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Senior Yoga: Turning my passion into a Peace Corps project

Ty Miranda, 127 

We all join Peace Corps with a variety of passions. Some volunteers enjoy running, others enjoy cooking, and some enjoy playing bocci. I joined with a passion for yoga and with the help of my community, I turned this passion into a Peace Corps project.

During college, I signed up for a few yoga classes. It was like college P.E. and it got me up to exercise because it was graded. Brilliant decision on my part. I enjoyed the classes and even started working at a hot yoga studio in Georgetown in exchange for free classes. It was great. My practice stopped after college and it was not until I was living at my site that I started taking up the practice again. Yoga gave me something to do when I was bored out of my mind at site. And, unlike Netflix, it was a great form of exercise.

People in my town started learning about my passion for yoga when my weight loss became the topic of conversation. Community members would ask me how I was losing weight and I just mentioned that I started practicing yoga, running and biking. They ignored the running part but liked the yoga and biking part.

Eventually the Anime approached me with an opportunity to teach the seniors yoga at one of their monthly senior check ups. After I taught once, the seniors approached me to teach again and again. This is how my senior yoga program started and continued. There was so much interest that I was able to write a grant and get funding to buy yoga mats thanks the Friends of Thailand organization.

The entire process took about eight months to come together and it’s something to keep in mind if you are looking to turn your passion into a project. I also recommend the following things:

  1. Try to talk about your passion a lot, let community members know what you like to do.
  2. Be flexible, I had to research a lot about senior yoga for the program to work.
  3. Don’t try to push anything too much, let your community meet you halfway.
  4. Be open to suggestions, your community will know what will work best.
  5. Make it fun! I try not to stress too much about the program. If we have class, that’s great. If we don’t, then I look forward to the next class.
  6. If something is not working, ask for help. My yoga group was kicked out of our initial location so I asked my Tessaban for help to find a new location. They not only helped but created a setting for more participants to join.
  7. Grants are great, but get the community involved. I wrote a grant for money to buy yoga mats and teaching materials because our government budget had just been cut. In order to get the community more involved, I asked the local health clinic to help me in the whole process including picking out the mats, purchasing materials, and organizing transportation. They really enjoyed being included.
  8. Ask other volunteers for help. I remember asking PCV Alyssa for a yoga pose refresher course and some other PCVs for help with the grant. We are all here to support each other, so don’t be afraid to reach out.

Overall, the senior yoga program is a great addition to my current work in my town and I am more inspired to work with the program because of my passion for yoga. But, that’s not my only passion. My passion for biking has helped create my Tessaban biking group and my passion for crafts has helped my after-school program flourish. There are many ways you can apply your passions to this job, you just have to find them. Good luck!

 

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