I finished the Warriors at Ease training on 11/17/10. My intent was to start volunteering yoga and meditation services with veterans and their families. Although I have taught many classes and given many private yoga therapy sessions, working with veterans would be new to me. I grew up in the military until I was in 9th grade but did not have much direct exposure to veterans. I am hoping this all will lead to an opportunity to manage a yoga and meditation program within the Long Beach V.A. Hospital and beyond. I can envision great and wonderful healing opportunities for many.
In December I contacted by phone someone in the Mental Health Department on a local base that I had met along the way. I prepared several presentation folders and as we walked around the base he introduced me to people in the family support organizations and the person in charge of recreation. I left folders with them and followed up with them by e-mail and phone. Nothing has materialized directly from this effort yet.
On 1/5/11 I went to the Long Beach V.A. Hospital with presentation folders in hand and I walked around the hospital, talking to people about what I wanted to do and giving them a folder. I had decided before going what departments I wanted to speak with and then I wandered around the hospital finding them. I stopped in on the Departments of Women’s Mental Health, PTSD, Inpatient Mental Health, Outpatient Mental Health, the Veterans Support office, Volunteering and the Chaplain’s office. I wasn’t able to speak with anyone in charge of the departments, but left information and collected business cards for those in charge. I was there for about 4 hours.
When I arrived home I was exhausted–that was a lot of “pressing the flesh” for an introvert! I sent a personalized e-mail to each person whose office I visited that day, letting them know I left a folder for them and letting them know that I wanted to serve in a voluntary capacity providing yoga and meditation to those who have directly served our country. My subject line for the e-mails was Yoga and Meditation for Vets.
I received a call the next day from the Lori Katz, Ph.D., the Director of Women’s Mental Health. Synchronistically, she was looking for someone to provide a movement modality once a week for a 10 week program that was scheduled to start in 3 weeks. The person previously providing these services was unavailable. Additionally, Dr. Katz has been practicing yoga for many years and provides a beautiful holistic healing opportunity for women. She has had a psych intern do a research pro,ject regarding yoga for clients of the Women’s Mental Health Department.
Since then I have completed teaching yoga as part of that 10 week program and it was helpful to the ladies and a great foot in the door for me.
In the meantime, the opportunity to teach yoga at a substance abuse outpatient program has been solidified. I start this Thursday. Luz Machado who oversees this program heard about me through the networking of others who received my presentation folders in January.
I am waiting for 2 other departments to get back with me on their schedule. I let these departments and Luz’s know that I was available 2 days a week. These departments, with whom I left folders in January, are coordinating their schedules.
In addition, I was asked by Dr. Katz to work with her on a proposal, which we have started, to provide clinical trials of meditation practices for treating PTSD. This opportunity is so exciting, honoring, and important! I am so excited!
Pam Pence, MBA
Certified Yoga Therapist
Certified Yoga Instructor, RYT-500 hours