comfortable and/or the student may skip the form/position and do one they are more comfortable with. You will not be forced to do anything you are not ready for. Every part of the class is for the student to decide if they want to participate and to what extent they want to participate. I typically spend 30-40 minutes here.
The class ends with a ~15 minutes Shavasana or Rest in which I use a guided meditation that goes with the theme.
Individuals who suffer from trauma, PTSD, depression, anxiety, ADHD or many other conditions, sometimes have trouble getting their mind to be quiet enough to rest. For some, it can be frightening to sit in silence with their thoughts. So for this reason, I offer a guided meditation to give students a specific direction to allow their mind to wander to that still allows them to enter a state of rest.
Science has shown that 15 minutes in meditation gives the mind the same healing rest as 15 minutes of good sleep. It also often helps people actually sleep better and with a better quality when they do lay down for the night.
Again, students do not have to participate, they may tune out my voice and listen to music or do something else. Also, I intend to have 1 class a month in which students practice a moving meditation, rather than a still one.
And finally, I close the class with one last quote to carry with you in your day.
Other Things You May Wish To Know
I do use essential oils that go with the "chakra" that coincides with the theme. If you are sensitive to smell, or allergic to anything, you may wish to contact me in advance so I can make adjustments.
I also use music that goes with the "chakra" theme of the class. At any time students may ask that the music be turned up, down, different selection or off.
All my mats are brand new and still have a brand new smell. I offer lightly scented mat cleaner for the mats and washcloths to wipe them down with if you like.
I ask that students retrieve mats and other yoga props from the storage closet and return them at the end of class.
I ask for payment either online or in class before leaving.
I offer lavender scented eye bags that stimulate the vagus nerve which triggers the 'relaxation' or commonly referred to as the 'rest and digest' nervous system in the body. However, no one is required to use it.
I offer neck pillows for comfort which may be heated if desired. No one is required to use these or any other props.
Anyone may leave the class at any time they wish and rejoin the class when they are ready.
I will not ask anyone to discuss their traumatic experiences, or disclose the nature of their experience. An individual does not even have to have suffered a traumatic experience to join my classes. While classes are designed specifically to help students heal from these experiences, everyone can benefit from these classes.
I do require that everyone sign a waiver since yoga is a physical exercise. There is an intake form which I do not require at this time, however, it is impossible to predict or prevent all possible triggers or anticipate all possible health conditions. Therefore, if you feel I need to know something in order to provide healthy variations for you, please fill out the intake form.
Now that you know my class layout, I hope to see you soon!
Keep reading for information on what to bring to class.
What do you need to bring to class?
This will depend on what location your class is being held.
If you are attending a class at my location:
26 Lamar Circle Suite #7 Jackson TN
All you need is a bottle of water and comfortable, stretchy clothing that you will be comfortable moving in. All other equipment will be provided!
Feel free to bring your own equipment if you choose.
Note: Yoga mats and blocks are often available at Five Below for a very inexpensive price.
If you are attending a class scheduled at your location:
You will need a yoga mat, 2 yoga blocks, a bottle of water and comfortable stretchy clothing that you will be comfortable moving in.
Other items you might consider for your use but not required: a 1-2 blanket(s), a strap or hand-towel, a bolster or sturdy cushion, yoga socks...
also consider sunscreen and/or insect repellent if considering outdoor classes.