Tag Archives: community

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

color15

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.

Cruising Right Along…No Caffeine!

Today is day 8 of the 28 day Cleanse I’ve been doing under the very impressive tutelage of Jocelyn.  Boy, does she know her stuff.  I made it through the first week with very little discomfort.  I haven’t really been missing the sugar or the wheat.  Which is surprising because, though I know it doesn’t make me feel great my very favorite food is probably a pastry…any really good buttery pastry.  I don’t eat them very often, but I would eat them several times a day if I could without any repercussions.

I can’t believe I waited until the second paragraph to brag that I am off caffeine.  The slow weaning was painless after that first day, and yesterday was my first day with 0 caffeine, probably since I was pregnant with my first baby 6 years ago.  (I had a cup of tea each day with my second pregnancy…less paranoid, I guess).  I have to say it feels good.  I even contemplated continuing without the caffeine after the cleanse…which did not sound interesting to me a week ago!  My energy is fine, and I’m not even missing the ritual.  Of course, it’s been replaced with another one.  Tubs of powders to mix together with water or alternative milks into a thick, off greenish sludge resembling a shake.  Twice a day.  They’re a little bit salty and a little bit sweet.  Quite filling.  Satisfying even.  I like eating food better.

One more thing:  I have gas.  It must be the shakes…or maybe I’m detoxing.  My house is aromatic, and my family is giggling a lot.  Sorry everybody.  I hope it resolves before my class tomorrow.  It better not be not too crowded!

Stay tuned!  Valerie Moselle

Farm to School Program

Since 2001, the Community Alliance with Family Farmers has spearheaded Farm to School projects across California. Our Farm to School initiative has developed and coordinated on-the-ground programs connecting schools and schoolchildren to their local farming communities while also creating resources, workshops and materials that help further the Farm to School movement in California.
 
Here in Santa Cruz we reconnect children to agriculture and wholesome food through our Know Your Farmer and Harvest of the Month programs. We bring farmers into classrooms so students can meet and learn from local farmers, and provide engaging in-class lessons on nutrition and foodsystems. Our Harvest of the Month Tasting Kits supply 180 classrooms in Santa Cruz county with great lessons and fresh locally grown produce from small farms. These Tasting Kits help teach kids first hand about agriculture and nutrition by giving them the opportunity to them to taste different kinds of fruits and vegetables from local growers. We also bring classrooms out on farm field trips where students have a blast learning about their foodsystem through science, language arts, and nutrition lessons.

This Thanksgiving Nourish hosted a fundraiser for our local Farm to School program and raised over $500 dollars! Being a non-for-profit organization, we rely on the support of community members and grants. Your generous support this holiday season helped us reach even more students with these dynamic programs that teach kids about food and farming, inspiring them to make healthier eating choices that support their local farming community. Thank you for your support!

With gratitude,

Kathryn Spencer
Central Coast Farm to School Program Manager
CAFF ~ Community Alliance with Family Farmers
kathryn@caff.org
www.caff.org

Sexual Misconduct Among Yoga Teachers

Posted by Valerie Moselle

I was just reading this week’s article in the GoodTimes Santa Cruz titled Yogis Behaving Badly.  The article is written on the subject of yoga teachers and the specter of sexual harassment that has been known to loom in the shadows of the yoga world between teacher and student, guru and disciple.  The article points out the tenderness of the relationship between a student and  his or her teacher, and how that vulnerability can be, and has been, abused.

Certainly, becoming a successful and inspiring yoga teacher should go hand-in-hand with adhering to the moral foundational principals of yoga (the yamas and niyamas).   But it doesn’t always work out that way.  Yoga teachers are human, tempted by all the same urges as everyone else.  Fear of retribution from an almighty and judgmental God did not make Catholic priests impervious to molesting little boys.  There is no reason to think that all yoga teachers would be immune to the same impulses, especially when worshiped themselves by a roomful of women in spandex routinely in the process of opening up –physically, emotionally, and one would hope, spiritually.

