Not for fitness
So I want to acknowledge my own reasons for teaching - my uniquity. And this follows on from attending a variety of other classes recently, from noticing that my style is not the same, and pondering this.
What I noticed about the other classes was the focus on exercise, on working the body. Even in Yoga, the general aim of which is to allow the body to sit comfortably for meditation, the focus tends to be disciplining the body, albeit kindly. I'm not against discipline (read my post about Unexplained Pain), but something I do is different from this.
What led me to the conscious realisation that I teach differently started yesterday by my feeling the need to plan a class to teach today. Often I don't plan at all, or just have a vague outline, and the experience yesterday was not a flowing easy one, however I completed my plan and was happy with the outcome. Then this morning I woke up at 4am in the same awkward position I had fallen asleep in 6 hours before, and I knew I was in trouble as I started to move and felt the instant pain spreading through my back and torso. I was gentle with myself, but several hours later as I was preparing to teach my first morning session and the pain remained, then I realised that I would not consider cancelling a movement session because of this pain. To me the movement I teach is a way out of pain; and, rather than something which should be avoided when feeling discomfort, it can be encouraged.
This is not movement for fitness, it's movement for freedom. My pain this morning served to remind me that I teach to help people feel better rather than fitter, although fitness can certainly improve through these movements too. I love classes which offer hard work, and when it feels right I teach hard work also, however I am grateful for the reminder of why I do this work in the first place, the reminder not to lose my niche.
The class I ended up teaching today was not what I had prescribed in advance, but an intuitive series based on my students needs, and this is what I will plan for in the future! This is why my private students get so much benefit from their one-to-one sessions - because this is movement therapy. I offer a safe space to release the body from that which has held it back. A body connection is not something which should be ignored or avoided when that body is expressing pain, but rather explored and listened to, heard and heeded - it it the only body we have!