Making Sense of Work with Jean Balfour

Ep. #86 Yoga, Coaching & the UN: Finding Purpose in Bangladesh with Betsy Kimmel

July 02, 2024 Jean Balfour Season 3 Episode 86
Ep. #86 Yoga, Coaching & the UN: Finding Purpose in Bangladesh with Betsy Kimmel
Making Sense of Work with Jean Balfour
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Making Sense of Work with Jean Balfour
Ep. #86 Yoga, Coaching & the UN: Finding Purpose in Bangladesh with Betsy Kimmel
Jul 02, 2024 Season 3 Episode 86
Jean Balfour

I'd love to hear any questions or comments you have about the show. Send me a message! Jean

Join us for an inspiring chat with Betsy Kimmel, our incredible PCC-level alumni and coach! Betsy takes us on her exciting journey, from tackling coaching projects in high-pressure environments to starting her own yoga practice. 

Her work is all about inclusivity, making sure everyone from leaders to drivers benefits from her coaching. Betsy also emphasises the importance of setting personal boundaries to avoid burnout and shares heartwarming stories of leaders who have successfully reclaimed their personal time. Don't miss out on this uplifting conversation!


Meet Betsy Kimmel 
Betsy has over 25 years of experience in coaching, consulting, and creating well-being solutions for individuals and organizations in the humanitarian sector. As the President of Betsy Kimmel Consulting, she partners with clients to enhance their personal and professional growth, performance, and resilience. 

She offers humanitarian leadership coaching and social impact career coaching. Betsy is also the founder and Chief Yoga Officer of an international wellness firm and holds certifications in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mental Health First Aid.

Follow Betsy on her Social Media 
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/betsykimmelcoaching/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/betsykimmelconsulting/
Book an appointment: https://calendly.com/betsykimmel/complimentary-consultation-with-betsy


Experience an Introduction to our Coach Training Programmes with our Free Taster Course: https://courses.baileybalfour.com/course/coach-training-introduction

Sign up to our newsletter to learn more about upcoming programmes: https://baileybalfour.com/subscribe/

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

I'd love to hear any questions or comments you have about the show. Send me a message! Jean

Join us for an inspiring chat with Betsy Kimmel, our incredible PCC-level alumni and coach! Betsy takes us on her exciting journey, from tackling coaching projects in high-pressure environments to starting her own yoga practice. 

Her work is all about inclusivity, making sure everyone from leaders to drivers benefits from her coaching. Betsy also emphasises the importance of setting personal boundaries to avoid burnout and shares heartwarming stories of leaders who have successfully reclaimed their personal time. Don't miss out on this uplifting conversation!


Meet Betsy Kimmel 
Betsy has over 25 years of experience in coaching, consulting, and creating well-being solutions for individuals and organizations in the humanitarian sector. As the President of Betsy Kimmel Consulting, she partners with clients to enhance their personal and professional growth, performance, and resilience. 

She offers humanitarian leadership coaching and social impact career coaching. Betsy is also the founder and Chief Yoga Officer of an international wellness firm and holds certifications in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mental Health First Aid.

Follow Betsy on her Social Media 
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/betsykimmelcoaching/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/betsykimmelconsulting/
Book an appointment: https://calendly.com/betsykimmel/complimentary-consultation-with-betsy


Experience an Introduction to our Coach Training Programmes with our Free Taster Course: https://courses.baileybalfour.com/course/coach-training-introduction

Sign up to our newsletter to learn more about upcoming programmes: https://baileybalfour.com/subscribe/

Speaker 1:

You are listening to Making Sense of Work with Jean Balfour. Hi everyone, and welcome to Making Sense of Work Today. I'm delighted to welcome Betsy Kimmel to the podcast. Welcome, betsy.

Speaker 2:

Thanks, Jean. I'm so happy to be here.

Speaker 1:

I'm really looking forward to our conversation. To introduce Betsy, she has over 25 years of experience in coaching, consulting and in creating well-being solutions for individuals and organizations in the humanitarian sector. As president of Betsy Kimmel Consulting, she partners with clients to enhance their personal and professional growth, their performance and their resilience. She offers humanitarian leadership coaching and social impact career coaching. Betsy is also the founder and chief yoga officer of an international wellness firm and holds certifications in mindfulness-based stress reduction and mental health first aid. So welcome to the podcast again, Betsy.

