STAFF AND TEACHERS
Welcome friends. If you’re reading this page it’s because you’ve been sent a private link and you’re teaching or offering classes at the studio. Kuuma is so happy to have you to teach and offer your heart. The purpose of this page is to lay out everything you need to know while offering your classes at the studio.
*All of this information belongs to Kuuma Yoga / Koulu Yoga School and was written and developed by Mel Moore (sources and resources are shared and stated as necessary).
SETTING UP TO TEACH / ARRIVING AT THE STUDIO
You should each have 2 keys - one for the door on the street and another key for the door upstairs.
Arrive 25-30 minutes before your class to greet and welcome your first students.
If you are the first person to arrive in the morning, bring the sign in from outside and put it on the sidewalk. If it’s too windy or the weather is bad you can leave it inside.
Give yourself lots of time to set up the lights, candles, music and atmosphere of the studio before your class.
Greet all students by their name, if it feels natural. Take the time to ask their names and remember them if you can. All students need to check in at the desk. Use your discretion whether or not you allow someone in the room without signing in. (They can do it after class, but it’s always best policy to have everyone in attendance recorded in ScheduleHouse and to ensure that all students have signed the Community Waiver Form). If they show up at the last minute, it’s up to you if you start on time or start a few minutes late.
Stay to say goodbye to people as they leave. Even if you’re busy tidying up in the background. Make sure people know that you notice they are leaving. Practicing seeing people.
*This is being mentioned first because it’s of high priority and importance. If you arrive early for class and have time to set yourself up, your students will get the feeling that you are receiving or welcoming them into our space.
“It feels like I’m walking into someone’s living room.”
“What is this magical place?”
“Whoa, this place has got some serious vibes.”
(If you take the extra few minutes to set up the candles and lights - people notice. Using sage, scents and other things are friendly and welcomed at Kuuma. Some people don’t like smoke in the building but they’re usually open and honest and will tell you. I always respect when someone asks me not to burn incense). Open a window if you can.
Tips on how to set up:
Get grounded. Neatly tuck your things in the back closet, and bring out only what you need. If you have a journal, crystal and cards - those things are perfectly fine to place on the desk. Please leave other big items (bags, etc) in the closet.
Set up your vibe. Lights, candles, music, your mat, any technology in general, scents, crystals, etc.
Check the laundry to see if anything needs to be switched.
Check if there are enough cold towels for your students savasana in the fridge.
Sign into ScheduleHouse on the computer and be ready to sign your students in.
Set a personal intention or take a moment or quiet / peace before you teach.
TEACHING A CLASS SAFELY
Primarily, we are offering a safe place for students to heal, move and meditate. First we will cover the element of physical safety. In terms of sequencing a yoga class at Kuuma - there are almost no structural expectations. You can teach your class using your intuition, knowledge and experience. When you are guiding the class, you are the expert. Try to keep a few of these things in mind when offering classes at Kuuma:
Using the bell curve arch to create a cohesive yoga class *see image below
When you enter the studio to teach your class - try to enter the room, find a seat and take a breath or two before you greet your class and begin the instruction. Take time for arrival, landing and setting intention before instructing physical movement. This could be a body scan, attention to breath, an intuitive thought to share or chance for students to set intentions quietly.
The arch starts slow with arrival / warm up - and conditioning. Try to make this part important and foundational. Warm up joints, rotational movements, mobility, contraction back strengthening (balancing table, cat/cow etc).
At the beginning of the class, there is often more guidance or support. You can offer options (variations) so that all students feel welcome to practice to their ability.
As the class builds in intensity and heat, your voice and intonation carry the energy. Using clear and direct cues. The most authentic way to offer cues is to remind your students that not all cues will apply to them and that they have the internal feedback of their bodies. What I have found to be invaluable is to watch my students from behind or from the side while I am teaching. That way, the cues that I am giving are cues that I see in my students as I am teaching - and they are not memorized or being said unnecessarily. Example: I would only say “stack your right knee as closely as you can on top of your right ankle” in Warrior 2, if I actually saw someone in a dangerous position with their front knee. Try to keep the cues relevant to the people in the room.
