Now Yoga is really for everyone / by Cherryl Duncan

I’ve recently been teaching a lot at the beautiful Schloss Elmau. For those of you who don’t know what or where that is, it’s a big, fairy castle style hotel right in the Bavarian Alps. The hotel itself looks onto a gorgeous mountain range and has everything one can possibly imagine in terms of beauty, luxury, relaxation, yoga, hiking, skiing and incredible food. It’s hard not to feel like a princess staying there.

I’m lucky enough to teach yoga there with some frequency, and while the place itself is gorgeous and my time there is nothing short of fabulous, what I am enjoying more and more is the opportunity to teach absolute beginners. With over 300 rooms, it’s a huge hotel which means all kinds of people will show up for a beginner yoga class. Some trying it out for the first time.

During my 15 years of teaching yoga, I have seen the amount and type of people coming to yoga go from a relatively small amount ex dancers, flexible skinnies, gymnasts and sporty girls, to more ex dancers, flexible skinnies, gymnasts and sporty girls, and then to a relatively small amount of inflexible, old, unhealthy, normal folk, including the lesser spotted man, to more and more inflexible, old, unhealthy normal folk and yes more and more of the lesser spotted man,  all showing up for a yoga class.

This is good for two reasons.

One, because it means yoga is firmly out of the woo woo zone and is recognised by health professionals for the use in preventative, curative, and rehabilitative care. It means more and more people are enjoying the many benefits of yoga, even if they just get there because of a knee injury for example. The many benefits of course being overall happier, more vital, more clear and more focussed to name just a few.

The other reason it’s good, and this is more from the yoga teacher’s perspective, is that yoga teachers have to actually teach. As opposed to calling out the names of poses and walking around the room in the latest pair of lululemons. It means having to make real connections with the students, be of real benefit to those in serious need, it means more presence, more skill, and therefore much more reward.

It separates the asana callers out from the experienced and skilled yoga teachers, which quite frankly, is a huge relief because at some point I was seriously worried that my job could and would soon be replaced by, much like the bank tellers job, a machine.

With the influx of all sorts of people coming into my yoga class, I have woken up from my slumber of teaching the already fit and strong, and now welcome the multi level, broken, tired, wounded, injured, afraid, old, young, stressed, burnt out and inflexible with a renewed sense of enthusiasm because I know today I get to help someone.

 

- Cherryl Duncan