I decided to take part in the Karma Exchange program at my yoga studio. The deal is that if I commit to a permanent four hour shift each week, in exchange I receive free unlimited yoga or if I pick up floater shifts, each one is good for three free classes. Starting in January I am going to have a permanent 4 hour shift most likely on Sunday mornings (will force me to stay out of trouble on the Saturday nights!). So far I have had one training shift and one shift all on my own. The four hours are spent doing all sorts of glamorous tasks like laundry, cleaning the change rooms, the showers (including pulling hair out of the drain – gag), rolling mats, filling up soap bottles, and, most exciting of all, mopping up the sweat in the studio following classes.
It’s not the most exciting thing I have ever done but it is actually not that bad at all and I think I am going to gain a lot from it. For one thing, it has made me realize just how thankful I am for the other volunteers that have spent their time making sure the studio looks great for me over the past years. I never really thought about the fact that while I am doing my class there is someone buzzing around making sure that everything is ready to go for when I come out. It is a lot of work and just by nature of hot yoga (there is a LOT of sweat all over the place) to keep everything tidy takes a lot of elbow grease and diligence so I really applaud everyone before me for doing the dirty work.
Secondly, when I did the Vipassana course, S.N Goenka spoke a lot about service and selfless giving. There is so much to gain (good karma for one!) from volunteering your time to help others without expecting anything in return and while technically I am getting something back (free yoga! holla!) it still feels really good to donate my time for the benefit of others. I am not the only one reaping the rewards, everyone who uses the studio is benefiting from what I am doing and that feels pretty awesome.
Lastly, I am looking forward to getting to know the studio community better. It has already been great to see familiar faces and to strike up conversations with a few people as I go to classes, but I think this will make it even easier to get to know my fellow yogis. They seem like a pretty great bunch of individuals and I am excited at the idea of having them as new friends.
One observation I have to make so far though, boy do people leave a lot of stuff behind! I don’t know if this is specific to this studio or it is common in all sorts of change/locker rooms but it seems like after every single turn over of people there are towels, pants, underpants, shirts, shorts, water bottles, you name it left behind! It is actually shocking to see! I am such a worrier about forgetting stuff that I guess I just can’t understand how people just walk out without checking that they have everything. Also, how does one just leave underpants in the middle of the change room floor?! True story. You should see the lost and found is all I am saying, tons of stuff, including tons of Lulu Lemon gear which ain’t cheap! And no, sadly I can’t raid it.
I am looking forward to starting my permanent shifts in January and seeing how it all works out. I am fairly optimistic about this being the beginning of a beautiful friendship!