The Peak Pose / Highest Point of Energy of the Class
An example of a “Peak Pose” in a vinyasa class could be Wheel Pose or Camel Pose. Knowing that your peak pose is a deeper backbend, you would spend the first half of the class warming up the body for a deep backbend. This would include back strengthening (baby cobra, cobra, locust, upward facing dog, etc). Backbends also include having really strong legs - so could work on standing positions and bringing attention to rooting/grounding.
The peak pose method is a safe way to explore deepening each students practice. If their bodies are conditioned and prepared for movements, they will create a self-sustaining, healthy yoga practice.
The Second Half
The cooling sequence can begin shortly after your peak pose. There might be a few moments for release or rest (the energetic shifting point of the class). The qualities now turn more yin like (but don’t let this fool you - class can still be quite active). Postures might be closer to the floor. There is more time for students to be in silence, longer held postures, less guidance or structure - more feminine and grounding qualities. Working toward savasana and rest.
Grounding / Savasana / Integration
Mel built the whole studio and concept of the atmosphere at Kuuma around Savasana. Each class usually has a minimum of 10 minute savasana. It is very important that students have time to rest. We offer cold towels at the end of every single class. If you are feeling up to it, the students LOVE it when you are able to offer massage and therapeutic touch during rest. You can add your own flair to this and offer feet massage or other types of therapeutic massage (hands, arms, etc). Placing crystals on your students or playing singing bowls over them.
Always give your students the option not to be touched while they are resting. This could be triggering to some students and they might not be able to relax knowing that you’ll eventually be standing above them.
Example: “I’ll be coming around to offer you a cold towel. You always have choice and consent around receiving touch. If you’d rather rest alone, please place one hand to your belly and I will place the cold towel in your other hand instead.” I always tell people I respect them and they are allowed to change their mind every day or every class. It’s okay to not want to be touched. It’s okay to change your mind. It’s really okay. This goes beyond teaching “yoga” and into teaching personal boundaries and self respect.
GIVING PHYSICAL ASSISTS / ASKING FOR CONSENT
Students absolutely love receiving assists and adjustments during their practice. We typically let the students know before class if we are offering assists — and we almost never surprise them unless we ask permission. The exception to this rule is if someone is at risk of injury or danger - then, yes, please do everything you can to prevent injury.
A great way to get consent if you want to offer assists is to ask your student (while you are teaching), “Is it alright if I give you an assist?” and let them respond. This builds relationship with them. You can offer your alignment knowledge to them and also be okay if they can “no, I don’t want an assist today.” This idea is rooted deeply in the value of respect the autonomy of each student that you teach. We don’t know what each student is showing up with. We don’t know what they’ve been through that day, that week or that year. We just don’t know. So, it’s safest not to assume that it’s okay to touch without permission.
A few ways to ask to give an assist:
”Is it alright if I give you an assist?”
”Can I help you out in this pose by offering you an assist?”
”Is it alright if I touch your back arm?”
*In Savasana specifically, we ask for consent before touching. In relation to trauma informed yoga (which will be mentioned later on this page), we don’t know what students are arriving in the room with. We don’t have the whole perspective or background information. So, it’s safest to make sure that all people feel cared for and respected in our space. This is teaching boundaries and respect to people who may have never experienced this before in their lives. We are holding space for our students to heal their mind-body connection. This will create a positive ripple effect in the world.
FRONT DESK CUSTOMER SERVICE
Try to avoid having personal phone calls behind the desk. The space is very small and sound carries very easily - and it’s best to take your phone calls in another room or outside. Behind the desk is not the place for loud personal conversations about things relating to life outside of the studio. While you are working, try to remain as professional as possible. A lot of times, there are students still in savasana on the other side of the door and they can hear what you are saying. Try to keep the conversation positive, a reasonable volume level, and not a place for gossiping or sharing personal stories. (Within reason — we all want to know and love each other. But no bullshit is pretty much all I’m trying to say).
