Monday, April 29, 2013

I'm a Karmi

I recently became involved with the sweetest yoga studio in the neighborhood- Shambhala Yoga & Dance center. I am doing a work-study with them through their Karmi program.  On Saturdays, I work the front desk checking in students and do some cleaning to maintain the studio in exchange for free yoga classes.  I also will help with the wee garden and perhaps some other projects.  (I'm looking to head up a yoga study group/share there- more to come as that develops) This is great for me not only because of the financial incentive, but it also gives me the chance to experience how a yoga studio functions from a different perspective.  I also have met several new friends that live in my neighborhood and share my passion for yoga. Because I am there on Saturdays,  I check in not only a couple of yoga classes, but also a belly dance class and a couple of interesting workshops: Journey Dance and Kali Ayurvedic Yoga Detox.  So I have been able to chat with the teachers of these classes and get to know them a tiny bit and get a very generalized feel for what a class with them might be like.  Of course, it's not the same as taking a class with them, but I believe that a lot of what makes a good yoga teacher, or any teacher for that matter, is their personality and how the teacher and student relate to one another, so it's a nice introduction. It's really a great set-up!
Shambhala, like many other yoga studios, uses the MindBody software program for scheduling classes and workshops.  I am getting familiar with this program, which is relatively simple to use but still offers challenges to me occasionally.  The more adept I can become with using this program, the better.  I currently have no desire to open up my own yoga studio, but, should I wish to manage one some day, it would be beneficial for me to master MindBody.
They also use a program called ScheduleFly, which I bet is actually more popular in the commercial world than I realize. I wish we had this program when I was waiting tables at Hyde Park Bar and Grill in Austin and needed to get shifts covered.  It's kind of like a community calendar/post board and seems like a good way for employees (or karmis) to deal with their own scheduling needs and maintain responsibility instead of dumping it on the studio manager.  In theory, people trade shifts and help each other out all at a click of the mouse.
Thankfully, this is not a job where I just sit at a desk on the computer all day.  I do this for a portion of the time, but I'm able to be up and about for a good part of my shift as well.  I enjoy cleaning and caring for the space, it feels like a second home to me.  Stay tuned as I may become involved with a special project or two- and I will post about that for sure.
I am very happy to be a new part of the Shambhala family and look forward to sharing more in the years to come!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Teaching yoga to kids????

Every once in a while when I am feeling beaten up by this damn amazing giant fast moving city, I stop and remind myself of how grateful I am to be in a place that is bursting with so much opportunity and inspiration.  And the thing is, these moments never happen in the places or at the times that I expect them to.  Sure, I expect to feel good and be inspired when I walk in Prospect Park.  I expect to be irritated by noise and cigarette smoke when walking through midtown.  But I also know I'll see at least one really awesome outfit that will give me pause.  And I am inspired almost every time I go for a visit to my chiropractor not only because there are great anatomy charts hanging on the wall and because Dr. Grant is just plain fantastic and likes to talk about what's going on...but at my last visit he totally threw me for a loop- in a good way!

I had my first visit about a year ago when I was feeling a lot of lower back pain and recently started going again for some care for my f'ed up rotator cuff. Something happens when I go to this office and I just want to chat chat chat about the human body and it's mechanics and how it works and the marvels of it all.  And luckily Dr. Grant seems happy to converse about these things with me.  Part of me thinks he's pretty lucky to have me as a patient not only because I'm physically flexible especially in the spine, but because I kind of hang on every word he says when he talks about what's going on.  I ask questions and want to know more.  To him, it's probably almost like having a student to mentor.

Anyway, we talk and he knows that I am a new yoga teacher and that I am pursuing this basically on my own and I'm sure he can see my passion for it.  The other day at my session, when I was face down on the table and he was digging into my sub scapular muscles, he asked me what makes me a good yoga teacher.   Jeez Dr. Grant, really?  OK, fine, I'll answer that.  I know that at some point, I'm going to need to be able to answer that question and sound confident, so why not start thinking about it now?  I told him that I'm a good teacher because of my passion for yoga and that it is something that I want to share with people because I love it so much and I honestly feel that every single person in the world can benefit from practicing some form of yoga.  He rephrased the question and asked how I want my students to feel when they leave my class.  Of course I want them to feel better than they did before they came in, but in the grand scheme of things, I want to help people to realize that they can choose to be happy, they have control in their lives and they make their own choices.  And that I think yoga is a key to unlocking happiness in several ways but especially physically by releasing some of the very deep pain and emotional discomfort that we hold onto deep in our bodies- areas such as the hips and shoulders and even our guts!  By beginning to release that, we can begin to free ourselves emotionally, and that feels good. I told him that I really want to help people who suffer from deep pain, things from the past that they may not even be aware of that are blocking them...that I want to go for therapeutic release and want to teach from that angle. Then our conversation got kind of deep and we talked about genes and psychology and childhood, and he said some very nice things to me about my demeanor and presence in a room.  He's sort of like a therapist to me, but I don't abuse that because that is not why I see him.  It is nice though, that he takes a holistic approach.

Anyway, next he confessed that he was asking these questions for his own self-interest.  He is putting together a wellness summer camp for inner city kids and was wondering if I'd be interested in coming to teach the kids yoga!  I was (and still am) totally flattered and excited!  My mind is filled with ideas of what it will be like,  and what this could lead to- fantasies of working with a small holistic health care group of some sort... they pay my way for training programs in the healing arts...give me health insurance and good pay...maybe I even go back to grad school again and become a chiropractor (ha!).... and other, more realistic career fantasies like he refers clients to me and I have lots of private yoga sessions.  BUT, first, I have to do some serious research and teach myself ways to share yoga with kids.  You can bet I've already started googling that.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Spinal Nerve Chart Fun

One of my favorite parts of yoga teacher training and studying yoga in general is learning about the spine.  Recently I came across a chart that I had from training that was a diagram of the spine and the spinal nerve functions.  I was so happy to find it again because I remember thinking how amazing it was, and since I've been visiting the chiropractor a lot lately, it's a timely find.  I'm not at a place in my studies where I can even begin to try to explain how the spine or the nervous system works;  I trust that you are smart enough to google it on your own if you want to study it!  But I would like to share this amazing chart that shows how the spinal nerves correspond to the vertebrae of the spine and which areas of the body are effected if there is a problem within the spinal column in that area.  In other words, it's like a wiring diagram of the nervous system.

What was most interesting to me is that the areas that I have been having issues with over the last 4 months or so, the thyroid, right shoulder and wrists are all areas that are related proximally within the spine.  For me it's C6, C7 and T1.  And, something I haven't gone into detail on in this blog yet, is I also know that I have Mitral Valve Prolopse, a very common heart valve abnormality that is really no big cause for worry.  But, what is interesting to me, is that T2 corresponds to the heart.  They are all 4 in a row.  I'm not having any problems with other areas of my body currently, such as my stomach or kidneys or eyes...

I could look at this thing for hours.  If you google "spinal nerve chart" you can find one on your own.  Some chiropractor's websites have animated charts that you can click on to find out more specific info per body part, some are more intense, some more simple.  Enjoy!