As I may have mentioned before, I’m a member of the Junior League of London, a service organization aimed at developing the potential of women and aiding those living in poverty. A few weeks ago was All Service Day for the Junior League. This is a day in which the league coordinates service opportunities with various organizations across London and encourages all of their members and their members’ friends to volunteer.
For All Service Day, my friend Jen and I decided to organize a wellness event at a local center that provides accommodation for homeless teenage girls. We arranged for the girls to partake in a yoga class, receive goodies bags, and brought in lunch donated by Whole Foods.
The yoga class was a really special experience to witness. It was mixed between Junior League members who had practiced yoga before and the center residents, most of whom had never been exposed to yoga.
Everyone started out a bit timid and tentative but as the hour progressed the dynamic in the room evolved. Each of the girls reacted to the class differently but those shared reactions slowly formed a communal vibe. At points during the practice the entire room would erupt in laughter as they tried to achieve a tricky pose. At other times the mood was more serious, everyone concentrating on challenging themselves.
Throughout the entire class there were distractions, though. It was unlike any yoga class I’ve ever witnessed. Instead of an attentive class focused on the teacher and themselves, there were distractions and interruptions and times when girls would drop out then rejoin. But somehow, amidst the chaos, the class continued. One pose continued to flow into another and there was a beautiful serenity that stayed in the room and was passed to whoever was practicing at that very moment.
Watching that class was such a wonderful lesson in many of the things practicing yoga can teach — endurance, acceptance, and finding your own way while being part of a whole. Overall the day was such a unique and special experience. Definitely one we’ll want to try to do again!