Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Teaching Yoga

So, for those of you that wondered, I am an "off the books" yoga teacher.  I do not have my yoga teaching certificate, but have been practicing it myself for almost 5 years.  I told you a bit about this here.  I believe in the whole practice of yoga and don't just do it on the mat for two hours, I try to live it every day.  I like doing it and I like teaching it; if I didn't, I wouldn't (that's just the kind of person I am).  Before we started the class at school almost 5 years ago, there was nothing like this for our kids who were interested in being active, but weren't interested in competetive sports. 

I continue to teach yoga to teenagers becuase I think it helps with patience, anger management, self-esteem, obesity (and tons of other things), and gives our students something to do after school.  We teach in an inner-city school and a lot of our students stay at school becuase they don't want to go home.  So, giving them something productive to do is fun, despite if I get paid for it or not (which I don't).

Teaching yoga offers me something that teaching English doesn't.  I can be myself, instead of a "teacher" and wear comfy clothes and interact with the kids in a completely different way.  I stay after school until 6pm one night a week from October to February because I think it is fun and important for the students.  I like that they get to know me outside of school and that we get to connect on another level.  It gives me peace and makes me happy.  Even if I am feeling tired and drained (like I did yesterday) - when I see those kids walk in and work their butts off, it picks me up.  These are the moments a teacher dreams of.

If I could just be a yoga teacher that would be awesome.  Imagine basically wearing pjs all day at school, getting paid the same, not having to grade papers, working out 5 hours a day and being barefoot while you do it.  Amazing.  I actually brought this up with our Principal, about offering a yoga class for elective credit next year, and she told me she'd "think about it" (which means no).  Other schools in our district do it so it is already in the handbook, but adopting a class is a lot of hoops to jump through, so we'll see.  I told her just to offer it one hour to start, or two, and then we will see what happens.  I'm crossing my fingers!

This year, my husband has stepped in and helped me get ready for each session and teach each week.  I am so glad he's there, along with our other teacher friends, because soon I won't be able to do much and will rely on all of them to help the students.  Next year, I will be back to school after fall break and hope to contiue to teach yoga, but am worried we will not have a space (we never do, I fight for a room) or that I will not be able to do it because of the baby.  I may just have to take next year off, I always commit to too much (it's the life of a teacher!).  But, that stuff will sort itself out.

For now, I have some pics to share from last night.  We only had about 20 students come out (it always fizzles after the first semester), but it was fun none-the-less.  To get ready, I took a nap behind my desk becuase I knew I'd be at school until 6pm and would miss my daily nap.  So, I put a sign on my door that said "Do not disturb.  Please call (my extension) before unlocking my door."  That way, no one would just bust in but instead call me first.  I am the Department Chair for the English department and sometimes people need me, and since we share the same key (in our hallway), they just come in.  Weird.  Once I tell everyone I'm pregnant, hopefully this will change, but for now, they get the "do not disturb" sign.  :)  I keep thinking about next year when I may have to pump in my classroom (I know, TMI), and I just can't have people walking in when I'm all hooked up!  So, I'm hoping people give me a little more privacy after the news is out.

Took the best nap behind my desk on my yoga mat.  Slept for 40 minutes I'd guess, the bell woke me up (0ne of the perks of teaching!).  I am lucky because I have three hours off in the middle of the day so if I need a nap, I can take one.  It's just not very comfy on the floor (I need to get a couch!) but it will do.

(Tried to capture it in the dark so you could get the full effect.)

Anyway, we had a great work out yesterday (was worried I did too much, was SO tired last night and am SO sore today) and had a lot of fun.  Glad there were only a few students, it's so hard to teach 80 - you wouldn't believe it!  Here are some of my kiddos (and yes, they all signed internet release forms):

(Ms. Iadevaia is there in the front, a friend not a student.)

(This guy could not do this back in October.)

(He has been doing yoga with me for 2 years now and is part of my Recycling Club, he works his butt off!)

(Love the girl in glasses, she's been with me two years too and is an incredible dancer!)

(The girl in front, who you can't see, has also been practicing for two years.)

(Ah, rest!)

For more Fit Club yoga pictures (that's the name of our club, we had to name it in order to do it), visit our Facebook page and "like" us!

Oh and on a totally unrelated note, we made the most amazing veggie pizzas on Monday.  Spinach, mozzarella, green peppers, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms and garlic spaghetti sauce (Ragu of course) on a whole wheat pita.  Sooooo good, tasted gourmet!


