We got Naylor Court buzzing Sunday morning with a partner yoga class I taught through the amazing Knowledge Commons DC, a self-described "free school for thinkers, doers, and tinkerers – taught anywhere, by anyone, for everyone." Ten brave yogis descended on the historic alleyway outside of my house in Shaw, and together we stretched and massaged our partners silly.
KCDC operates on a couple key principles, one being the idea that everyone has something to teach. This is particularly true for yoga, where we are always our own teachers. We commit to focusing our attention on the sensations of our own body to guide our movement, and heeding our own limits. Second, KCDC thrives by making new use out of public spaces. Our class had a great time looking up at the clouds as we opened our chests in ustrasana (camel pose), hearing the church bells from the many steeples that pepper our neighborhood while lying in savasana, and holding our poses strong as onlookers peeked down the alley and wondered what was UP!
Personally, I felt that while teaching, I was in a mode of flow as layed out by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, one of the founders of Positive Psychology. In this state, we are fully immersed in something that make us feel happy, alive and engaged, so much that it gives us sensation of time standing still. In order for a flow state to occur, you must see the activity as voluntary, enjoyable (intrinsically motivating), and it must require skill and be challenging (but not too challenging) with clear goals towards success.
Next up: getting more neighbors on board! If you're reading this and you like practicing yoga outside, please add your email in the signup field. That way, when I start teaching more Naylor Court yoga come spring, you'll be the first to know.