This week has been a particularly challenging one for me. I started the week at a local prep school teaching six 30-40 min classes in the course of a morning, then 2 more classes in the afternoon at different schools. By the time the day ended, I was exhausted and re-thinking my chosen profession. I taught lots of classes of kids who just weren’t responding in a way that made teaching fun for me. Was it me? Was it them? Probably a bit of both.
Mid week, I had to leave super early to get to the Bronx where I’ve been teaching at a school where my friend is the Assistant Principal. I was slated to teach six 30 min classes in a row to be able to leave by noon so I can get back in time to teach my local classes. The 2 1/2 hour drive to get there that morning was stressful- no amount of breathing lavender and deep breaths could relax me after sitting in traffic on what is normally just an hour and 10 min drive (what it takes me to get home!)
I raced in late, had the thirty 4th graders help me set up the mats, and I was on. These kids were actually way more responsive, totally sweet and respectful and made teaching that morning such a pleasure. I let go of the traffic stress, and used it to teach the kids about breathing exercises and how they can help calm us in stressful situations! I’m not sure what was different, but something about teaching felt easy and I was back to loving my job. But by the time the day ended, I was completely spent- emotionally and physically. These early morning wake ups, running here there and everywhere (while dragging a huge bag filled with mats!) to teach what feels like too many classes in a row is really getting to me.
decided I needed to do a little class on Ahimsa. After the crazy week I put myself through, I thought I needed to teach a little self-care lesson. Ahimsa is one of the Yamas which is part of the eight limbs of Yoga as part of the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. The Yamas & Niyamas are like codes of conduct for living. The Yamas are things not to do, while the Niyamas are things to do. One of the Yamas, Ahimsa, has always resonated with me. It means non-harming yourself and others. I see it as self care and being kind to yourself and others (which is also Saucha in the Niyamas).
So the girls and I talked about Ahimsa and what it means to be “non-harming” or how we can be compassionate to ourselves and others. They had so many really great ideas. I think my favorite was when one of the girls said she can step in when she sees someone bullying someone else. Wow! I love that.
It felt good to teach a class about self care and “non-harming” of self. For me, over scheduling is definitely not taking care of myself. I’ve been feeling so overworked and tired which in turn makes it hard to be present for my son, husband and my students. I know my life will slow down in the coming weeks, but I do have to learn to say no when it gets too much.
How do you take care of yourself? Does the term “Ahimsa” resonate with you? Have you tried a lesson like this with your students? Your kids?