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A Message for Karma Yogis by Denessa Bachelor
Volunteer work can mean many things to many people. It can be something you do to fill in the time when you don’t have a regular job, someplace rewarding where you give some of your knowledge or something you have to do to fulfill a requirement. Of all the volunteer jobs I had, the one I would like to reflect on was my work-study program in the Fall of 2008. Back then, the center was known as Universal Force Healing Center, residing on W. 24th Street. A small space, much like Naam Yoga New York is at its present location.
The size of the place wasn’t a concern for me nor was the fact that I wasn’t a yogi. Sometimes small spaces can help you get to know people better and as for being or becoming a yogi is determined by you. As a work-study or intern, your job is to learn. Learn by example of watching the yoga instructors as they guide you through the classes. And learn by looking within to know how to respect others as well as yourself and the facility which you have been given some responsibility for.
Speaking of the facility, I was required to go for an orientation. On that night, I remember walking towards the place and seeing the symbol of the yellow circle on the glass window letting me know I was in the correct location. As I walked in, I heard music and saw a candle or two lit with a big chair stationed near the door. I remember being greeted and then I proceeded with another girl to a room which was usually for Harmonyum treatments. We sat on the floor with our shoes off, had a brief meditation and we had a discussion then were given a short form to fill out with our available days and hours. As I left, I thought while the music was still playing how simple the orientation was and that the place seemed nice. Although, I would like to point out that you should always keep an open mind when going into something new. Be prepared to experience the unexpected and to go outside your comfort zone even just a little bit. I sometimes have trouble with this and for me it would depend on the level that I am risking by going out of my comfort zone. But I didn’t think yoga or anything having to do with it would be too difficult.
The next few months were spent doing a variety of tasks. Having some kind of duty to perform can give you a sense of purpose or validate your reasons for where you are at that moment. Some people find this fulfilling and can help them get through the day but I didn’t think so much of that when doing a lot of mopping and vacuuming. Besides the cleaning, the laundry, purchasing items and paper work, I did find some quiet moments for myself. I also saw instructors and other patrons take quiet moments for themselves too. Every now and then as I went about my work I might see someone in the studio when there was no class time and just be meditating. Another time when I went down the basement to do laundry I would spot someone sitting still, eyes closed. I continued my work and tried not to disturb them thinking that they must really need this time.
During my quiet moments which I was always grateful for, I would take printed samples of the Rootlight Newsletter written by Dr. Joseph Michael Levry (Gurunam) to read. When reading I could relate to some of the topics of wisdom and wellness. There used to be a magazine called Wisdom that I would read there or take home to read too. I don’t see it at the new center but there is a website (wisdom-magazine.com) for more information if anyone is interested. Other quiet moments came in the form of working alone. I did alright by myself and found it can be a source and a virtue too. I usually was by myself in general so I didn’t have a problem with it. I always liked being alone in my thoughts because the things in my head is an adventure after another. Other times I worked along with the instructors or manager. Some of them I don’t see much anymore because they moved to work at the other Naam Yoga centers but I might see them as guest teachers paying a visit.
Overall, I enjoyed my time there and hope the place continues to prosper. I may not be a full time yogi and maybe I waited to take the majority of classes as part of my work-study towards the end but at least the experience gave me a new insight. I hope all present and future yogis enjoy their time in the program by using all the resources that are at their disposal. Use the time to learn what is right for you and what is not, grow into a source for others to seek and find the quiet moments for peace, reflection and nurturing of self.