It was obvious to me, as I got deeper into the writing, that one of the author’s purposes in broaching the topic of abuse by yoga teachers was to publicly air the events that brought one of our own local teachers under criminal investigation for the alleged rape of one student, and the sexual harassment of two others.  As far as I know, those claims are still being investigated by the Santa Cruz Police Department.

On one hand I appreciated the explicit (and anonymous, as the names of the victims had been changed) descriptions of what actually happened to these women.  These women felt that they had been violated, and they were willing to reveal the actions that made them feel this way.  For a woman who might be feeling weird or unsure about a suspect interaction with a yoga teacher, reading the description of another woman’s experience might help clarify her reaction.  Women, especially with a history of sexual abuse (1 in 3) sometimes get confused.  Some feel they should give the benefit of the doubt to the abuser, and that they must be misinterpreting the event.  A common pattern is to feel they deserved or even invited the abuse.  And then there is just plain old shame and embarrassment.  To read another woman’s account of harassment spelled out for all to see could (and should) give women courage to confront their own experiences, so that they can make appropriate choices around processing and healing the trauma.

On the other hand this article has caused me a fair amount of discomfort since I first read it the other day.  I’ve been chewing on the ‘facts’ I know about our local situation, as they have been revealed to me over time.  I have no personal history with the accused, but am aware of the scandals under which he left my former professional stomping grounds.  I have heard the rumors that have been floating around the yoga community for years, and have internalized the ‘inside scoops’ from people closer to the source of the ‘troubles’ than I am.  None of this is conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, which is why under the umbrella of news organizations, or even the umbrella of Nourish  the dirty laundry cannot be completely hung out to dry.  We won’t name names, we can’t speak openly about what may have happened, to whom, and because of whom.  But by now I am skeptical enough to steer clear of any involvement with the accused.  It’s frustrating that in most cases of this nature the ‘real’ story is never allowed to come out.  These accusations seem to always exist in the realm of rumor and gossip.  I have to say, though it was nice to finally see at least something in print, it’s frustrating that an article inspired by local events had to be so….generalized.

When we are restricted from talking about rape, sexual harassment, or any other kind of violence the offender is protected, not the victim.  I understand that until someone is convicted of a crime that it violates that person’s rights to speak about them as if they were guilty.  The mechanism for protecting the innocent-wrongly-accused has an important role in our justice system, obviously.  I believe in due process, etc… However, in cases like this I find it unfortunate that a potential threat to women is left vague and yet sensationalized.  Without specifics, we keep the issue at arm’s length, as if it has nothing to do with us.   Or worse, the uninformed assume the yoga world is rife with such problems and allow the fear instilled by the media to color their impression of yoga altogether.

As Judith Lasater so profoundly expressed in the GoodTimes article, this problem is not going to get better when someone gets put behind bars.  This issue won’t get better in any facet of our society until women refuse to be victimized, first by the offender and then later by feeling ashamed to raise her voice about it.  That’s a tall order.  (I know the former statement will have a lot of victims of violence perking up, so give me a moment to elaborate).

A quote came to me through one of my own teachers, Colette Crawford.  It is an ‘ancient Chinese saying’, one of those that has no source that I’ve been able to find.  Please correct me if I’ve got it wrong, or if you know something about it’s origins that I don’t.  It goes like this:

“Mountains will move, wars will cease, when women wake up.”

I’m not saying that we can necessarily end rape and sexual harassment.  With things as they are we have no control of what another brings to the relationship we have with them, whether that is the relationship with a friend,  a date, a teacher, a family member, or stranger on a dark street.  What we do have is the ability to overcome shame, heal, refuse silence, and raise awareness with the purpose of creating an environment where inappropriate sexual advances are never tolerated in any way by anybody.  Ms. Lasater’s fantasy about a woman standing up in the middle of class to announce an indiscretion, and then asking for solidarity in a boycott of the class is now my fantasy too.  My greatest disappointment is the gossipy nature of these discussions, when they come up.  Oh, and the fact that this teacher is still teaching.