Please make sure the door to enter the studio is locked before you enter to teach your class. Example: if your class starts at 6pm, wait until the clock on the computer at the desk says 6pm - and then go down and lock the door. This is because the desk will be unattended while you are teaching. After your class, go back down and unlock the door for the next students to arrive.
If you notice that the phone is ringing (the ringer is off) - but if you see it flashing, you can answer it. Say “Kuuma Yoga this is ______ speaking.” Give a try answering their question and if you don’t know - give them Mel’s e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (it’s also on the website). You can always take a message and leave a sticky note.
ScheduleHouse / Taking Payment / Using the Computer
We use the software ScheduleHouse and the login is SAVED in the Chrome Browser at Kuuma. You can have your own login for ScheduleHouse so you can see the “Staff App” version (see who is signed into your classes, etc). But, Mel’s login is permanently saved so you should always be able to access it while at the studio.
Make sure that your students are logged into ScheduleHouse and have paid for their class before they leave the studio. We offer the first class for free - but I tell them we are .a donation based yoga studio and accept donations if they feel inclined.
If a student pays less than $10 for their class - enter them into ScheduleHouse as “Drop in 10” and then COMP/GUEST the class (this will log them as “free”), and then put their cash in the donation bin. If the student pays $10 or more for their class, please enter into ScheduleHouse and log their method of payment (cash, debit, cc, etc).
We accept all major credit cards. We take AMEX but only at the desk with the POS Terminal.
Students can donate via debit or credit as well. Write their name on Merchant Copy of the receipt and write that it was a donation. If the student is attending a class, if the donation is $10 or more, enter it as a purchase for a Drop in 10, 15 or 20.
Leaving The Studio / Closing / Locking Up
When you are leaving the studio, check the following things:
1. Disconnect your phone from the Bluetooth Speakers. The Bluetooth Speakers are located under each window in the hot room. The “main” speaker is the speaker on the right side of the room near the Trans Pride Flag. This speaker does not need to be turned off. If for some reason it stops working, check that it’s plugged in, because sometimes the plug falls out of the wall. The speaker is battery operated so you won’t notice for a while but then it will suddenly die. The speaker is called BOSE S1 PRO. To pair it with your phone, go to the speaker on the right hand side of the room and hold the tiny bluetooth button (find the AUX hole and follow the line to the bluetooth button). Hold down for a few seconds until it shows up in your Bluetooth search on your phone. If you have difficulty connecting, you can use the AUX cord that is always next to the speaker. If the AUX cord is plugged in, the bluetooth won’t work - so make sure it’s only plugged in when being used.
2. Wash and put away all of the mason jars and mugs.
3. Clean and roll up all of the studio mats.
4. Fold and mat towels and white towels and roll the cold towels for the next day.
5. Fill up the Santevia Water Filter. Please be careful when filling this up before you leave. The filter will overflow so only put as much water in the top as the bottom can handle. If you are the last person to leave at night, make sure that there is water for the next person to arrive in the morning.
6. Make sure there are enough cold towels for the next teacher arriving. If they are all dirty or in the laundry - please fill up the pink bucket half way with water and put it in the fridge. Then at least the water will be cold to make the towels refreshing when they are clean and ready to be rolled.
7. Turn off the heat in the hot room. During the warmer months you can turn it all the way down to 5 degrees (off). During the winter months, turn it down to 15 at night.
8. Turn off all battery operated candles. There are remotes velcro’d to the staff door entrance to the hot room. The small candles will only turn on and off with the remote. They also change colours. The bigger battery operated rainbow candles can be turned on and off manually (or with the remote). The batteries are all rechargeable and the charging port is on top of the mini fridge in the back closet. The small candles need to be turned OFF before put on their charging port otherwise they will not charge.
9. Empty the dryer and fold and put away anything that is left. Load up the washing machine and delay the wash for 4-8 hours (depending on what time you leave) so they will be freshly washed in the morning.
10. Wipe down the counters using the spray bottle (remove hand prints and finger prints and leave in mint condition for the next person to arrive).