Speaker 2:

Thank you.

Speaker 1:

Well, as always, I like to start with asking the question how's work at the moment?

Speaker 2:

Work is. That's a great question and, I think, a bit of a big answer for that question. So work is going really well. I wear a lot of different hats, as you shared. I kind of do a lot of different things, so work is good in terms of private yoga clients, private coaching clients and also facilitating workshops on performance development for teams. So right now I've got a little bit of all of that. So it sounds a little bit of a lot, but it's great.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean. It sounds that you enjoy the variety of work, if that's how your day looks for you.

Speaker 2:

It does and it sounds so interesting when people ask me so, betsy, what did you do today? Or what do you do? I really have to think long and hard with my you know, with my short answer of exactly what I do, because I do provide several services and it keeps me quite busy.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I know, because I know you, that there's a nice thread running between those services and I hope we'll get to that today. Before we dive in to having a conversation about your career and where you came from, it would be great if you could share a bit about where you work and live now, because you have a very specific story to tell about this.

Speaker 2:

Yes, so I currently live in Cox's Bazar, bangladesh, which is in the southern part of Bangladesh, right on the corner of Myanmar. So actually, well, you can't see because we're on a podcast, but if you looked out my window you could see the hills of Burma about 20 miles away. And I've been here for the last six years with my husband, who's been in the humanitarian sector for a long time, and we are here serving the Rohingya refugee response. About six years ago, the Burmese military took action, actually took a genocide to the Rohingya, and they I guess almost 700,000 people came across the border six years ago, which is now means there's a refugee camp down the road with over a million people that need to eat three times a day, they need a place to sleep, they need to have clean sanitation, they're not allowed to work, and it is just a really challenging environment. And then you add on to that all the other factors going on in the world. Um, we're right now in the middle of cyclone season, so then just add some cyclones and then fires and everything.

Speaker 1:

So it's it's a really interesting situation to be in and it's really ongoing because the situation with the Rohingyas is still ongoing, isn't it for people?

Speaker 2:

yes, so it's not considered a quote-unquote emergency anymore, but it's not a development program either. So essentially it is a situation that is really, I think, geographically and politically just really challenging, and I hope something good will come of this for the Rohingya, because I know they want to go home.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and it's hard also to imagine that. So there's the situation for them where they're living in refugee camps just across the border from home and in Cox's Bazaar, which I know you've said was a sort of small fishing village prior to this happening and presumably now has a massive international community living there, like you, working on the humanitarian aid programs.

Speaker 2:

Yes, it truly was About six years ago, seeing the transformation in Cox's Bazaar and in Bangladesh. The infrastructure has changed so much. Cox's was a small fishing village. I know the government of Bangladesh really wants to promote tourism because we are here. Actually, Fun fact about Cox's Bazaar, the world's longest white sea beach is right out my window, so it's an amazing place to come visit and tour and it's just beautiful with the rainforest and tourism, a million refugees and now an international community all trying to make sense and work and and and thrive coexist together in that space.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yes, amazing. So, wow, I mean, what a place to be living and what an experience to be having, and it would be really lovely, actually, if you could say how did you come to be there, what was your career journey to being working in the humanitarian sector and then living and working in Cox's.

Speaker 2:

Bazaar I'd love to share with people. I'm in the third stage of my third career. My first career after university was working in human resources and large law firms in the United States. After about 12 years I decided to really focus on my well-being, which entailed me leaving that industry, going to yoga teacher training, opening up. So I actually started my first business. I opened up a yoga studio in a cute little town on the coast of North Carolina and my clients were corporate clients and private clients. And then from there well, from there came a big choice point of love. We'll just call it love, jean. I was either going to take my well-being program back to like corporate law, because I knew law firms needed well-being, or I could journey halfway around the world, get dropped off in the middle of the Pacific in Micronesia, with my husband, who is a humanitarian, and so I chose love.

