Don’t be afraid to care

Maha Bali’s blog about starting #YogaMOOC felt like I could have written it.

Normally, that’s a good feeling. Maha’s pretty smart; if she says something I was thinking, then I must be on the right track.

But this post resonated differently. I felt some of that free-floating stress in my own life. A general physical off-ness that comes in part from letting my exercise and sleep routines slip. A mental unsettledness, an annoying distractability. The ongoing battle with my own temper (and perhaps that word “battle” is part of the problem).

It’s a little less fun to see the harder parts of yourself reflected. But it’s still a connection.

So I signed up for #YogaMOOC too. Worst case scenario, it’ll be another notch on my belt of online courses started but not completed. (I guess the worst case is really that I’ll injure myself and annoy everyone telling them how great I was before I took a MOOC to the knee, but then, I’m middle aged, my knees are already creaky, and it’s pretty much a matter of time anyway.) But even if I do, I ought to get a couple of more mindful hours out of it.

So thanks, Maha!

Surya Namaskar

It’s important to set realistic fitness goals. I believe this is achievable.

On the face of it, an “online course” about physical activity seems odd. Of course, there are plenty of YouTube videos designed to teach physical skills, and exercise DVDs and tapes before them, and books before that trying to teach technique with still photos. But I’ll still want to think a little bit about how this compares to a physical yoga class.

Autumm Caines had some interesting thoughts about the class too. Why do we persist in some endeavors? (Which implies the question, why do we stop, and sometimes return?) What does it mean to have a discipline (as opposed to just the quality of “being disciplined”)? And what does it mean to love a discipline, a belief, a system?

I don’t think these thoughts are just navel-gazing; I think they’re core to the business of teaching and learning (and supporting teachers and learners). But I think they’re particularly hard to ask within the walls of the academy, precisely because on the one hand there’s probably somebody who’s studied it harder than you have, and somebody else who’s convinced it’s not actually interesting. There’s also probably some larger group which admits it’s interesting but has some more immediate question.

But I’m particularly interested in this class because it’s got a formal reflective component. I suppose I’ll be trying to reflect on the ways greater awareness in body and mind might have social impact, and what role academic support centers might have in promoting this kind of wellness for work-life balance.

So thanks, Autumm!

Image credit:

“Surya Namaskar” by Michael Pravin, CC-BY-2.0 on Flickr. Found because it’s also been added to Wikimedia Commons,

2 thoughts on “Don’t be afraid to care”

  1. Hey Joe – I’m sorry to hear you’re going through similar stress/off-ness.
    I was thinking yday about how I’m looking at the MOOC *DESIGN* from my faculty development hat and seeing what I could learn from THAT not just the content, but I’m really digging your point about how as faculty developers we could bring some of this kind of mindfulness/wellbeing into our relationships w faculty. I also think there’s a lot of pressure on the MOOC to be something different from other MOOCs – to live up to its yoga “values” in other ways – it might be too difficult to do- we’ll see. I’ve only done some meditation, afraid to hurt myself w yoga right off (but they actually suggest that beginners not necessarily do everything, so… I know pregnancy yoga did help me without hurting me at all, but it was for pregnant women so it was probably waaaay gentle!(

    1. Thanks, Maha, and I’m sorry to hear about your stress. But again, thank you for sharing it.

      I’ve started a couple of meetings with a minute of silence, to give folks a transition moment between events. It’s hard for me to remember to do that, but I think it does help create a space for mindfulness in our work.

      I did one yoga class, years and years ago. It was taught by one of our dance professors and moved real fast. (It was great exercise, but honestly I was looking for something slower and gentler.) I’m interested in finding out more about different styles in this class.

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