11. Put fresh hand-towels in the bathroom and wipe down the counter tops from any water or soap stains.
12. Sleep or Turn Off the computer (you don’t have to turn it off but if you feel like it, or if the studio will be closed for a Holiday or something - you know, use your intuition. But it’s not necessary to turn it off on the regular).
13. Turn off all the lights. The smart lights in the hot room will turn off the light strip under the window. The smart switch next to the restorative props will turn all of the other lights in the studio off at the same time. This is easier than switching off each switch - because the next person can just come in and turn them all on at once.
14. Lock the studio door and bring the sign in from the sidewalk, turn off the stairway lights and lock the door to the street. You only have to lock the door if you are leaving at the end of the night. We are the tenants that stay the latest, so it is our responsibility to lock the door. The door may be open when you arrive (the other tenants in the building have normal office hours). But, please make sure the door is locked to the street overnight.
Yoga Alliance has a zero tolerance policy on sexual misconduct and we AGREE. All students and teachers (and people) have the right to practice yoga free of abuse, harassment or manipulation. We ask that you do not have sexual relations with students, teachers or members of our community. *I will say that if you meet someone very special through the yoga community - the best thing to do is to be open and honest about your connection. What we are trying to avoid is casual sex amongst members. We honour and respect the Yamas and Niyamas (The 8-Limbed Path of Yoga). One of the Yamas is Brahmacharya. It translates often as Celibacy, but, brahmahcharya does not just mean to give up sex. It also means to transmute the energy of sex into something else, principally, devotion to God. Judith Lasater says in her book Living Your Yoga, “The suggestion is simple: when you are having sex, have sex, when you’re not, don’t. This particular interpretation underscores the importance of remaining in the present and focusing on what is happening right now without obsession.” And without argument, one would agree wholeheartedly that work (the studio) is not an appropriate place to make sexual connections (with members, staff or other people in our community).
Because we have a no tolerance policy - we don’t give chances on this. Each staff members agrees to this policy when they agree to offer their teachings at Kuuma. With that being said, hugging and personal connection and touch are very important at Kuuma* — just, with consent. There is a very distinct and clear line between the helpful touch of a teacher, and an uncomfortable touch of someone with bad intentions. Know your place, your character, and keep your boundaries in check constantly. Inability to respect or follow this boundary will lead to immediate termination of contract, ending in instant dismissal.
TRAUMA-INFORMED YOGA TEACHING
Community Agreements at Kuuma (borrowed from my teacher in Halifax, Cleo Burke). We use these in teacher training at Koulu and find that they are very good at creating a trauma-informed safe place to teach and practice.
One mic. One diva.
No one knows everything. Together we know a lot.
Leave space for emotion.
Practice to your ability.
Practice self care.
Move up! Listen up!
Check your assumptions.
Take the lessons, leave the details. Confidentiality.
We don’t need to articulate everything all of the time.
Don’t expect closure. Working with partial. How does partial feel?
I especially like the concept of working with partial… because it can be quite uncomfortable for something to feel unfinished. Are we willing to be uncomfortable and sit with things and process them? Or do we expect a quick fix? Do we set expectations and get upset when things don’t go our way? Who really creates that pain and suffering? What if we were willing to show up when shit gets uncomfortable and sit through it without bailing or looking away? We can first practice this with ourselves before we teach it to others. It can be be immensely inspiring to model true self love and respect. When other people watch you take excellent care of yourself, they will be inspired and feel permission to also take excellent care of themselves. We are looking to make small ripple effects of light and love in this world.
What is trauma?
Trauma is an event that happens over a period of time, or a single event. It can happen to an individual or a collective (community).
PTSD- An event doesn’t get resolved and it gets stored in the tissue of the body. The nervous system becomes activated in a way that doesn’t match the current moment. The body enters a normal response state during the event (fight, flight or freeze) and can become stuck there. So even if the current moment is not dangerous, the body believes that it is. and because the body believes that it is, then it is.