Speaker 2:

So I began my humanitarian career in Micronesia where I think, kind of like you, I was a little ahead of the fold online. Thank goodness technology is so much easier these days. So I was able to take my private clients and some of my corporate clients along with me to Micronesia. I taught online and I joined the chamber and the rotary and got really involved in the community. A friend of mine tells me now she reflects back she's like you were just doing your own version of Peace Corps. You just got involved in the community. So after, uh, that mission ended, uh, sadly, the situation in burma and myanmar was happening. So we came to cox's bazaar. So, as I said earlier I began.

Speaker 2:

I am in the third stage of my humanitarian career. Within about 72 hours I came to Cox's Bazaar fully intent on teaching yoga full time to all the humanitarians. I put my HR hat back on and became the director of human resources for an international INGO, which was just crazy. We worked six days a week, 18 hours a day. It was nuts. And then I transitioned more into some consulting work and operations.

Speaker 2:

And then the pandemic happened and you know, like everywhere around the world, people got sick, people needed support. So one of the UN agencies hired me to develop a very customized well-being program for people here, which maybe is going to look a lot different than well-being programs in other places. So as I was doing that and teaching some private yoga and doing some consulting work, that really led me to coaching and to you and your program team, because there was just a huge theme here of taking care of people and I kept hearing from the leaders of these organizations who are really respected. Like Betsy, you have such presence with people. Have you ever thought about being a coach? And I was like huh. And so now I have brought everything together and am providing coaching not only to humanitarians but also people from the private sector. I think kind of my theme from my whole career, even after university, is just providing space and taking care of people so they can be the best version of themselves.

Speaker 1:

That's wonderful and I see that you can do that. You do it well, Thank you. One of the things that I love about your career journey that I can see is that you've been really willing to take risks, to kind of throw things up in the air and say then took, I guess, that entrepreneurial spirit into the humanitarian sector and into where you are now. I'm curious do you see yourself as a natural risk taker?

Speaker 2:

That's a great question. I've never really thought about that, jean, but I guess I am. I'm definitely up for well, okay, yes, because I really do want to ride, drive a tuk-tuk across India. So yes, I am a risk taker. That's one of your dreams that's going to be a reality very soon. Great, great.

Speaker 1:

It's wonderful because I think often for those of us when we're in corporate jobs we can feel a kind of pressure of staying in the corporate world and and either being fulfilled or feeling that we want something different, but too frightened to take that leap out. And you took that courageous step to leap literally out of that and then literally out of your comfort zone into micronesia and into the humanitarian sector, and that is amazing. And here you are doing what you're doing where you're doing it.

Speaker 2:

It can be scary at times. I'll be completely honest. However, I'm a firm believer in if I wouldn't have made those decisions, then we would not be having this conversation right now. I'm a firm believer and this is where I'm supposed to be right here right now, having this conversation with you because of actions and decisions I made in the past yeah, amazing.

Speaker 1:

So you're where you're meant to be at the moment. Yeah, yes, so you ended up here doing this work, working in wellbeing and it would be great to hear how you see wellbeing and particularly, how do you see wellbeing in the situations that you're teaching wellbeing or working with people around their wellbeing?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so in the humanitarian sector, I think it's actually maybe a little bit like the legal arena. It's a pressure cooker. There's just so much stress and, as we talked a little bit earlier about the environment I've been it's almost like a constant emergency. So, for example, in the last 10 days there's been a threat of a cyclone. We had a really bad storm. Thank goodness we did not have a cyclone land and then there's been some really big fires, unfortunately set by arson, by arsonists. So there's just always something going on and that is just so much stress.

Speaker 2:

And then you live in an environment where you know, maybe the driving rules aren't kind of what you're used to from home. So every time you walk out of your house your head's on swivel because you have to look both ways so you don't get hit by a bus, a tom-tom, a rickshaw or a cow. You just never know, and that's a true story. I almost got hit by a cow once, and so it's just all this pressure, and then it's noise and pollution. So you're just in this pressure cooker. So one of the ways I help people is by creating that space for them, like a quiet space. Maybe we turn off all the tech and that kind of goes in all the services I provide, whether obviously it's coaching or yoga or in workshop facilitation no phones on the desk, the room quiet, you know what only one person talks at a time.

