On teaching and learning

Yesterday I finished the fourth and final session of a girls’ empowerment course that I was teaching every other week for an hour at a local community center.

During the third session I had an eye-opening realization working with these young women (ages 12-14). We got into a discussion of safety and violence, and once again my privilege slapped me in the face. Many of these women had observed or experienced violence in their families or with close loved ones in ways I am unlikely to ever understand.

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I had begun reading the book “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies” by Resmaa Manakem. I wish I had discovered it when I first designed the course. There are many amazing practices that are yoga-like to help both black bodies, white bodies, and police bodies heal the trauma of racism in America.

I managed to teach “legs up the wall” pose first as a calming pose. Then we laid on the floor to do belly breathing for a couple of minutes and to notice where we felt the breath. We tried crocodile (on our bellies) to again notice where we felt the breath. After a few cat/cow transitions, there was silliness and I realized 15 minutes of yoga was the upper limit for this group on this day.

Though this group of women rejected “yoga” when I attempted it on the first class, by starting with legs up the wall, as a way to calm the nervous system, they seemed open to the other poses as well. Less talking, more demonstrating and practice in the future. Good lessons for me.

I thanked this group for being my teachers in this class. They seemed surprised that I would put it like that. But they taught me far more than I could teach them.

On the eve of another 3-day yoga teacher training weekend (#6 of 7), even if I am unable to count those hours toward my practicum requirement as initially planned, I am profoundly grateful.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Saturday Share: Want to See a More Diverse WordPress Contributor Community? So Do We.

More diverse speakers at WordCamps means a more diverse community contributing to WordPress — and that results in better software for everyone.

via Want to See a More Diverse WordPress Contributor Community? So Do We. — The WordPress.com Blog

This struck me as really fascinating, so I wanted to put it out there for the Saturday share. It kinda goes along with my theme of wanting to see more women, and other under-represented people writing, whether it is people with disabilities, people of color or just people with diverse viewpoints.

This weekend I’m running Grandma’s Half Marathon in Duluth, MN. SO under-trained for this year! Oh well, it’s more about the ability to get together with friends and enjoy a fun event.  Happy official start to summer solstice!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

YTT class one

Yoga north snip
Website for Yoga North

On Saturday I will teach my first one hour soma yoga practicum to a several members of my YTT-200 class. I am a little nervous but mostly excited. Originally I was scheduled to teach on Sunday but I swapped with a classmate who needed to make a switch.

Good for me, I am getting it done soon! Wish me some good vibes. I will likely be done by the time you’re reading this but I don’t believe time is always linear, so I’ll accept your wishes before or after Saturday. 😉

And needless to say, I had no time to select a Saturday share post, so that feature will be back next week.

Happy June! Birthday month! 🙂

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Captain Marvel on a pineapple

I found myself with a rather odd disinclination to write on Wednesday. So I picked a strange observation and brought some curiosity to it. That’s always good for a idea; I wish I could be that swift when it comes to Toastmasters Table Topics!

I am fascinated with why the Dole company would pick Captain Marvel to advertise on a pineapple.

I guess another question is: why not?

I had not realized at first that Captain Marvel is a woman, until my husband and I went to the movie a few weeks ago, and I watched the trailer beforehand.

Captain Marvel on the pineapple

It reminded me of the Ted Talk I saw by Christopher Bell on needing more women superheroes as models rather than simply side-kicks and love interests, a notion with which I agree wholeheartedly.

So I did what any self-respecting internet user does when they do not know something: I googled it. It turns out that there is a campaign to honor healthy female superheroes, with specific health and wellness content. Who knew?

I just thought it was strange that we were handed a pineapple in the store at Leuken’s in Bemidji this past weekend, and it was discounted but not presented as something we could refuse. I do not normally buy pineapples – they seem a hassle to process.

We swim in tide of media that is controlled by 6 large corporations making 9 out of every 10 movies. This narrative-driven industry perpetuates myths and stereotypes about gender, which devalue the contributions of girls and women, selling them princesses while boys get the hero action figures. Is it any wonder that self-confidence plummets about the time girls reach adolescence?

The beauty of Captain Marvel is that she is unapologetic about her strengths and her power. She owns her power, and for me that is a joy to watch.  She swims against the tide. But hey, some of us are strong swimmers, and challenges make us resilient. Just something to keep in mind as we consider any voices of doubt in our heads and from whence they came: just about every cultural message we absorb every day.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

 

 

Wolfpack

Abby Wambach’s new book, Wolfpack, is short but full of actionable advice. She illustrates with stories from her own experience, and she unapologetically makes the case for a sisterhood of women supporting each other.

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I have two favorite chapters. From Chapter Three: Lead from the Bench:

Old Rule: Wait for permission to lead.

New Rule: Lead now – from wherever you are

This is a woman after my own heart. I’m fairly sure she did not read my manifesto, and yet her words really speak to my philosophy as well.

In Chapter Seven: Bring it All, she tells us:

Old Rule: Lead with dominance. Create Followers.

New Rule: Lead with humanity. Cultivate Leaders. 

Yes. Leaders all around us. People who are awake, aware, conscious and engaged in what is meaningful to them.

I look forward to new models of leadership in the world, more inclusive and supportive than the models of the past. We are ready for a fresh approach. The old way we have followed results in stress, burnout, environmental distress and war.

We cannot solve problems with the same level of consciousness that created those problems. Instead, we must rally the Pack toward our shared destiny. Amen, Abby!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com