This was originally sent out to my email list. I am adding it here to make is accessible and shareable. Plus, you can comment and keep the conversation going.
When we attend a yoga class, on the surface, we might be looking for a good stretch, some deep breathing, a calmer mind and even social connection. Under that, we are also looking for a safe, comfortable, welcoming and inclusive experience. As your instructor, I do as much as I know how to do in order to make that happen. I often bring subjects up before or even during class to consider or even experience. I'd like to take that a step further with this email musing (and possibly others in future, if my muse sticks around).
The topic of this email conversation starter is on scents and fragrances.
Over the years, some of our yoga members (students and staff) have reported being impacted by scents/fragrances present during a class. I usually remind everyone of the scent-free and fragrance-free policy that The City of Courtenay has but I wanted to take that a step further with this email inquiry.
For whatever reason, there has been a rise in scents &/or reactions to scents over the past few months.
Did you know that there are 1-4 people in every class that has a (minor or major) sensitivity &/or allergy to fragrances & scents?
In some people, fragrances can cause respiratory distress (asthma attacks, coughing, hay fever, and shortness of breath), headaches/migraines, nausea, loss of concentration, skin reactions, dizziness and even anxiety.
In others, scents can simply cause distraction - a scent that appeals to me/uplifts me may not appeal to/uplift another person. And too many scents in a room can feel disorienting.
I know many of you have taken steps to change (and thanks for letting me know)- like using unscented hand creams and lotions and going without perfume. Thank you! I also know some of you wash your yoga clothes in unscented laundry detergent and use unscented fabric softener/dryer sheets. Thank you. Your sacrifices are appreciated.
PS, The top 4 'triggers' I hear about are scented fabric softeners/dryer sheets, scented laundry detergents, perfumes and scented lotions/creams.
For those of you that have not yet tried reducing scents, are you ready to?
If yes, here are a couple web sites I found with helpful information.
For those of you that suffer around fragrances or scents, check these out - perhaps they can direct you towards ease:
http://www.dnrsystem.com/bio.html (I've met Annie Hopper. Her story and the work she does is incredible. )
And lastly, as we are all a part of this community, I encourage you to approach me (or your fellow yogi) in a positive and kind manner and share. Share your concerns about a product you are wearing or about a scented product being worn.
hugs to you all!
It's not so much that we're afraid of change or
so in love with the old ways,
but it's that place in between that we fear . . . .
It's like being between trapezes.
It's Linus when his blanket is in the dryer.
There's nothing to hold on to.
- Marilyn Ferguson
relax, breathe, slow down.... and giggle.
I have some BIG NEWS to share with you and I’ll get right to it.
I am letting go of the self-employed side of my life for a while.
What does this mean?
>>My classes at The House Of Now (Tuesday Gentle 10-11.30 & Friday Yin 5.45-7.15)
will come to a close on Tuesday, March 31st, 2015.
>>My last class at Freedom Now Yoga (Tuesday 3.00-4.00pm) will be February 24th.
>>I am also letting go of my Living Room Art Shows and Commissioned projects.
>>There won’t be any changes to classes (art or yoga) through Courtenay Recreation,
as I am an employee there.
I began my journey into entrepreneurship long ago with a little store that predominantly sold locally made and imported, fair trade curios and consumables. I loved all aspects of self-employment from the book keeping to the designing and even to the lease writing/negotiating. Fast forward to 2015... wow, what a ride its been, and boy have there been some changes! I no longer love negotiating and I find most of the administrative work keeps me from so many other things that I now wish to focus on. This translates to not putting my all into the vital background operations, which in turn affects the front end a.k.a. class numbers. I love, love, love teaching yoga, I admire the fabulous women I work with and you/the students are a huge light in my life, but those things are not enough to keep a business healthy & thriving. so i sigh, as i process letting go of the joy-filled and light-creating aspects of this biz.
For those that are joining/re-joining me at Courtenay Rec, welcome/welcome back!
For those moving along in another direction -
i wish you the best of everything, and hope to see you around the community.
I also hope this transition creates space for new forms of practice to arise and other doors to open, for all of us!
And I thank you so much for being a part of this chapter of my life.
p.s. i am not exactly sure what that will mean for this website, but i will keep you posted - which i will do here on the blog page, as some of you have requested a place to make some comments.
3. Group fitness classes are exactly that - group classes. An attendee might not be able to receive one-on-one attention - whether it is a yoga, aerobics or dance class. Yes, there is a responsibility for the instructor to present a class that is safe and hopefully will fill the needs of some of the various styles of learning, levels of experience and body types present. It is also the responsibility of us, the attendees, to do the best we can in informing ourselves and acknowledging that we may not have all of our needs met. We also must remember/know that the possibility of injury is always present, even in yoga.
4. We have this one body for our entire life. There are things that we need to do everyday for our whole lives, like eating, and some not so obvious things like body/mind support regimes. I know many students (myself included) that have received specific exercises from their health practitioner(s) that can support or be a companion to a yoga practice. I do my support exercises (almost) every day and I often do my exercises before yoga class so my body (and mind) are ready. And when i don't do them, i am aware of the difference.
This can be the hardest part. Taking care of ourselves Every Day for the Rest of Our Lives.
It is called Yoga "Practice" for that very reason.
5. Lastly, something that I have worked with myself and taught my students and friends for many years is The 60% Rule. Try everything at 60% (effort or pace) of what "normal" is for you. If you can bend forward and touch your toes, that is your 100%. Try bend forward and only touch your shins - go 60% of the way. If you can do 5 shoulder circles in 30 seconds, maybe only do 3, maybe do them 60% slower than usual.
This is a fabulous tool to use when recovering from injury or illness, when going into a new class or pose, when tired/foggy/over energized, or when you just need to humble yourself.
I have had many conversations with people returning to yoga that are on the mend or at the start of a minor or major healing journey. There are often questions like "is it suitable/appropriate?" or "how should i proceed?". Below is a compilation of information from those conversations. My intention with this musing is to give you some tools in order to better support your current practice and/or give you a direction when something new comes up with your body.
1. First, and foremost, talk to your Health Care Professional (HCP): your Doctor/GP and/or your physical health practitioner/body specialist (chiropractor/physiotherapist/kinesiologist/etc). Get clear about what is happening in your body and get clear advice on what sorts of movements to do and not to do (based on your current situation). They are the ones with the big medical backgrounds that can assess and recommend. Talk about (and even show them) the kinds of things you do in your yoga class. (even better, invite them to join your class!) Did your HCP recommend yoga? Get details - what kind? how often? And, keep in mind that some of the HCPs that are recommending "yoga" have never practised themselves or don't have enough experience/vocabulary to properly recommend an appropriate style or teacher. I read a stat that said there are over 80 different styles of Yoga out there now! So, we might need to educate them.
2. If your body is going through something, there might also be negative feelings (fear, apprehension, anger, resentment, uncertainty) associated with this something - it can affect your practice. Talk with your Mental Health Professional (councillor/psychotherapist/etc) or your spiritual adviser (priest/etc) or access other tools you might have to process this. i.e. If there is a fear of experiencing pain or injury, it is much harder to stay open and focused. The body might guard or try to protect creating inhibited movement or you might just be distracted with these thoughts and not easily hear or understand instructions. I know some people say injuries/illness only affects the physical body, but I don't believe that. I have seen it in class and I have felt it myself.
When you have this base of information, it can begin to build knowledge about yourself and the practice but it can also build confidence. Then, you can take that onto your yoga mat (in class or at home). You can also have a more informed chat with the yoga (or other body movement class) instructor.
Part 2 will arrive here in a couple weeks.....
these posts are here to