Speaker 1:

So just really creating that space where we can just really calm things down and pause, which I think is really important yeah, that's, that's really powerful, that idea that in the midst of a lot of chaos, the chaos of taking care and the chaos of the environment, any opportunity to create calm is good for people's systems, to really to help them to down, regulate, to kind of become centered, and as the first start of well-being, because if we're constantly on alert then we're not functioning at our best and get exhausted and stressed and then unwell exactly.

Speaker 2:

I mean it just causes so much havoc on the their nervous system. So it's really just important. I say that's for me just step one. It's just creating a calm space in the midst of chaos.

Speaker 1:

And then, what else do you offer them?

Speaker 2:

But then I think I offer them. Well, I really, again, depending on what type of service I'm providing trying to understand what they need. And if it's a coaching session, you know, do they need to figure out a problem that they're having with regards to their well-being, or why they can't, maybe why they can't do something? So, asking those questions about what they need and letting them find it with them from you know, within, if it's a like a group session, it's really interesting. I had a team that was having some friction not fighting, but just friction and we got to values and one cohort was very specific of having, you know, kindness and empathy and compassion, along with a lot of other great values, but the other team, those words didn't even come up. So just finding those things that can be more cohesive, just finding those things that can be more cohesive, and then, of course, with yoga, it's just really what the person needs that day, in that moment.

Speaker 1:

I know I've heard you talk about also being really innovative. So, for example, can you describe how you've helped the drivers? With a lot of people supporting yes the mission through driving, how have you helped them?

Speaker 2:

So with the drivers. The drivers have a special place in my heart because, kind of in the hierarchy of an organization, sadly the drivers are at the bottom and I wish it would split, because if we didn't have drivers we wouldn't get anywhere to help anyone. And drivers, you know they have to get up early, they have to make sure the cars are ready and cleaned and be on time, and traffic is crazy, but they can only go, you know, thank goodness we have speed limits. At least within the organizations I work for, there's speed limits that they can go. And they constantly have like people, like I don't want to say yelling at them, but giving them a hard time go faster, stop here, do this.

Speaker 2:

And kind of going out of their realm, asked them what challenges that they were facing and then took that back to the teams and said, hey, this is what I've heard from the drivers as a collective, so we're not picking anyone out. We need to change our behavior because they're the ones who are keeping us safe. We don't want to get in an accident. They are taking care of your life every day. So, a, giving the drivers a voice and then, B, sharing exercises with them. I created a video series. They actually took home and shared it with their families. So then I get these cute videos of the whole family doing a forward fold or something. I did all those things, but I think the most important thing was giving them a voice and being heard, like it was the first time they were heard, which I think is really important.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so important. There's such a sense, I think, around our wellbeing programs that they get targeted at certain groups of people and not everyone in the organization, and sometimes communities like drivers, just get left behind and yet, as you say, you know, particularly in the situation you're in, without them people can't, presumably, do their jobs, they can't get down to the camps, they can't go about their daily lives. So working on their wellbeing and also their sense of value and purpose is just so fundamental. And I guess I make the connection to all of us about thinking that we put wellbeing in a box of something. This is what we think wellbeing is, but actually it's about the whole person. It's about the wellbeing of the job that I do, it's about how I do it, it's about how I'm respected and valued in the organization, it's the whole picture, not just whether I get taught mindfulness. It's all about me and how well I am at work.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, and I think sometimes it's just as simple as asking of like are you okay? Yeah, and being present, and it's not a coaching session. It's literally you're walking through the compound and you see someone and say are you okay?

Speaker 1:

great, and we'll do that today we can do all, yes so, alongside that, you're also coaching leaders in the humanitarian sector and it would be great to hear a bit about what are the specific needs that people who are leading in these incredibly high pressure, high risk caring professions. Uh, what are their needs? How do you support them?

Speaker 2:

yes. So I think kind of back to that pressure cooker situation. There's just all these things coming at people all the time and I think in this industry a lot of people have been given leadership roles without a lot of experience. There's so much work to be done and, I think, supporting them, some of the questions that come up with my clients are how do I empower my team more? How do I trust my team, how do I get my team to get along? How do I be a better leader in all of this? And then also, just to be honest, in all of this, and then also just to be honest, I have a really stinker of a boss. How do I manage up, keep my career intact and navigate this situation? So it's really interesting.

