I quickly realized that in order to survive, let alone be successful, as a yoga teacher, I needed to expand my horizons. This meant that only teaching at a studio was not going to cut it. So, I got creative.
I looked into what it would be like to teach Chair Yoga at a Nursing Home. After calling and emailing a number of different places in my local area and offering some free demos, I landed a few gigs.
I had never taught Chair Yoga before. So, I looked up Youtube videos and read articles about what to do. I discovered that it would be easy enough.
Here are 5 things that I noticed about what makes teaching yoga at a nursing home different than any other setting and what I learned:
Not everyone will participate.
Most of the time, I felt like I was an entertainer instead of a yoga teacher because no one really participated. I had one or two people out of twenty who would try and follow along with me, but most of the people in the room were sleeping, telling me to stop, trying to leave the room, or too confused and/or sedated to do anything.
I also volunteer at a non-profit Adult Day Care facility as well and it is a small group of participants (about 8 people) and they all participate. This facility is much more organized and chooses to bring people in the room who actually want to do yoga. Sometimes, it depends where you are teaching at.
Find ways to get them engaged.
Since I was having difficulty getting everyone to participate, I tried adding in fun little extras to get them engaged. I started bringing in my speakers to play music. I tried so many types of music, from relaxing to rock music, and found that if the music was calming yet upbeat, it created a nice energy in the room.
I also utilized my essential oils. This worked the best! I would put a drop of oil in my palms and go to each person and have them take a breath. One time at the beginning and another at the end. They all really seemed to enjoy this.
I also experimented with the lights and closing the door to the rec room, so that it felt more like an experience. Nevertheless, people were always in and out whether it was nurses or visiting family members, it was difficult to avoid a disruption.