Community in Canberra

Community in Canberra

Posted by Katie Brown, 01-Dec-2020

IYTA ACT State Rep Martha Luksza reflects on the year and the strong connection shared by the Canberra Yogis…

“Whilst our Canberra end of year gathering was very small, some rather special things occurred.

It reminded me there is immense value in small actions and gestures. One of our members kindly offered her home as an alternative venue due to the windy weather, so that the gathering could still go ahead. As a result Pam Bleakley was rewarded for her generosity. Networking meant Pam was able to offer some of her classes to another teacher who was interested in teaching them. Networking is one of the many benefits of being part of IYTA. Including looking for a relief teacher, a mentor, further study, community partners, resources, friendships, wealth of knowledge, contacts or more business.

Over lunch we discussed the challenges of teaching in a Covid world. We talked about the mental health crisis unfolding in our communities. Highlighting again the importance and power of Yoga to balance the world we are being asked to respond to. We talked about changes observed in student preferences for the type of yoga they want, particularly front line workers and how imperative it is for all of us to practice self-care.

Over the past few months I have heard your different experiences in changing how you operate and teach. Some of you have found the transition to teaching via zoom on line ranging anything from stressful, problematic, impossible, unsustainable, financially unviable, preferrable, flexible and workable. Some of you have even been able to resume some level of face to face teaching. Personally my weekly teaching was a casualty of Covid. For the time being, I no longer have students at my home studio.

But when one door closes another opens. No accidents in the system.

Recently employed to work in classrooms to support teachers with students with high learning needs at the local Primary school, I have witnessed how exhausted students, and teachers alike are. Our Yoga training equips us with the ability to bring a whole suite of skills to any life experience. I endeavour to bring a sense of calm to the classroom. Treating children with kindness and respect. Encouraging them to express themselves, to be listened to and to bring a sense of fun and service to my role. I have a renewed sense of gratitude and respect for our extraordinary school teachers, who day in day out show up for our kids. I have also been delighted to witness little people lying down after lunch practicing Mindfulness, practicing gratitude and silence. What fantastic life habits.

At home I have watched my three teenagers overcome all sorts of hurdles with resilience and grace. Whilst my husband has taken up meditation, practicing daily for the past eight months. As a result our family has experienced a deeper connection where home is a peaceful place to be. Who would have thought converting the childhood cubby house into a chicken coop would be such a bonding experience? We get four eggs a day. Again nothing wasted.

It is my intention to continue to serve and support our strong, diverse, vibrant, professional community of Yoga teachers. Each of you have your own unique gifts, it is always a pleasure to enable these gifts to be shared collectively and to see the IYTA community flourish. I know that my gifts do not lie with social media but they do with some of you, who can turn those gifts into spreading the word for the benefit of bringing people together to learn and share yoga.

In these changing times, never under estimate the power of your ability to lighten the load for your students, your family and the people that cross your path on a daily basis. The simplest act of a smile. Of being patient in line. Of saying thank you. Of listening with your whole being. Of holding the space for someone who is in real need. Of picking up the phone to say hello. Of checking on an elderly neighbour (in my case with a chicken in arms). Of giving something of yourself (expertise, time). Of cooking a meal. These are the moments that can change a life, save a life, give new life to someone who is lonely, dying, lost or just needing someone to show up for them. And as we know on our own yoga journeys, kind, compassionate individuals have done this for us, and so it goes.

Please feel free to pick up the phone or drop me a line for a chat if you feel like you want to have a natter, make a written contribution to the IYTA publication, suggestion. I make a decent cuppa.

Whilst our workshop program was all cancelled and is now temporarily suspended, there are interesting offerings online via the IYTA website, that we encourage you to sample or even contribute too. There is always your own personal practice to explore too.

Your Canberra committee is a wonderful group of teachers, that have a vast range of teaching and life experiences for you to tap into. I want to say a big thank you to Marg Riley, Pam Bleakley, and Marguarita van Oosten. We will keep offering small, simple ways for us to come together, to learn from each other and connect as a teaching community.

Hope to see you all you in 2021.

Yours in Yoga.

Martha Luksza

Pic credit: Jennie Clavel at Unsplash