All posts by Victor Dubin

All People Deserve Paid Sick and Vacation Time: Even Yoga Teachers and Massage Therapists


Most, if not nearly all, yoga teachers and massage therapists only get paid when they work and even then only when you (the students/clients) show up. In other words, most, if not nearly all, yoga teachers and massage therapists do not have access to paid time off. Most, if not nearly all, yoga teachers and massage therapists have come to accept this system, a system that is not only economically disadvantageous to teachers of yoga and massage therapists, but also disruptive to consistent care, and morally indefensible.

There have been several articles written about the untenable economics of being a yoga teacher. You can read one of them here. While this is an important related issue, it is not the only pressing issue for the professional yoga world. The idea that yoga teachers must save a portion of the already little pay they receive in order to plan for unforeseen illness and injury, family emergencies, vacation time, and even holiday closures that nearly everyone else in the economic system takes for granted is shameful and irrational (based on the already paltry pay that most yoga teachers make).

Most often students have little to no knowledge that their yoga teachers are being burdened with low wages and lack of paid time off. Nor are students aware that this burden is a direct result of policies at their yoga studio or gym. Certainly, students are not directly to blame for this system and once they find out many will be likely to be concerned for the welfare of their teachers. However, yoga students, whether they are aware of it or not, indirectly support this system with their dollars.

In some cases, students find out this information and are either personally offended, but take no action to help create change, or even come up with cleverly cynical rationalizations like “Well, you get to do yoga for a living, so…you know.” I urge all yoga students to ask both their teachers and their studio managers/owners if this is the way teachers are being treated. If they find out that, yes in fact this is what is going on, then I encourage you to demand a change to yoga teacher pay that includes paid time off for illness, vacation, and holidays. I encourage you to follow up and make sure that changes are made, and if changes are not forthcoming to take your business to a studio that is responsive to the concerns of its members and the needs of its teachers.

This issue is so important to us that when we started NOURISH in 2009, we included paid time off for yoga teachers and massage therapists in our model. Teachers and therapists at NOURISH earn 4 or more weeks per year of paid sick and vacation time. One of the reasons we are able to do this is because NOURISH yoga teachers and massage therapists get paid their salary whether or not and regardless of how many of you (students/clients) show up. So the logistics of how much to pay for days off are straightforward.

Furthermore, when NOURISH chooses to close for a national holiday or any other reason, our yoga teachers and massage therapists get paid for their regular work, without losing any accrued sick or vacation days. For those of you who have always received your regular salary on Christmas, New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and for others even more, this might be a bit of a privilege shock. Most, if not nearly all, yoga teachers and massage therapists do not get paid on those holidays, unless of course they work on those holidays which most people enjoy as a much needed break. So again, I challenge you to ask your teachers, massage therapists, and yoga studio/gym managers/owners, “What happens on holidays?” And if warranted, demand a change that is fair to the yoga teachers and massage therapists whose job it is to take care of you.

As a wellness center owner, a yoga teacher, and person of good will who believes in fairness and economic justice, I implore all gyms, yoga studios, spas, and wellness centers to reexamine your employment practices with regard to paid time off for yoga teachers and massage therapists. You’ll find that when you provide paid time off, your employees are healthier, happier, and more productive for the short and long term. But more importantly, you’ll find that we’re all in this together and that taking care of the people that take care of others will strengthen your moral bottom line.

Jocelyn’s Response to the Sam Farr 30-Day Challenge


(Originally Published July 2014)

No alcohol after 7:30 p.m.:

This rule does not challenge people to limit their overall alcohol intake over the course of the day nor during the course of the week, alcohol intake increases the risks of several major diseases such as hepatitis, breast cancer, and prostate cancer just to name a few, most people begin drinking well before 7:30 p.m. (particularly on weekends) which may lead to higher than usual alcohol intake  prior to 7:30 p.m. for those attempting to comply with the challenge

No more than 1 serving or bread or pasta per day:

There is nothing nutritionally notable about bread or pasta that is not also true of other foods high in refined carbohydrates such as cheesecake, french fries, ice cream, soda, commercial energy drinks, and many breakfast cereals; given the increasing incidence of diabetes in this country and the preponderance of highly refined carbohydrates in our marketplace, we must immediately extend the conversation way beyond bread and pasta to empower people to control their blood sugar

7,000 steps or 30 minutes of exercise daily:

This recommendation is acceptable but should make exercise more appealing to busy adults by adding a clause that states all at once or in short bursts of activity per day (You get the same cardiovascular benefit from three 10 minute sessions of exercise as you do from one 30 minute session)

The Most Important Things for People To Do If You Want  to Transform Your Health:

  1. Individualize your goals and healthcare
  2.  Stay well hydrated via pure water.
  3. Make plants the majority of your plate every time you eat.
  4. Be mentored along the way to clear up nutrition confusion and address longstanding habits.

Congratulations NOURISH Yoga Teacher Training Graduates!

This week Brenna, Zoe, and Sarah finished their final teaching exams for their NOURISH Yoga Teacher Training Program completion! They all did wonderful jobs and will make mindful, considerate, compassionate, and caring yoga teachers. It has been my privilege to work with them and watch them grow as students and teachers.

They will be the instructors for the NOURISH Teen Summer Yoga Camp that happens in late July and early August. The kids who participate don’t know how lucky they are. Additionally, if you come to classes at NOURISH you’ll find them all subbing (check the NOURISH schedule for details).

New NOURISH Operations Manager, Liz Lewin

Please help us welcome Liz to her new role as the NOURISH Operations Manager. You’ll recognize Liz from the reception desk. She came to NOURISH a few months ago as a receptionist and is making a smooth transition into her responsibilities as our Operations Manager.