A few key features of trauma are:
-A normal response (the body protects itself, goes into fight, flight or freeze)
-loss of power*
It’s important to note that trauma takes place when an individual loses their autonomy/personal power. I find this to be important to note in a staff/teacher trainer manual because need to offer a space where people can regain their personal power.
How to hold space / trauma-informed:
Ask permission before touching students.
Allow students to set up wherever they want (some students may choose to be close to the door because they need to have an easy exit. We allow students to go to the bathroom or get a drink during class. Just keep teaching if someone leaves. If you are worried or concerned about them, follow them).
Offer options. This is the best thing you can do to make your classes accessible for all of your students 100% of the time. Along with the community guidelines, it’s a way to offer the permission to practice to your ability or to practice self care. Some students will do exactly what you say - so when you offer options, they get to choose which variation of the posture they take. When you allow someone to make a choice, they will regain personal power. These are the connections are are trying to build in our classes. Options can be as easy as letting them choose whether they take low lunge, high lunge or warrior 1. When there are 15 bodies in the room, you kinda have to acknowledge that each person might need a different shape in that moment.
Imagine an instance where a new student comes to your class: it’s her first time and she doesn’t know how to come into a high lunge in a vinyasa class. I still struggle with this after years of daily practice. So, if you guide this position by flowing in from chatarunga, updog, downdog, step forward into lunge, arms all the way up. What if your student lost her balance on the way up? Sure, not a big deal… she didn’t hurt herself. She landed on her back knee, made an adjustment and then came up into her lunge. This isn’t the end of the world - and all people learn in yoga classes by trial and error. But, could you set your student up for success in that situation and use another method of teaching? Consider offering options —- knowing that they will allow your students the power of choice. Perhaps the student would choose to enter into low lunge first, find her balance - and then tuck her back toes and press into high lunge. It’s not about the performance of the position - but when working in a trauma-informed space, you want to encourage people to continue to practice yoga. We definitely don’t want people to lose interest because they can’t do it.
As yoga teachers, it is never our job to cure or fix trauma. We are just offering choice and freedom for those experiencing living with trauma. what happens next is not in our control and never will be. GIVING CHOICE TO your students will empower them.
My body. my choice.
More information about trauma-informed yoga:
Permission. Always get consent to touch. Don’t assume anything based on anything without knowing. If there is an offer for an assist, always make sure there is an option for them to decline. (aka do not just touch without asking verbally or non verbally, but preferably verbally and making eye contact).
*Lots of people love touch and want it. It can be therapeutic and helpful, but just staying mindful about why you’re offering it. What is the intention behind offering touch? Building a rapport with your students — listening for verbal or energetic consent). Be in view and do not come up behind someone without them knowing you are there.
Inquiries that help for you and for your students: What is happening for me today? What is my comfort level with touch today? Referring to Judith Lasater’s quote from earlier on this page about having sex when you’re having sex and not when you’re not. It’s not to say that you can’t have a healthy sexual relationship with yourself (this is encouraged), but just choosing to use your sexual energy toward devotion to God when you are teaching yoga. This means that you have to notice if you feel an attraction to a student or teacher and choose not to assist them because you notice this. This is the practice of Brahmacharya. A day when you notice that you are feeling particularly sexually charged is not the day that you offer physical assists in your class. Know yourself, know your energy and share only from a place of pure intent to create a safe and healing environment for all people in your space.
Breath can be triggering. The trauma could have involved not being able to breathe or fighting for ones breath. if their life was in danger (the breath involves the bringing in but also the exiting of life force or prana). If they are frozen in hyper-aroused or fight-or-flight. If you notice that a student does not respond well to a breathing/pranayama exercise, check in with them right away.
And then focus on other senses instead:
Focus on the sounds we hear: if there is a steady tempo to the music or constant ticking of a clock, this can serve as our guide.
Focus our eyes onto one spot: we can call this steady gaze a drishti and it helps to calm mind chatter.
Focus on a soothing aroma we can smell: light some candles, burn some incense, or use a diffuser filled with essential oils.
Focus on the textures we are touching: feel the texture of our mat, the ground, or the yoga props our body is connected to. notice the temperature or texture of our own body against these surfaces.