Speaker 2:

And then, of course, there's always the topics on burnout, and burnout is really big in the humanitarian sector. Several clients working with that are not working in burnout and trying to come out, and that's a really challenging situation. And I think, too, leaders sometimes just need a space just to. You know, as a coach, I'm not offering suggestions. You know, I'm a well-trained coach. I was taught not to do that. However, sometimes people just need to come and just talk and it's okay to ask as they just start kind of rambling for a better word in the beginning of the session, what's going to serve you today? Is there a situation you would like to solve, or do you need to get something off your chest? And I think that's okay. If that's what they need in a coaching session and you ask them insightful questions, then I would say nine times out of ten, they feel so much better at the end of the coaching session, which is a form of another form of well-being for them.

Speaker 1:

yeah, I mean, what strikes me from what you're saying is that the challenges they're facing are incredibly similar to other leadership challenges, except they're in a kind of high pressure setting, I believe, and probably don't have easy access to other leadership developments because they're often in the field. So they're doing that. But one of the things I'm really curious about is how do you support them around boundaries? Because I'm imagining I don't know this, but I imagine that people go into this type of work because they want to make a difference and the size of the job, particularly where you are at the moment, is enormous. How do you support them to protect themselves from burnout? How do you help them in that?

Speaker 2:

Boundaries. Well, we could talk about that for about two hours. But in short, I think when people come to this industry they come with the heart, right, they heart, they want to help people, so they just want to give it all. And sadly, organizations and managers and people, if someone wants to give a lot, they'll just keep taking. And I think very recently we've just started talking about boundaries in the workplace. But actually I have one client who I'm working with right now.

Speaker 2:

She hadn't had dinner with her children in like three months and she came to me. The whole purpose of finding a coach was to figure out how she could have dinner with her children in like three months. And she came to me. That was actually the whole purpose of finding a coach was to figure out how she could have dinner with her children. And that's how far deep into burnout she was is because she could not figure out how to do that.

Speaker 2:

So we start talking and then she finally decided because she's in a very senior leadership role she's going to leave her laptop at the office, which I mean, and if you're not in burnout and you're just listening to this, you're like, well, duh, of course you're just going to leave your laptop at the office, but when you're so in it and people's lives I mean people's lives really do matter. Like you know, if there's a fire in the camp at 10 pm, somebody has to respond. You know you can't just not answer your phone. So she announced to her office that she was going to leave her laptop at home, but if there was an emergency she would call, call anytime. She would pick up the phone and be there, and, and for three weeks now she's been able to not only have dinner with her children but prepare dinner for her children and have with them.

Speaker 2:

Because she did that and, yes, has she received some calls? Of course, however, it was just as easy as leaving the laptop, which I know just sounds so easy, but when you're in it you just can't. I mean, it took two sessions. It took, you know, an hour and 20 minutes and two weeks of reflection time for her to come to that decision on her own.

Speaker 1:

It's almost like I imagine a terrible pull, a fear that if I do that something terrible might happen, and yet actually she has to do that in order to take care of herself or we have to do that. But the other thing that strikes me about this actually is that it's about decisions, that we can all make decisions to put boundaries around our working lives, and we feel there's incredible pressure, usually from the organization. The pressure and the situations you're in is coming from the service that you're providing. But actually we can make those choices to put boundaries around. We can say I'm not looking at my work emails after 7 pm or 6 pm what would be reasonable and I'm leaving it.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to be with my family or I'm going to go and do some exercise or take care of myself and my loved ones in my relationships, and we can all do that we can if people where you are, we can order exactly we can and I think that kind of if I may go back to the leadership is one of the biggest things about leadership is succession planning and having like building up your teams so you can go on lead you.

