People often ask me if I notice changes in the yoga scene now, from when I started teaching in 2008. And the answer is ‘absolutely’. Here are just 5 things of many, I observe.
- Yoga is no longer considered the slightly ‘left of centre’ practice it once was. Back in 2008, we were still considered a way-ward band of warriors. I recall one boss of mine whom I asked if I could teach a class for the people I worked with, saying, ‘I don’t mind a yoga class in the office in the evenings, but no candles and incense please, for fear anyone sees us. Shame he never joined us. It was far from that image he had in his head.
- The number of guys in class – I recently taught a class where, drumroll, there were more guys in class than girls. One of the students rightly remarked, ‘you should capture this, there’s more of us’. In 2008, yoga was pretty much a female domain and while of course, there were guys doing yoga, it wasn’t as common to see so many in class. What a great development.
- Growth of the Softer Styles of Yoga – Most of us doing yoga for more than 10 years, will probably have started our yoga with a dynamic class like ashtanga or vinyasa. Today, it’s as likely someone will start their practice with Yin Yoga or Restorative. Restorative classes sell out quickly now, whereas in 2008, one would be hard pushed to find a restorative class. This trends is in response to a market that is asking for more of this type of yoga.
- Community – I’ve made some of my best friends through yoga. 10 years ago, you’d take a class and head off afterwards for a coffee or breakfast together or you’d see people chatting for an age after. We were never much liked in cafes, as we generally brought an entourage and moved the furniture about. Nowadays, I see less of these informal gatherings after class in Dublin studios. Arrive, Class, Leave. Therefore, I encourage students to introduce themselves, to whoever is beside them on the mat in class, or we do some partner work. As ‘loneliness’ becomes one of the biggest epidemics of our time, yoga has the capacity to support class-goers to make friends and build communities.
- Technology – Some teachers have very strict rules around phones and a phone going off in class can be frowned on. Given how busy everyone is, my general view during the week is, if you make class how amazing and sometimes we forget to turn the phone off, or there’s often a work email that needs to be sent before we start because we had to run to make the class. I’ve been that soldier. Happy Easter – restorative for me tonight at Ennis Yoga Studio with the wonderful Brenda.