A few months ago I added a little something special to my website. I call it "Student Spotlight". For full disclosure, I totally stole this idea from my CrossFit gym. They have a monthly "Spotlight Athlete" every month and I really liked the idea. I enjoy getting to know more about fellow athletes and I thought, "Why not try it out with my own students?" And so I did. And the results were...amazing!
How does this work? I choose one student a month. I then ask that student the following questions:
1. What brought you to yoga?
2. How has practicing yoga helped or changed you?
3. What is one of your favorite poses or yoga practices and why?
4. Do you want to share anything else?
It's a simple ritual, but it has yielded some really suprising results.
I got to know really interesting things about my students. Take my student Joann for instance. I remember the first few times she came to my class. She looked tired and unsure. After a few weeks of yoga, she stood more upright and smiled a lot more, making chit-chat before class with her fellow classmates. One day, she approached me after class and told me what a life saver this class (as well as other classes offered at the studio) was to her. And so, I asked her to be "Ms January 2017". I sent her my 4 questions and was blown away by her answers and amazed that in addition to being 86 and taking care of her husband who was suffering from Dementia, she was actually a mother of 7! My heart melted when I asked her if she had anything else to say and she said, "Making time for yourself is not selfish. It's necessary to survive and to help others. I am an 86-year-old mother of seven just learning to make a more meaningful and joyful life. "
The sense of community in my classes has increased. Yoga classes aren't always places of strong community. I've been to classes where there is silence before class and students leave as soon as they can after class. That is fine for some people, but I have always wanted to foster a strong sense of community with my students. Having the "Student Spotlight" is just another way for my students to start and continue conversations with eachother. I didn't expect that to happen, but I am so glad it has.
Lastly, and most personally, asking my students the four questions has helped me see how their positive lifestyle changes have affected the people around them and reaffirmed to me that I, too, am part of that positive change. Once my students began taking care of themselves, they began to change. Their perspectives on life changed. They became more patient, loving, and compassionate. The change began with them, but then it spread. The people they love benefit from these changes, too. Their relationships changed, and so continued the positive effects of yoga, self-care, and a healthy lifestyle. I really had no idea how much my practice positively affected my students and their loved ones until I asked. So I encourage you all toask the questions and begin the conversations to really understand how you affect the people around you (often times for the better).
- If you are a small business owner, take time to talk to your clients and get to know them. Ask them questions and discover how you have helped them. You might be really surprised.
- If you are curious about yoga, try it! Read about my own students and learn about yoga has changed their lives for the better.
- If you want to try to yoga, but are nervous, visit my website and sign up for my newsletter. I will be offering online courses soon! Also, email me and tell me what you want. Ask me questions about yoga, reflexology, aches and pains, fitness. I am here to help you!
Without further ado, let me introduce most recent student, "Maria, Ms May 2017". She is a great example of student who has been transformed by yoga and meditation. You can learn more about Maria here.