Speaker 2:

You know we are an R&R duty station so that means every eight weeks we go on a rest break and so many humanitarians I know they take their laptop, they answer their calls but that's not getting rest. You should, if you have the ability, have succession planning so you can trust your teams and let them do the jobs that they know how to do. So you can trust your teams and and let them do the jobs that they know how to do, so you can get a rest and then they can go on a rest and that will serve everyone else so much better yeah, and also my thing that I always talk about is that you're then helping them grow and develop so that they can also step up, and that when we're constantly on, we don't empower people to actually have that growth opportunity.

Speaker 1:

One of my favourite phrases is if you're not delegating, you're not developing, and I think we could shift delegation from delegation to developing. People is a key in that. I love that. Just to sort of finish this piece about the humanitarian sector, there will be some people listening who are thinking I wonder if I could have a career in the humanitarian sector. How do people go about having a career in this world?

Speaker 2:

So I think there's a couple of different ways. I guess now today there are degrees in humanitarian development, so maybe you want to get a master's degree in humanitarian development. They'll probably be a practicum where you can volunteer or go to work. So that's one option. Option two is, if you, maybe, if you're from the US, you could go apply to the Peace Corps, and most countries have a version of what the United States has as the Peace Corps. So that is a great way and I've met so many lovely volunteers from all over the world here in Cox's Bazaar who've come that way.

Speaker 2:

And then if there is a crisis so let's say, if there was a typhoon or a fire or something and you're a doctor or a nurse or you've got, maybe, logistics experience a lot of INGOs not the UN agencies, but a lot of the INGOs will take short-term volunteers.

Speaker 1:

So that's a really good way to get into this industry as well, right, yeah, there's a wonderful organization in the UK called VSO, voluntary Service Overseas, and you can apply and volunteer through that to do service as well. Amazing, amazing. We're going to segue a bit, but just before we do that, one of the very specific things about this life and I live this too because I live away from my home is that people, many people, who are expats, are living outside of their home and living in different conditions. And I'm curious about, in the life that you've lived, that you're living now, how do you go about creating that sense of home and safety and pleasure from where you're living?

Speaker 2:

Sure, so I think this actually has a little bit of a well-being element too, I'm sure. So here in Cox's Bazaar we live in an apartment. A lot of people live in apartments. There's a lot of long-term hotel stays, and some people do live in a one or two room hotel with a bathroom and a little balcony and don't have maybe anything hanging on the wall, and every eight weeks when they leave, they pack up their stuff and give it to the front desk and check out and then come back.

Speaker 2:

We can't live that life. So we have really embraced this part of the world, either decorated or just found. I found an organization in Bangladesh. It's really amazing. They have like 90,000 women working in textiles making a living wage and they make these beautiful baskets. So I bought these baskets for my office and they just bring me joy. Or I found someone who delivers orchids, which, when I asked at all the flower shops in town they're like shops is a stretch flower stands, just bringing things in that bring joy. Or cooking. I shop at a wet market. However, I can get lots of nice vegetables. I wash all the vegetables and we can make delicious vegetarian dishes, and so I think it's just finding joy in the little things. So, like right now, as I'm looking at Eugene, I'm looking out and I have this beautiful orchid behind my laptop and I'm looking at the ocean. So you know that is some joy for me yeah, that's fantastic.

Speaker 2:

There's something about just creating home and joy where we are in that environment it's really important because I think when you've had that really stressful day of coming home to someplace, that's again your space. That's quiet, where you can be calm. It calms your nervous system down. It's just so important.

Speaker 1:

Thank you.

Speaker 2:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

Let's talk about yoga Because that's been a feature of your life since you left your corporate life and you are chief yoga officer. But I know you're not a typical yoga instructor, so people like me you know, everybody who knows me would look at me and say, yeah, that's not a yoga body, but your way of being with yoga and teaching yoga is very different, inclusive, I would say. Could you share a bit about that?

Speaker 2:

Sure. So first of all, I'm really sorry you feel that maybe someone shared with you that they looked at you and you don't have a yoga body. I have experienced that my whole life and it's just horrible. When I truly was a full-time yoga teacher and own my own studio and people asked what I did and they would look at me and be like, well, you don't look like a yoga teacher, I'd be like, well, what does a yoga teacher look like? So I think those conversations have really impacted how I've taught yoga.