Language choice can also be triggering. Again, we never know what other people are going through internally, so we try to create the safest place we can.
“I want you to” is very limiting because it implies the student is there to perform tasks for you. Remember that all students are there for their personal practice. We are not asking them to do anything for us. We are inviting them to move to our guidance. “I’m going to get you to” is slightly better but still the same type of language.
How to teach in a direct and non-confusing way:
State the name of the pose (ex: “Warrior 1” - most students will just go there)
State the cue directly (ex: “engage your core” is an overused cue that doesn’t really offer a ton of direction. The core is a very big part of the body. So try giving more direct cues like “draw the navel in toward the lower back. This activates the core.)
Invite the student to enter however they wish (offer direct cues or other suggestions)
Demonstrate (if time and space allows for this). If students are confused by what you are saying: show them.
“Relax” and “let go” can also be triggering language, implying that survivors of trauma are choosing to hold on to painful experiences. It can be a nice reminder to let go of muscle holding or action, or stress- but be specific what you’re asking people to let go of. We don’t know what they’re holding. Being told to relax can almost be counter intuitive in certain cases. We don’t know the conditioning around language for all people.
“Please and Thank you” are similar to “I want you to” — there is no requirement for anyone to perform anything when they come to yoga. “Smile” — being told to smile takes away the choice to smile. Am I smiling because I am being told to or because I have something to smile about or feel like smiling?
“Just play with it” — it can be playful, but choose language specifically.
“What’s happening now…”
“If it’s useful…."
“As you’re ready…”
“You are invited to,,,”
“SELLING” MEMBERSHIPS AND PASSES
We offer the sliding scale pricing system and have been charging for our services using this method for over a year. Up until recently, we offered the whole scale to every student that came in for class. We are now going to start asking for a suggested donation amount for each class - but always offer the sliding scale for students in need.
Example: A student is signed in unpaid and comes to the desk.
You greet them and say, “Hello, what’s your name?”
*If you are bad at remembering names, sometimes I find that if you ask for their last name in a more casual way, it will spark your memory for what their first name is. Try your best to learn the regular members names so that we can offer them hospitality and connection. “Can you remind me of your last name?”
Ask them: “Are you dropping in for a class today or are you interested in a membership?”
If they say “Drop in” - you say, “Awesome. It’s a suggested $15 donation for class today but we offer a sliding scale. You could donate more or less depending on your income level.”
Most people should be willing to pay the $15 (especially because other studios and gyms still charge more than this on average). But, we do allow students, people who are unemployed or simply in need to attend classes for $0, $5 or $10. This system will continue to get easier to explain as we are all working together to honour and reflect it’s true intention (which is to hold space for all people who need yoga regardless of economic background). When someone pays $20 or more - thank them for contributing to our community and keeping the space alive. Emphasize that they are helping pay for someone else to attend class who might not be able to otherwise have access to this service.
Monthly unlimited memberships are the same deal. The suggested unlimited monthly amount is $90 (still lower than most studios and gyms) - and we offer the scale (more or less). Each time a student chooses a membership amount lower than $90, this means that another member needs to choose a membership more than $90 for everything to balance. With a system like this, we really have to work on non-attachment. So far, we’ve been able to sustain ourselves and stay open - but we will need to really work together to work on explaining this to our community so that all people are contributing fairly and we are all paid for our time and effort spent.
PAYROLL AND PAY DATES
Here are the payroll dates from September 2019-January 2021.
Each month there are TWO invoice dates: the 15th and the 30th.
Each month has TWO paydates: the 15th and the 30th.
The only month that these dates are different is February, and we will use the 29th instead (leap year 2020).
Starting on September 15th, 2019 - please invoice for the classes you have taught before this date.
You will be paid for these classes on September 30th. On September 30th, you will also invoice classes taught from September 15th-30th and will be paid on October 15th.
