I tried first teaching in a gym environment. ( actually I have tried it twice on my career, both times with the same result. The pounding of the music was off putting, the floors could never get clean enough, a fine grit when we placed our hands outstretched.). While my early students tried, and the classes were well attended, there was no good yoga experiences for us.
Then a very brave woman from South Puget Sound Community College named Forrest saw the vision. She helped me to formulate the class and found room for us at the college. In the sports lounge , we would roll out our mats over popcorn on the floor and the stinky smell of socks. But there we learned. And Played. We found our way to working with the exercise ball, inversion poses and allowing yoga to change use from the inside out. I taught there for 10 years, through several changes in leadership until value of body positive yoga was no longer supported.
My dearest Wild Grace Arts invited the My Real Bodyoga community in. I have to say that I really found my niche there and was so very, very happy. Many, many students followed me to Wild Grace and I continued to challenge my own heart to grow in new ways as a yogi, digging deeper into what a yogi was, the teachings as well as the poses.
I remember the day I found out that Wild Grace was closing, my heart just died inside. I cried through that last class.
We tried other places, none seemed to fit, yet my students kept following me, believing in the community we have built.
I was beginning to question if I had any value as a yoga teacher at all and I found FireFly Yoga. Lisa was so kind to help me to pick up the pieces of my broken heart, a body that became injured , needed to heal and allowed me space to get better. My students were kind and I have been able to heal enough to find that absolute passion of yoga again.
I have been also blessed to teach at a men's inpatient treatment facility. Over 600 men have been introduced to recovery yoga and it created gain. To see the faces of those who have been long term incarcerated or homeless finding out that they have worth was and continues to be my favorite moment. A couple of yoga teachers have come from those classes, many more are continuing the practice. Even the guys who have no interest in yoga have found a way of living in and loving their body, embracing the body positive concepts.
Yoga has also given me a voice in workshops, professional recovery events and in a seminar of entrepreneurs.
To this date, I sneak my teaching in wherever I can. I lead a treatment group in both chemical dependency and mental health. We start out every session with a few moves and some meditation before we delve into the hearts.
There isn't a place that yoga can't be taught. I carry my mat and the "traveling " singing bowls in my car, ready to teach at a moments notice. I love that, being willing to share yoga is more important to me that the where. I love sharing freedom. love and acceptance with all kinds of people.
My future goal is to continue to teach at Firefly as long as Lisa will have me. I would like to buy a house and open a small studio in my home, where I can create small vignettes of my practice, one student at a time.
I hope to be that person who can actually say, has mat will travel well into my old age.
Sandra Kozlowski, CDP, CAAR, AAS, RHY 200
Curvy Yoga Certified, Y12SR Certified, Yoga for All Certified
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