Yoga in Oxford

Travelogue: My Dorm Room, St. Hilda's College – Day 28

Another highlight of the program so far: YOGA. On Thursday (7/4), I led fifteen students — including two boys! — in an hour-long yoga practice, which I offered as an evening activity. We have thirty-seven kids total.... I'm still impressed that nearly half of them showed up willing to sit calmly on their mats, arrange their limbs in previously unknown configurations, and lie silently in savasana rather than running amok in their only chunk of daily free time.


Then today, Sunday (a.k.a. "Special Passions Day," 7/7), a reprise of yoga in a more ambitious form. I guided eight very focused girls in a ninety-minute class this time, followed by a wander through the Botanic Gardens and to The Old Parsonage, a fancy hotel about 1.5 miles away, for "Very High Tea" in their shady garden. "Namas-TEA" went over swimmingly, it seems; the girls were already professing it their favorite day of the program yet — meaning it's won out over a full day in London, a fantastic production of "As You Like It" in Stratford (which they loved), and a day hike in the Cotswolds. Not bad. I'm satisfied.

Once again, for a couple of shots of yoga in action and our "Very High Tea," check out the Excel blog:


And it's happened again: my fifteen-minute, mini window of private time has lapsed and I have to haul myself out to the lawn for Community Meeting. After that I'll take a group of five for Indian food. Then, our first "Coffee House"....

***** Turl Street Kitchen, Oxford – Day 29

The yoga phenomenon continues to gain strength in popularity; a number of students keep requesting that I teach at every turn. I'm overjoyed that they're so receptive to the kind of oasis amid the freneticism of our program that yoga offers, and appreciative of how good it makes them feel. I do, however, have to consciously remind myself of these and the countless other benefits of sharing the practice when, in my less-energetic moments, I secretly desire that I could sneak off to take a nap during "Afternoon Activities" time. Take today's teaching schedule, for example: I have my major class (Creative Writing) 9:30am-12pm, my minor (Art of the Sketch) 2-4pm, and then yoga 4:30-5:45pm. After that, Community Meeting 6:15-45pm, dinner out with students 7:15-8:15pm, a movie with students at 8:45pm, and check-in, parts 1 and 2, at 11 and 11:30pm.