My first thought was that there should be an organization for yoga teachers through which complaints can be filed and investigated.  That way, even if there are no prosecutions, at least there is a record of complaints.  You see, there very well may not have been a crime committed here.  Making passes at women, after all, is not illegal (except in the workplace).  But I think we can all agree that yoga teachers should not be making passes at students, any more than college professors, police officers, or therapists should be.  If there were some way to log a complaint, Yogis could be left to make their own judgments about teachers.  They would have a place to go to to look for red flags, or to place a warning for future students.

Then I realized that no governing body can protect us from these teachers, both few and far between, by-the-way.   It’s up to us to refuse to be taken advantage of.  Though I understand the purpose of the article, and the assumptions we have been guided to make.  Though I appreciate the interview with Judith Lasater, and the efforts to give voice to this serious issue–we will not see the end of this, as Ms. Lasater points out, until we, as a community start talking out loud.  We know this is happening.  It’s fine to name names and issue warnings.

My own mother was annoyingly over-protective when I was a kid.  She was constantly reminding me of self-defense techniques, talking with me about abuse and what to do if I feel unsafe with someone.  It was one of my least favorite things about being her child.  “Maaaawwwwwwwmmmm.  Cheeeeeeeez.”  But in my early 20s when I found myself suddenly in a violent situation with a boyfriend of two years, I knew what to do.  I got the hell out of there and pressed charges.  Not because I was angry and wanted to get back at him.  But because I didn’t want anyone else to get hurt.  I knew that whatever the outcome of his proceedings that he would have a blemish on his record reflecting what happened to me.  I knew, even then, that that blemish might in some direct or indirect way, protect another woman from escalating harm.

This is one case where I think we should speak up, even if it feels like gossip.  If you are experiencing, or know someone who is experiencing problems with a yoga teacher, (or anyone else for that matter) you owe it to yourself, and all women everywhere to talk about it.  Share it with your friends, a counselor, or a help line.  Share other incidents in your life that have made you uncomfortable.  Heal your own experiences by bringing them into the light and asking those that you love and who love you to take a look at them, even if it’s the last thing you want to do.

As a student of yoga, tell your fellow yoginis when a teacher crosses the line and disappoints your sense of morality, and by all means stop going to see that teacher.   Share with your fellow practitioners the teachers with whom you feel safe and respected.  As well as the names of the studios in which you feel supported.  The word ‘guru’ refers to a teacher that brings a student from the darkness of ignorance into the light of understanding.  In speaking about this problem out loud, we become gurus by bringing this uncomfortable subject out of the dark closet in which it has lurked, and into the light of our collective awareness.

It is unfortunate that we have to keep our wiles about us as we venture into the yoga world and subject ourselves to our teachers.  But we do.   I for one, have felt relieved to have been nowhere near the teacher that shall remain unnamed in this post, or the studio that supported him despite multiple complaints.  Instead I remain grateful that I am in the fold of an organization that puts the health and well-being of it’s clientele at the forefront of it’s mission (thank you Nourish) and to be teaching among teachers I would recommend to absolutely anyone who asked, male or female, regardless of their history.   Finally, I am grateful to be able to sit with my boss and fellow teacher, Victor, and discuss this serious issue together.  He and Jocelyn have brought this issue out into the light of Nourish by discussing it openly in meetings, and have asked us to share our feelings and insights about it with our students, and anyone who will listen.  Their message is clear.  Sexual misconduct among yoga teachers should not, under any circumstances, be tolerated.  “We want people to know that Nourish is a safe place to practice yoga.”

Jocelyn + Victor Turn 14

In the summer of 1996 Jocelyn and I were married in La Jolla and 2 days later moved to Santa Cruz. We have been here ever since and have celebrated every one of our wedding anniversaries right here in our adopted home town. On our anniversary this year I put together some new music mixes to celebrate our union during yoga classes. Here they are. Enjoy!