For consistency and ease, we will use this invoice reporting system to submit invoices each month. I will keep electronic files for each staff member and store all of your invoices for a 12 month period. If you stop teaching at Kuuma, after the fiscal year has passed, all of your electronic files will be deleted. ScheduleHouse will maintain record of your hours taught. If you need a report for your teaching hours, please reach out and ask.
Please use this invoicing system to submit for your pay. You can save this link your browser, favourites or just member the link. This link is not a public link and will not be accessible from the main website. You can manually type it in your browser. It is meant for staff and faculty.
Use this form to complete your invoices on the 15th and 30th of each month! (With the exception of February when it’s the 15th and 29th!)
8 Signs Your Yoga Practice Is Culturally Appropriated – And Why It Matters
A Ga. School Bans The Greeting 'Namaste.' Do They Know What It Means?
Why white people need to stop saying 'namaste'
Yoga in America Often Exploits My Culture—but You May Not Even Realize It
A Letter To My Yoga Teacher - YouTube
Yoga Is Dead (Podcast on Spotify) All Episodes
1. White Women Killed Yoga
2. Karma capitalism Killed Yoga
3. Guru’s Killed Yoga
4. Vinyasa Killed Yoga
Some of this material made me very uncomfortable when I began to read it. From my personal experience, it’s best to inform and educate ones self on issues and matters in the world that are uncomfortable. Especially as teachers and healers on this planet, in order for something to be healed - first, it must be recognized.
None of us intend or mean harm when teaching our classes, and it’s not “wrong” per say to say “Namaste” at the end of your class. But, it is important to hear the voices of Indian folk who are actually expressing their concern for how we use and profit off of their culture.
I do think it is appropriate or okay to say Namaste in an honourable way - as long as you know and understand the cultural context or weight of using that word. Sometimes there are Indian students in our classes - and we might be selling cheapened parts of their culture back to them. After many weeks of considering “do I want to say Namaste or not?”, I ultimately decided I was going to stop unless I had the time and space to honour the cultural context of using the word. In my search for understanding in this, I realized something very special about the placement of Namaste in a yoga class. It’s always at the end. In some studios, the teachers will guide the students out of savasana and into a seated position. (This is typically where the teacher will bow and the students will bow back). At Kuuma, we tend to leave savasana open ended so that people can get the rest they need. Savasana (or Corpse Pose) symbolizes death. Not the death of our physical bodies (even though we do lay in the death position) - it is symbolic for a death happening on a much deeper level. The death of parts of our ego that keep us trapped in pain and suffering. So, if your students are doing this work during their rest, greeting them with Namaste when they awaken from Corpse Pose (rebirth), would be an appropriate greeting. But I don’t think saying it mindlessly at the end of each class is honouring it’s true purpose or meaning. (Not saying that anyone specific is saying it mindlessly… but just an inquiry for those still saying it… why are you saying it and what does it mean to you?).
FIND A NEW CLOSING INSTEAD
I’ve created my own personal mantra that I now say in the place of Namaste at the end of my class. My intention was always to honour the students and myself for the time spent in the practice.
The light inside of me
sees and acknowledges
the same light inside of you
We are the same
We are connected
We are one
You can create your very own! Google has lots of resources as well.
YOGA AND ADDICTION
Decolonizing Yoga: Authenticity Narratives, Social Feelings & Subersion in Modern Postural Yoga
By: Cristina Renee Sajovich; University of Colorado Boulder
*Link borrowed from Bodhi Boulder
How to Decolonize Your Yoga Practice
”Meet Us at Our Table:” The Problems with the White Savior Complex
ABUSE IN YOGA / MISOGYNY
Re-Inventing Ashtanga Yoga without Pattabhi Jois — by Karen Rain
Karen Rain Speaks About Pattabhi Jois and Recovering from Sexual and Spiritual Abuse
Karen Rain: Abuse in Ashtanga Yoga
Karen Rain Responds to Mary Taylor’s Post About the Sexual Misconduct of Pattabhi Jois
Yoga’s Culture of Sexual Abuse: Nine Women Tell Their Stories
CONSENT IN YOGA
With Your Permission: Yoga, Consent and Authentic Embodiment