Before I took this concept and the workshop I created into a community, I decided to do a trial run with my Capstone class to get feedback and discover for myself how to communicate better. I also wanted to make sure that the activities I had created from my research would fit the needs of the participants as well as give enough variety to keep everyone engaged. Overall, this was a very important part of my process because my classmates and professors were able to give me very valuable notes.
One of the biggest notes I received was about certain words I chose to use. Some liked what I had to say, but there were a few that commented on specific times that they felt uncomfortable or that it was not communicated well. When I am asking about the way the participants are breathing and asking them to notice and not judge, I need to recognized and be careful of how I do this. This goes for everything I say, but multiple students specifically pointed this out. I had to agree with them, and I will say that I did have a lot of great suggestions given to me for how to word phrases differently. I appreciate that my class was honest with me about this, because I have a time with public speaking and this practice round will without a doubt make my word choices better for future workshops.
Another point brought up to me was about music. There was a suggestion about a certain song making too much of an influence on their emotions and with what actions were being suggested. I realized after the fact that my music was put on shuffle because we had been trying to make it work through the speakers on my Bluetooth so things were switched around from their normal settings. This was accidental, but once again I am grateful that it was pointed out because I am now aware to be more careful and truly double check. It also brought up the topic of what kind of music worked, and what did not. I personally used a meditation playlist I made for my own use when I do yoga, but my class had some great suggestions as to what songs did not make them feel comfortable. This was a great discussion because it is not about my music preferences, but what a majority of people in a group feel comfortable with. Music can easily inform someone’s movement as well as their emotion so I have made improvements within my playlist to use more of the white noise chimes and slower, smoother tempos.
There was a bit of confusion with what was “right or wrong” during the workshop and although I tried to explain in the beginning and during the workshop that there is no “right or wrong”, I think I could have been clearer. At the beginning of the workshop, I plan to always tell my participants this, “Before we step on the floor, take a look around you. This is a safe place, a place without judgment, and a place for you to feel however you feel in this moment. This is a place with no right or wrong, and a place where you can explore however much, small or large, that you would like to. I am inviting you to take a journey of exploration and discovery. I will not be leading you, as I do not like to call myself your leader. I am serving as your guide on your personal journey. Everything I say is a suggestion and it is not required for you to take that suggestion. You can interoperate my words in whatever way you would like because in this moment you are doing what feels good for your body. You are here making choices and moving for yourself, so I can only guide and give you suggestions to help you on this journey. With this being said, my goal is to give you a safe place to not only feel and recognize your emotions, but to embody them as well. I have hope that this will help you find a balance, or a state of equilibrium within your mind and body. When we take a step on the floor, remember this is a place for you to explore and that you are on your journey.” I think that by reiterating the importance of this experience to be personalized to fit an individual’s needs or desires is important. I was told by a classmate that they were absolutely comfortable when laying on the ground and they did not want to get up from that place because it was what their body and mind needed in that time. I will use this as an example for my future workshops so participants are again reminded that this workshop is for them to find what balances their mind and body, and that my words are all suggestions.
I found this experience valuable and I was so proud of everyone in the room for taking a chance and doing this with me. A majority of my class said they did feel very centered within themselves so overall, I would call this a success including my own learning outcomes.