12:30 – 1:15 Beginning
Something In The Way She Moves James Taylor One Man Band
Power Of Two Indigo Girls Swamp Ophelia
Boyfriend Cloris Leachman Young Frankenstein
Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours Stevie Wonder Crooklyn, Vol. 2
Your Smiling Face James Taylor JT
Beautiful India.Arie Acoustic Soul
Just The End The Beatles Abbey Road
Grace Me’Shell Ndegeocello Bitter
Angel [Live] / Better Together [Live] Jack Johnson En Concert [Live]
She’s Got A Way [live] Billy Joel Greatest Hits
Nervous? Airplane Airplane
Believe It Or Not James Taylor Dad Loves His Work
Beautiful Me’Shell Ndegeocello Bitter

5:45-7:00 Beginning
Something In The Way She Moves James Taylor One Man Band
Power Of Two Indigo Girls Swamp Ophelia
Boyfriend Cloris Leachman Young Frankenstein Comedy
Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours Stevie Wonder Crooklyn, Vol. 2
Your Smiling Face James Taylor JT Music
Family Man James Taylor In The Pocket
Love Songs James Taylor Gorilla
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) James Taylor Gorilla
Shower The People James Taylor One Man Band
Choppin Brocolli Dana Carvey
Just The End The Beatles Abbey Road Remix
Let’s Stay Together Al Green The Definitive Greatest Hits
Beautiful India.Arie Acoustic Soul
Grace Me’Shell Ndegeocello Bitter
Nervous? Airplane Airplane
Angel [Live] / Better Together [Live] Jack Johnson En Concert [Live]
She’s Got A Way [live] Billy Joel Greatest Hits
Believe It Or Not James Taylor Dad Loves His Work
Beautiful Me’Shell Ndegeocello Bitter

We are so honored to be able to share our continued union with all of you.

Victor

What do you value?

Last week one of our dedicated yoga students sent and email regarding the NOURISH Core Values that are listed on our website. Here is the text of that email:

“Dear Nourish Staff,

Thank you for the confirmation for my appointment with Jocelyn. Today I had the pleasure of having time to read all of Nourish’s information. It is great.

I would like to add a Core Value that I believe is missing, having been devoted to the Om/Nourish family now for years. That is the value of LISTENING. I would like to see the core value “WE LISTEN to and embrace suggestions, questions, concerns and joys of our clients, members, students, and customers.” As I read the list, I missed that important element [of the Dubin family(well, Dalia is still in training)(smile)].

Though I have not had many classes with Kate and Roxanne, I have found them, as well, always willing to listen to any question, or happy to share some tidbit of life experience I or anyone after class had to share with them. They listen. I also find both of those ladies so open and willing to share their lives with us, supporting and giving a foundation for a family of professionals who truly care about nourishing the health of anyone who is willing to give even the smallest amount of their time toward bettering their lives and walking through the doors of NOURISH. Thus, both Kate and Roxanne seem to me to be in concert with Victor and Jocelyn in the Core Value of Listening.

In our cultural climate, in our political atmosphere, in a world where the importance of individualism sometimes erodes, or shades the importance of social values, compassion and the development of camaraderie, listening is a skill often missed, yet yearned for. Victor and Jocelyn Dubin have always listened well to me, my friends and family. I have over the years, observed them continually take an interest in participants’ needs through active listening, a quality that is essential to NOURISH anyone’s mind, body and spirit.

Thank you, Namaste, and Aloha,

Kulani Kamaha’o

Devoted to Nourish”

Thanks Kulani. We are listening and you can expect the addition to our core values page soon.

Victor

Welcome!

Welcome one and all to the Nourish blog!

We hope to make this a cyber extension of our downtown studio in Santa Cruz. A space for information, ideas, self expression, wellness and perhaps most importantly of all – interaction.

Here you will find regular blogs from our charismatic yoga practitioners, our magical masseuses, our delicious nutritional expert and various other lovely people involved with Nourish.

In addition to sharing our insights into the various areas of our expertise, we will also share our musings on; wellness related issues, the weird and wonderful city of Santa Cruz, music, movies, art and anything else that moves us to put fingertips to keyboard.

We encourage you to do the same and are always eager to answer your questions or hear your thoughts.

Nourish aims to create a sense of community amongst our members and in the city as a whole. We hope this site can provide a platform for the discussion of good health and good times.

Be Well!