  1. Okay now I feel like the stalker...2 comments to your blog in a day, but what can I say...I love your posts! That is so cool that you teach yoga at your high school. I've been trying to teach my 3-5 yr. olds yoga at school and it's been a little tricky, but I've got all kinds of yoga postitions on a interactive white board activity and I use visuals like these ( They're catching on and they love to move and stretch. How awesome that you're teaching these teens yoga! It's by far my favorite form of exercise and like you mentioned, it has so many health benefits that will serve them now and later in life!

    Did you say you have a Recycling Club too? You are officially my new best friend! He he! I tried having a "Going Green" Family Event at my school this fall, where we had a recycling drive, healthy snack, and a chance for families to learn ways to go green. There wasn't much turn out, but I think the families that came appreciated it. That's so cool that you try to go green at your school too...there's not many of us!

    By the way, you're pizzas looked delicious! I've been craving pizza lately, but have had trouble finding a good gluten-free crust. I think my hubby and I might try out a local pizza spot that has a gf-crust and vegan cheese=double bonus! That's funny that you mentioned Ragu sauce...I always get whatever kind is at my local health food store, but I burned out on them early in my pregnancy and when I was growing up I always had Ragu. Needless to say, I've been having lots of Ragu lately! LOL- have a good rest of your week!

  2. Ahahhaa, you sound just like me! I love YOUR posts, first blog I've ever read in its entirety, seriously so helpful I can't put it into words! Thanks for reading mine, sometimes I feel like my mom is the only one reading these posts! :)

    That is so cute that you've been teaching your 3-5 year old (Special Education?) students yoga using a Smartboard (is that what you use?)! My husband actually has a ton of smartboard activities and would probably love a copy of your yoga stuff, he tries to do it with his kids every day too, just to get them up and moving around. Thanks for the link, how cute are those?! I bet the kids LOVE that! If it's something you can send, he would totally be able to use it!

    I just told all my friends that I have a bbff (blog bff), too funny! That's amazing that you tried an event like that at school, we get the same response usually but at least we are trying and that's all we can do I suppose. I actually started the recycling program at our high school 2 years ago (there wasn't one!) and it was a slow go but is now pretty sucessful. The district actaully adopted their own program, giving all the schools a big bin and requiring everyone to recycle, based on the program we started. It was amazing, because of my 175 students, the whole school recycles (2000 students) and now all 12 high schools in our district follow our lead - incredible. I tell my students all the time that just one person really CAN make a difference.

    Right now, we are doing our 9 week Environmental Unit where we watch An Inconvenient Truth and Food Inc. It is my favorite part of the year and the students learn so much!

    I asked my friend, with the vegan blog, if she had any good suggestions for you regarding pizza crust, I will let you know if she finds anything. I am Italian and don't like to tell people we use Ragu on pizza and spaghetti, but seriously is the best store-bought sauce! I should be making my own sauce, I know I know, but it takes forever and Ragu is oh so good!

    Ian said if you want any of his smartboard stuff he will totally share too, just let me know! He does it with his kids but I'm sure it is at the same level for yours too. :)

    Please excuse typos, I'm at school and typing fast while the kids are watching Oprah's Going Green episode! Happy Friday fellow mommy, enjoy your weekend and pizza! :)

  3. My friend Jenny found these that may work for you:

  4. Hey BBFF (love the name!),
    I'd be happy to share some of my yoga SMART Board activities or others with your husband. I do a lot with music on my SMART Board for transitions and things like that so he might get some use out of those too. Any ideas of how I can send these to you?

    That's so cool that you started a recycling program at your school and then how it was adopted by your whole district! I had big dreams for how to get my school to go green, and not many were on board, so I just do stuff in my own classroom like having cloth napkins, recycling everything (which the district now supports and makes available), and having reuseable plates and silverware. It seems like others are catching on, so that's good. I love that you're school has an Environmental Unit where you get to watch some great "green" documentaries. Food Inc. is one of my all time favorites because it appeals to such a wide audience. Also, I love all those "Oprah Going Green Episodes"!

    Tell your friend Jenny that those gluten-free sandwich petals look amazing, I will be buying some soon! I'll have to let you know how they turn out!

  5. Could I also get those yoga SmartBoard activities? My students would love that!