Saturday, August 17, 2013

My Current Resume, Bio and Business Card

Over the past few months, I have been making progress in the paperwork department of my yoga teaching career.  In order to start getting paid by the studio, there is a list of items that I need submit to them.  Included in this list is my resume, headshot, bio, EIN #,  and other types of documents for tax purposes.  I figured that since I put together a Yoga resume, I might as well add it to my blog.  However, not being particularly technologically savvy, I can't figure out how to do that!  I have spent many minutes too many looking through possible gadgets and such, but I have only enough patience to post it this way right now!
My bio also follows:
~My interest in yoga first developed some time around 1999 when I found a vintage yoga book in a thrift store in Austin that changed my life.  Over the years, my interest grew as I went from teaching myself in my living room, to taking classes at studios in my neighborhood, to developing a committed home practice, completing an intensive 200hr. Teacher Training program in Pittsburgh, PA, and now blogging and teaching restorative yoga in Brooklyn.  Throughout many changes in my life, yoga has been a support for me in many ways.  Having experienced it’s numerous benefits physically, emotionally, and energetically, I believe that yoga is a key to unlocking happiness in several ways, but especially physically by releasing some of the 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 currently teach gentle and restorative classes that support therapeutic release and deep relaxation.  My classes are suitable for new students as well as advanced yogis. I honestly feel that every person in the world can benefit from practicing some form of yoga!

I ordered these super cute business cards on My only regret in designing them is that I did not include the address to this blog.  I just couldn't find a look that I was happy with because wherever I placed it, it just seemed to crowd the space of the page, and I wanted to keep an open, light feel.  That's OK because these are my first yoga business cards and I'm sure I'll end up ordering some other ones once I have given all of these away. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

my first private yoga session

One of my career goals as a yoga teacher is to have private clients as well as teach corporate yoga.  (OK, so that's TWO goals...) I have had a little experience teaching corporate yoga through a few free classes at StoryCorps but that was a short lived and poorly-attended introduction to it.  Ideally I would go to big businesses and office spaces and teach a few classes a week to employees in their space, paid for by the corporation.  I'm really attracted to the idea of bringing yoga to people who work in highly stressful jobs, and see this offering from their employer as a major perk, and one day I hope to be part of that world.  So far I have not had the chance to consult yoga one on one...until recently.

I send out a weekly email listing my class times and locations that sometimes includes a little update on my progress if something exciting has happened on my yoga journey.  Through this weekly email blast, a friend of mine, Ursula, who owns and runs a printing press (and makes beautiful cards!!!), contacted me for advice on what type of class to take for some work related pain she is experiencing and expressed interest in having a private class. While I recommended my restorative class, as it would be beneficial for pretty much anyone and requires no muscular effort or any previous yoga experience, restorative poses wouldn't necessarily target the areas that are bothering her and bring her the type of muscular relief she is seeking.  Restorative yoga could bring her energetic and emotional relief in addition to relief from stress and would help to rejuvenate her, but I couldn't guarantee it would help her specific ailment, because that is not the focus of restorative yoga.
I was hesitant to recommend another class since I didn't know her yoga experience or what was going on with her pain, so a private seemed the best idea.  I was very excited to be meet the challenge of assessing her needs and creating a practice just for her.  I made a list of some questions that I thought would be useful not just for her situation, but for future private clients as well.   I didn't want to get too clinical or impersonal (or personal) on our visit so I didn't ask every single question, but we discussed quite a few of the following and I was able to make an assessment of her situation:
(not Ursula's press, I just liked the image)

-what kind of space do you have/ do you have a space available to practice at home?
-who is home/around/in your space when you can practice? (babies, pets, spouses, roommates)
-how much time are you able to give? (15minutes? an hour?  10 in the morning, 10 at night?)
-what time of day will you practice?
- do you do repetitive motions at work?  what are they like?
-do you sit or stand all day or walk around? 
-are you seeing/have you seen a doctor/chiropractor/therapist?
-are you going through a stressful situation/life change?
-how would you describe your sleep habits?
-what is your goal with this private yoga session?  is it physical, emotional...what do you want to get from this?
-what is your diet like?
-what is your experience with yoga so far?

this is the type of press she uses!
Ursula showed me her workspace and demonstrated running the paper press so that I could see the repetitive movements she makes.  I even tried it a couple of times to get a feel for it myself.  She described a shooting/sharp pain originating in her left hip, more towards the back than the front, and also complained of occasional but increasing wrist pain. Looking at the press, I was surprised that Ursula is not feeling any shoulder discomfort -probably because I feel so much shoulder pain that I am constantly aware of and empathetic to it!  But because she is experiencing hip pain, usually there is some compensation in other regions, and for me it is always the shoulders, so I was surprised (and relieved) that she feels fine there. I looked at her shoulders and I noticed that one did seem to be sitting just barely higher than the other.  It was something that nobody would ever notice at all, unless they were looking for it, which I was.  This is totally common and not necessarily related to what's going on in her hip, but I thought it was interesting to note. As a costume designer and an (out of practice) figure drawer, (and a student of anatomy) I love it when I turn on my observant artists eye and I notice things like this!  People's bodies are so interesting to look at, to really observe and see all of the little things that make us so unique!  In my world of costuming, one of my favorite parts of the process of building costumes is taking measurements.  Two people can have almost the same measurements yet their bodies look nothing alike because of things like posture, muscle development, where fat sits on the body and the effects of gravity.  It's so cool!  -My observant yoga teacher eye notices not so much if someone is short-waisted or has long fingers, but how their body (diaphragm and chest) moves when they breathe, or if they are holding their shoulders up to their ears or if their face is super clenched up.  It's neat for me to use all of these qualities of observation...I am thankful to all of those years of figure drawing for developing my eye... but anyway, I'm getting side-tracked...