Speaker 2:

In addition to some education I took early on in my yoga career, I took this great program at Duke University in North Carolina. I think it was called Integrative Yoga for Seniors, which the title is terrible because you can be 60 and fall and break your hip, or you can be 16 and be skiing and break your hip and it's the same movement. So, with that said, I really kind of went out of my way to teach. If I'm teaching a group class, like I teach here in Cox's Bazaar, I get all these different people. I mean, I have my regulars, but people come and go and I don't get to know all their injuries. So teaching like a slow flow, standing practice, or I'm not necessarily standing, but like, really focused on balance and strength and not handstands Not that there's anything wrong with handstands, but not in this practice, because I don't want anyone getting hurt here.

Speaker 2:

But I think the people that I'm most attracted to or that are most attracted to my way of teaching is with my private clients, and my private clients just vary so much. So currently I have a gentleman who was diagnosed with MS last year in his fifties, not doing yoga. He's an ex-rugby player just quite devastated by this diagnosis and he's like I need some help, like I can't stand, and so we started with a seated practice and then within six months he's standing on one leg Now, in a doorframe, mind you. So there's lots of support, so he's not going to fall. But for me it's like finding really interesting ways that allow him to practice and get stronger, and I'm really excited to share that. He called me this week. He just had his year MRI follow-up and the MS had not spread and the doctors were just like I don't know what you've been doing, but keep doing it, because this is amazing. We've never seen this before.

Speaker 2:

And then you know, I've had other clients maybe who would never come to group class because of the shape of their body or the size of their body and maybe never be in what we call traditional yoga poses. So I love to figure out ways for people to do traditional yoga poses that look different. So, for example, I was like can we, you know, what do you think about? Maybe some triangle pose, you know, kind of like we're leaning forward, like that's not going to fall over. I'm not going to do that. And I'm like let's go to the kitchen.

Speaker 2:

She's like, okay, I'm like now put your bottom and back against the sink. And she's like, okay. And I'm like now get in a stance, now put your arm in the sink, in the wash basin. And she's like what? And I'm like now lean forward. And she's like oh my gosh, I'm in triangle pose. I'm like you are. And so it's just I know it just sounds completely crazy, but she felt a stretch in her body she hadn't felt in almost 30 years, which was just amazing for me. It's being safe, it's being slow and it's just really finding the right position, like for each person. It's just really magical when those things happen and I just get such great satisfaction. So all of my private yoga clients. None of them do yoga, they don't like yoga and they're all type a personalities and and they can't get enough. So it's really quite funny yeah, amazing, it's amazing.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for sharing that because it's such an inspiration. I think it's an inspiration for me to think that the stereotype we don't have to live within the stereotypes of things, we can work with it in ourselves. So we're drawing to a close. I wonder if there's a book or a podcast, or a book and a podcast that you particularly enjoy, that you'd share sure.

Speaker 2:

So, um, in terms of books, I really love the Ikigai book because it's just for me, um, something you're good at, something you love, something the world needs and something to earn a living. So I think that just really encompasses what I'm trying to do, because I love what I do and I think it's so important. And regards to a podcast, this might OK. This is going to be related to my work. I'm really kind of in love with the New Heights podcast those crazy NFL brothers in the United States. They are just so silly and I just need a good laugh every day to keep everything together. So they just bring me so much silly joy.

Speaker 1:

They're part of your well-being practice. By the sounds of it, it's part of my well-being practice.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, great, amazing, amazing. Yeah, great, amazing, amazing. Fitzy, thank you so much, uh, for for joining me and joining us today. One of the things that I hear in everything that you're doing is this um, unique, compassionate, person-centered approach to whatever the work is that we're doing. So, whether we're working in wellbeing or we're coaching, or we're doing yoga or we're living wherever we're living, it's about finding the person inside that situation and helping them to be their best selves in that moment, and I love that you are doing this in amazing settings and places where people really need you to be doing it and for people who need you to be doing it. So thank you so much for sharing your story and your journey with us today.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, Jean. I really enjoyed our time together today.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for joining this episode of Making Sense of Work. If you enjoyed it, please go and subscribe, rate and review. If you have a topic you'd like me to explore in the podcast, please follow the show notes and send me a message.

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