Taking beginner's Chicago yoga is something that thousands of happy people try every day in the Prairie State. While may folks find this sort of thing enjoyable, the ki energy techniques used by instructors occasionally give off more than good vibes, as one of the most popular articles in the Chicago Tribune can attest.
A reader wrote in to the Miss Manners etiquette column, asking what she can say to a yoga teacher who is obviously depressed after the loss of a loved one. One in six U.S. adults suffers from major depression over the course of a lifetime, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
While the instructor reportedly still holds great classes, the reader notes that, of late, each class opens with an airing of the teacher's difficulties, something which appears to be driving students away.
What should she do? In this case, be kind, nurturing and (ultimately) honest, Miss Manners replied.
"This may be an exception, not only because it is something easily fixable that could make a practical difference to your friend, but because you have something genuinely nice to say at the beginning," she replied, quoted by the newspaper.
Essentially, the response lays out how the student can compliment the teacher on her great classes, ask if she is feeling all right and finally warn her that her venting at each class's start may be throwing off the room's energy.
Ki energy, the vital life force that surrounds and binds us, can be amplified and circulated through yoga's mindfulness techniques and group exercises.
Some might say that, in this instance, an unfortunate side effect of the connectedness of the class is that the students can feel their instructor's energy sagging under the weight of grief. However, this is not unfortunate at all, since – as you can see for yourself in the Tribune – at least one Chicago classmate is genuinely concerned for her teacher.
Ki energy links us by boosting our empathy. Couldn't we all use a little more of that?