So after meeting with Ursula, I went home and started researching.  I had a hunch that she is having an issue with sciatica.  I'm not a doctor, but based on my little bit of anatomy training, and books that I have, my sources pointed to that.  My therapeutic yoga books all warned to be cautious with doing yoga (particularly forward bends) if there is an issue with the sciatic nerve, so I thought it best she see a doctor before we proceed. Since neither of us really know what's going on, I wouldn't want to risk her hurting herself more or doing more damage, so the major yoga prescription is on hold for now.  In terms of the wrist pain, I think we can work with that and I can show her a few simple exercises that would help to alleviate that irritation.
Pepper Press!

While I could be upset that my first private yoga session wasn't fully executed in that I wasn't able to develop a practice for her, demonstrate and teach it to her (yet!), I don't feel like it was a waste of time or a loss in any way.  She is going to see a chiropractor (I recommended Dr. Grant of course!) and perhaps also try some acupuncture (on my suggestion, since it has been so helpful with my shoulder pain management), so I am glad that she is taking steps to heal her pain.  And that is a very yogic way!  Yoga is about listening to your body, respecting what it is saying to you, and honoring that.  While she may not be doing asanas (poses) yet, she is certainly practicing ahimsa... "non-injury".. the act of not hurting one's self or others :)  And in the end, I feel good because I too am practicing ahimsa by not choosing to push her to do yoga for my own selfish reasons of wanting to teach!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Yoga+Gardens=Happy Celina

Today I had the pleasure of assisting Sarah Schumann, the owner of Shambhala Yoga and Dance Center, in an open level class at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, in the Cherry Tree Esplanade!  It was a peaceful and supportive setting and this was quite a lovely way to spend my Sunday morning. 
I arrived at the Gardens right as the security guard was opening up the gates and was among the first few people to enter the gardens.  Quiet surrounded me and I was quickly humbled by the enormous trees and I felt small yet expansive as I strolled towards the rose garden.  I am used to walking through the gardens with other people milling about, and it felt very special to be there as it was practically empty. I took my time as I headed towards our yoga spot.  I noticed the range of emotions that came up as I contemplatively walked through the greenery, I noticed how quiet and calm I became.  The BBG is a special place for me, and I have memories associated with every visit I have experienced there, some happy, some painful.  Though the grounds are thoughtfully landscaped, and therefore not "natural" in the sense of being like untouched mountains or a babbling creek, it is still a place that I like to go to when I need a break from the city and need to be recharged by nature.  I always feel at peace when I'm there, and I was excited to combine two of my loves together- Yoga+Gardens=Happy Celina.
As I moseyed down the sidewalk towards the visitor's center, I saw a pair of giant brown tree-bark-looking moth/butterfly-creatures, just chilling smack dab in the center of the sidewalk.  They stayed still for a while and kindly posed for my picture.  These moth-beasts appeared to be around 4" tall and even seemed to be situated on or attached to some kind of strange base (not visible in the photo)....maybe it was their excrement?  Anyway, they were cool-looking...a cross between tree bark and a moth and a butterfly.  That's the thing about being in nature, whether it's constructed or wild; there are always moments when creatures or plants or water features command your attention and cause you to slow down a bit and ponder life and all of its wonders. 
As I approached the esplanade, yogis were getting settled in the area, some chatting, some remaining introverted, some busying themselves by setting up their mats and removing shoes, etc.  An adorable family came together for the morning class, and as I introduced myself to them, I learned that they had experienced the last esplanade class together as a family as well.  I can't think of anything sweeter!
I joined everyone under the trees and opted to remain matless, as I had planned to move around while assisting.  It was a joy to feel the moist grass on my bare toes, my feet traveled in tune with the tiny hills and valleys of the ground.  Sarah led a sweet class, focusing on our awareness of ourselves in our bodies, in this place outside, among the trees, the grass, the sky, the air, the clouds, and our neighbors.  She has a wonderful approach and voice, and effortlessly guided us to connect our own physical bodies with the earth by beginning the class with a focus on our toes and the balls of our feet.  It was an effective way to bring this awareness of the real physical connection of earth and skin that we were lucky to experience, barefoot in the grass.  
Though my shoulder injury is still nagging me, I was happy to be able to demonstrate and practice with the group for a good amount of the class without abusing myself.  I felt connected to the class in a way that is a different experience from being a student, or a teacher.  I was neither leading as a guide, thinking and vocalizing as I would be as the teacher, nor was I listening intently to follow directions, focusing and challenging myself as I would be in the student role.  Assisting allowed me to gently guide and give manual adjustments, demonstrate, participate or quietly sit back and observe and share the energy of the group.   The class had it's own unique pace for me, which I created...and it was blissful!
Though this was the last yoga class of the summer at the BBG, Sarah has plans to continue the program though the fall and in the winter, and I look forward to practicing in the gardens.  As a person who grew up in Las Vegas, where 4 seasons refers to a hotel, not a reflection of climate cycles, I take great joy in witnessing the visible, colorful changes that happen in plant life.  I can not wait to experience yoga at the Gardens again come fall and winter.  Until then, I'll continue to enjoy teaching my restorative classes at Shambhala.