While you’ll still see Liz at the front desk as a receptionist, she will also be working behind the scenes to make sure that everything is running smoothly so that all of our members have the most NOURISHing experience possible. You can drop her a welcome note or check in about questions or concerns you have at

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

VOTE! We encourage everyone to participate in today’s election.

When you’re not out voting, here’s what’s happening at NOURISH today:


7:45 – 8:30 a.m. All Levels Roxanne

8:45 – 10:00 a.m. All Levels Roxanne

12:30 – 1:15 p.m. All Levels Victor (Zoe Assists)

5:30 – 7:15 p.m. Intermediate Victor

7:30 – 9:00 p.m. Yoga Anatomy Victor (Pre-registration Required)



12:00 – 4:00 p.m. Tomek

4:30 – 8:30 p.m. Amy


Nutrition With Jocelyn

7:30 a.m. – Noon

3:00 – 5:30 p.m.

Thank You Kate and Good Luck!

Thursday, May 24th was Kate’s last day at NOURISH. She is moving to the East Bay the end of this month. We are all going to miss her here at NOURISH.

Kate started with NOURISH about 2 years ago (when NOURISH was just 1 year old!) as a receptionist and when NOURISH was ready for its first Operations Manager Kate stepped up and filled that role. She worked hard and always did her best to make sure that the NOURISH experience was an uplifting one for everyone who comes here. She was an important member of the NOURISH family and her care and support will be missed.

We all wish Kate the best in her endeavors and hope that her time here at NOURISH has helped her in at least some small way to grow and become a better Kate.

3 Reasons Why NOURISH is Awesome…

Although I am positive that I can think of many more reasons why Nourish is a happening place, I thought I’d offer 3 to get us started:

1. The Staff- Working at Nourish is unlike any other employment experience I’ve had; each person who works at Nourish genuinely enjoys being there. How many people can truly say that? My fellow receptionists, the yoga instructors, the therapists, our rock star nutritionist… everybody takes a real interest in not only their own well-being, but also in wellness of every person that walks into Nourish.
2. The Health-Conscious Atmosphere-In my experiences, the place you work is not a place to find solace or solutions to your (physical or mental) ailments. On the contrary, working in deli’s and restaurants had driven me to smoke cigarettes simply for the opportunity to temporarily escape work, and to think of nothing more after work than whether or not there was cold beer in my fridge. Being surrounded by health-conscious, fitness-seeking individuals has had a very real impact on the way I think about food, fitness, and well-being in general. Now, my moment of “escape” from work comes in the form of savasana, and I savor the thought of a frozen Bija truffle (who knew getting your daily omega could be so fun and tasty?) in my kitchen rather than a stiff drink.
3. The Variety- Ah, the very spice of la vida. This one may not be so obvious to Nourish students and clients; working at Nourish is the perfect combination of routine and challenge in the workplace. Every task has a process, each process is clearly defined and detailed. The receptionist position is not one that is menial or boring, both of which are unfortunate aspects of most entry-level jobs, and ones that I have endured at every other job I’ve had. Victor and Jocelyn are adept at discerning the individual talents of Nourish employees and applying those individual’s skills to projects that benefit Nourish. The result is that we employees can take pride in the work we do, rather than feel like an invisible cog in a corporate machine.

I’d love to hear reasons that anyone may have as to why they enjoy Nourish, or how Nourish has affected your everyday life in general. Until next time, Nourish Santa Cruz…


Cigla’s (Chilla’s) Greetings From Turkey

Hi Everyone!

I know it’s been long since I left and you never heard from me. Sorry for being so late. The summer passed so fast. It was all about lots of family time for me of course. I missed my home, especially my room. It was so weird, it was my room but it felt so different like I just moved in. Most of the time I was between similar feelings.

During summer, I enjoyed all the things I missed in my country. I visited the cities that I’ve missed, the places that I used to hang out and of course the food. Even a friend from Santa Cruz came to visit me here during this time. Keep in mind everyone is always welcome here and if I am available I would always help you out. Also it was amazing to meet long time no see friends in Turkey. It is funny when you live in another country. It is being really hard to differ between the two places and people you love in both. I want them all at the same time. Nowadays, I realized that I started missing Santa Cruz a lot. I missed the studio at most and then the grocery shopping there. Thanks to Jocelyn, she gave me great tips about eating healthy and shopping in Santa Cruz. Well you really need to appreciate the value of that.  And I also missed West Cliff a lot, walking there, calming my mind. Well who knows maybe I’ll get a chance to visit you all again. I’d like to let you know that it is on my list of things to do.

Now I am more settled over here and starting some new yoga projects. I have two classes in a Hatha yoga studio and one kids yoga class at a very good school in my city. It is so funny that I got these classes without even applying for them. A friend of mine arranged the kids yoga class for me without me knowing. And the other studio is my old yoga studio where I started yoga. I just went to see my teacher and wanted to let her know that I am also a yoga teacher now. She was so happy and asked me why I didn’t go and see her earlier. And she needed some help and gave me a class and then another one. It is an amazing feeling hearing my students saying thank you at the end of the classes. Also seeing my kids hugging me and kissing me every week. Even one of my kids cried last week because I was late to the class for few minutes.  I can’t thank Victor enough for training me so well and to everyone in the studio. Thank you all for supporting me throughout the whole training. I am taking lots of compliments here as a teacher even though I am just a beginner and I owe this to Victor of course. I really love what I am doing right now and I’ll continue doing and teaching yoga and benefit from it. As long as I am with yoga, I’ll never forget you all and my days in Santa Cruz.