Last week I volunteered to teach yoga in Washington, D.C. to homeless women living in temporary housing. I was thrilled to do it. Though I wondered, other than guiding them through a few yoga postures what could I really offer them? How was I going to relate to them when 1) I have never been homeless, 2) I am not illiterate and 3) I don’t have a family member in prison (let alone even know anyone locked up). Needless to say, pre-class I was slightly intimidated as to what to expect.
Once they entered the room that night and step on yoga mats, I realized these women are human. They are just like me and you. We all have the same basic needs. We all want to feel safe. We all want a roof over our heads. We all have dreams and desires. We all say “never” every now and then, i.e. I will never be able to do X. We all want to be loved. We all breathe, the same air in fact. Simply, we all want to feel happy and healthy.
So as I taught class, I encouraged laughter and smiles. I encouraged them to breathe. I also encouraged them to do a few yoga poses that challenged them in a way no one probably has in a long while. Best of all, I encouraged a sense of connection between each of us because the reality is they are just like us, human.