My YTT, Yoga on The Farm

Flexibility required, but not for asanas

Teaching yoga on a farm poses a unique set of challenges. Are the chickens cooped? Can’t set up there because of ants. The cat is under me in DFD, or he’s eating fresh kill (usually a bird) three feet from a student’s head during savasana. You’ve got to assess the surroundings before setting up, and let go of expectations. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This morning I taught my fifth class on the Farm at Rush Creek. Aside from my Bluetooth speaker not working (I thought it was charged!) it was another fantastic practice. What began as a toe dip in teaching yoga outdoors has grown into a passion. I am so grateful for my friends who have joined me to practice teaching, despite the heat, humidity, and early start time. We even practiced in the rain once, and only had to cancel class due to thunderstorms and soggy ground once.

I’m eager to continue teaching on the farm as the seasons change. We’ve got classes for September and October on the books. Contact me if you’re interested in joining us!

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Yoga on The Farm

Yoga on The Farm, three days into summer

The past few days have been scorchers. 104* yesterday afternoon. Typical Texas summer, really. It was already in the eighties when I arrived at the farm this morning, a little past 8am, and the overcast sky was welcome.

Class featured a sun salutation, with a cooling moon salutation to balance. It was a challenging practice and my students were up for it. We had a great time. It was beautiful!

My YTT, Yoga on The Farm

Learning to stand

I taught my first public yoga class this past weekend, on the farm! It was early, not too hot, and just the right amount of “roughing it.” I had six attendees, including my friend J (a fellow student in my yoga teacher training program) who helped me set up and break down.

If reading about yoga bores you to tears, I will only say this: It was awesome! We had a ton of fun. My nerves melted away once we got started, and the environment was delightful and inspiring, and I can’t wait until the next class! If you would compare the concept of sea legs to “yoga legs,” I think I’m developing my yoga teaching legs. I’m learning to stand!

If you’re at all interested in yoga…

We started with a seated warm-up, then a slow puppy pose to a safely aligned Downward Facing Dog, then up to Tadasana (aka Mountain Pose). We learned a sequence I’d call the Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) “spin.” When we peaked at a squat, aka Malasana, I talked about how we have unlearned the squat in daily life. If you’ve spent any time around developing cultures, you have seen a lot of squatting. People squat to eat, to play cards, to complete their bodily functions (aka number II). Here I realized the focus of the class was not really to learn to get to that peak pose, to squat. The focus of the practice was to learn to stand. Have you ever heard of the four corners of the feet? In yoga we use the four corners to ground ourselves, to anchor ourselves for balance in life and in asanas/poses. Early in the class I \ talked about the four corners, and continued to reference them and rely on them throughout the sequence of asanas.

We build our poses, our bodies, from the ground up. I’m starting my yoga teaching career from the ground up. Four corners of the feet. Grounding. Mountain Pose. Malasana. Learning to stand.

Mothering, Yoga off the mat, Yoga on The Farm

This morning

It’s been nutty. My family has a pretty rugged virus that clobbered my husband and kids… fever, rash, I’ll spare you the gory details. Thankfully, I’ve remained healthy. The school year ends today, and as a mom and a PTA coordinator of things, this past month has been consuming. Our fridge died over Memorial Day weekend, and we’ve been eating out of a cooler for a week.

I have NOT been putting my oxygen mask on first, as they say. My cup is empty.

But today, this morning, there was a marked shift. Fevers are gone. It’s the last day of school! The loaner fridge arrives in 45 minutes.

AND, I went to the farm. My son and I met our friends M, the chickens, and Scout the yellow lab, and we talked. We played. We discovered chickens might (and do!) eat their own eggs if given the opportunity.

This is the land I will be teaching my first yoga series on. I tested my portable speaker. I waited for the heat to come, and it didn’t. It was shady, it was breezy, it was cool. There were birds singing. A crane hung out in the pond (pictured, look closely).

While there were no asanas / poses, there was no workout, this morning, I practiced yoga. I finally filled my cup. Breathed in that oxygen. Connected.

AND, I brought home some farm fresh eggs! Not a full dozen, though, because my son, the two year-old scientist, experimented and broke a few. How else would we have learned that chickens can be cannibals?

My YTT, Yoga on The Farm

Starting small, planning, growing

A force that pushed me to yoga teacher training, and drives me to write about yoga, is the desire to share yoga with “non yoga people.” To clarify, yoga is for everyone! But it isn’t obvious to everyone how to find class or teacher that fits their needs and style, and booking a class in a traditional yoga studio can be intimidating. As with so many things, “fit” matters.

Within days of sharing my mission, a member of my local community offered space on their developing farm for me to teach yoga while I am in training. We have become friends, and I have been visiting the farm to get a feel for the space. There are chickens, cats, and a Labrador named Scout. There is a pond, relatively flat and clean grass, and a barn with a fridge, sink, and bathroom. It’s perfect.

Growing up in Maine, I spent my fair share of time on farms, and countless glorious hours outdoors. I treasure my connection with the land, and am thrilled to have this opportunity to teach plein air, to borrow the artist’s term.

Starting small and familiar feels right to me, because connecting to the land, to my students, matters. I am developing a five class summer series for the farm, and inviting a few friends to join me. Yoga is about practice, and I am grateful for this space and the support of my friends on this journey. Who knows where this will lead?