When yoga comes to mind, most think of relaxation, calmness, or perhaps twisting the body into unnatural positions. Yet when Sheila Habacker was becoming certified as a yoga teacher, she heard of a way she could serve others through teaching yoga. She is one of many who volunteer with Small World Yoga to offer yoga to those who may not otherwise be exposed to it.

As Sheila says, she does what she can do. She chooses to lead two classes, one every other week at Oasis Center and another at Rolling Hills Hospital. Not only did her gifts match their needs, but the people served by both locations hold meaning for her. Today she teaches yoga to at-risk youth at Oasis Center and patients recovering from chemical dependency at Rolling Hills Hospital.

These classes are different than those with paying members. Each class brings new people to Sheila. “I don’t know if they ever think about it again or not. But, I hope it gives them a tool to create ways to relieve stress in their body and mind. To help them let go of something.” It is especially meaningful to her when a newcomer says at the end of class, “I feel so much better. . . It doesn’t seem like we did that much, but it really helped me.”

Yoga has special meaning to Sheila. She had previously had a bone marrow transplant, and yoga proved helpful in her recovery. Soon after, she wanted to thank the many people who had been a part of her journey. Yet, she wondered how she could express her gratitude to so many. She saw volunteering as her way to give back, and Small World Yoga was her opportunity. Not everyone can teach yoga, but many have special talents or interests. She says “it comes to down to identifying (how the volunteer) can be the most authentically helpful to people.” Additionally, “when you can give in a way that means something to you,” it is meaningful to both the volunteer and those receiving the services. Furthermore, she recommends “All they have to do is share of themselves.”

Doing Good is a local 501c3 nonprofit which celebrates those who do good. For more information or to nominate someone for Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month, visit DoingGood.tv.

Megan McInnis,  Executive Director, www.doinggood.tv 

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