An Integrated Approach

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a new venture

Today marks my first official day of partnering with Yoga for Recovery.
The ladies of YFR are quite fantastic; a group of committed, loving women who teach every Friday as part of the Prostitution and Drug Rehabilitation Program for Women at the Cook County Jail.

Many of you know that I have had a long-standing interest in and a passion for those who participate in our nation’s correction programs, but historically I feel like I’ve done a lot of talking and not a lot of acting in accordance with my opinions and beliefs. In fact, I pretty much turned my back on my prison studies to pursue yoga.

That is, until a few months ago when my very good friend Lara put out an all-call for teachers to volunteer with a program she was a part of.
Needless to say, I jumped right in, went to the information meet-and-greet, got my background check/prison pass, and then I got scared.

I used my changing job situation as an excuse not to go to orientation, because, simply, I was scared. Not physically mind you, but of how I would be percieved by these women, would they believe that I cared? Would they think I was a silly little white girl who really knew nothing about life? Would they think my story or what I had to teach was invalid?

And then I remebered what my wise roommate has said many times in many ways. That kind of thinking is the pernicious and little named sin of self-centricness. I am not the center of this dialogue. My opinion/presence does not hold nearly as much weight as I give it. The fact is, I am here to provide a space for these women. I don’t know their stories, I most likely will never know them. But I can provide a space for them to lay on their mats with their eyes closed. I can show them a new way to stand firmly on the earth and I can say something about the value of being still.

Besides the guard standing outside and the matching uniforms of my students, it wasn’t much different from teaching any other class.

Teaching is teaching is teaching.