The final part of our week long series about the generous coaches and teachers who have been offering free classes and support online. Thank you to everyone! You can find them all via https://www.facebook.com/groups/MajorcaMallorca
Evelyn Sztojanov, Personal Fitness and Wellness Coach and founder of SIMPLIFYT
VMc:What is your motivation for doing what you are doing?
ES: I’ve felt a calling to make a positive difference in other people’s lives since I was a child. Certifying as a life coach 15 years ago I realised that through my vision for potential I have a gift in accompanying people through NLP and mental - emotional training on their quest to bring out the best of themselves. Then in 2014 as I was coming off a C-level job that had me to work 16 hour workdays and virtually live in hotels, I wanted to get fit. And realised that nothing that was on offer at the time spoke to me. So I certified as a personal trainer and created a contemporary studio concept that provides personalised fitness sessions, coaching and nutritional support to people in a boutique studio setting, at within reach prices.
VMc: How are you coping with the lockdown?
ES: I’m doing great. With the start of the lockdown I decided to realise a dream long since due and take my business online. Our Personal Fitness platform with weekly fresh videos is at simplifyt.mykajabi.com - I’ve made access free during the entire duration of the lockdown. I do anywhere between 6-10 personalised classes a day and that gives me plenty of energy, connecting with our members. I’m also really excited about having been able to create a platform to accompany people with their training throughout the lockdown.
VMc: What have you learnt about yourself and other people during this period?
ES: That our capacity to change is way beyond what we think. I took up freediving a couple years ago and my coach used to say that when we think we’re out of air, we’ve still only used about 60% of our reserves. I think that number works for situations when faced with adversity as well. These times are immensely trying for everyone. It’s okay to feel scared, down, exhausted, uncertain and it’s totally okay to not have a vision for your future. But know this: if anything, you are like a seed of a grand tree. Even if you might not see it just yet, you already carry within you the master plan of a thriving, fulfilled life.
Natasha Wakefield, Eden Energy Medicine Clinical Practitioner, Spring Forest Qigong
VMc: How did you get into what you are doing?
NW: I have been very sensitive since I can remember. I found it very painful to be around unhappy people, I didn't have the resources then to know I was an empath. People just thought I was weird and "from another planet". I suffered from chronic back pain, stomach spasms, clinical depression and panic attacks. After the loss of my mother and then my father I started to find ways to pursue alternative healing professionally. Now I have grown to understand through my own spiritual practices, that my passion is not to help people but to rather teach them to help themselves. Thus empower them to be happy in any way it is meaningful to them. Because they CAN be.
VMc: How are you and your family coping with the lockdown?
NW: The obvious pluses are time spent with the family without the crazy schedules and the time to take care of my home. I enjoy the fact that my daughter doesn't have to get up at 6 am and we don't need to drag her heavy rucksack through the centre of Palma for 30 minutes to get to school. Instead she can sleep in and do all her online homework at her own pace. It has definitely freed up my time in the morning to be more creative and to finally move forward with my long time desire to give free Facebook live classes teaching simple methods of Energy Medicine and Qigong to support people in the present isolation. The big downside is of course not being able to spend regular time in nature, where I recharge and rest fully, and to walk my daily hour walks. It is hard on the body. It is hard to be in a city apartment on a 4th floor without a garden. It is hard on the four animals we have as well. On the dogs for the obvious reason and on the cats because they are sick and tired of having us home 24/7! It is hard to go outside as well, without feeling you are in a war zone with masks and gloves and fear on people's faces and in their energy bodies. It is definitely triggering flight and fight, which is not the best way to keep your immune system strong to keep the virus away. Also to know that there are so many people suffering, the ones who are sick, the ones who hold the front for us out there, the ones who are locked in tiny apartments without even balconies and with little kids at home. Not everyone has the luxury of having a big house with a garden and a pool. I walk the dogs in an area in Palma (Soledad Nord, Pere Garau) where I see people's washing and their little kids clothes hanging to dry on the rails of the dusty window shutters. My heart breaks for them. I feel grateful and blessed that we at least have a communal roof terrace to stretch our legs, get some sun and tend to the plants. I don't know what I would do without it.
Rachel Shuckburgh. Fitness Instructor, Pilates Teacher & Personal Trainer
VMc: Why did you get into what you are doing?
RS: From a young age I have been passionate about fitness and being active with a healthy body image. I know how important it is to keep up a fitness schedule and in lockdown I knew I had to stick to that, for myself and to help and inspire others too. Being more active and/or continuing exercise during these times truly has such great benefits both physically and mentally too.
VMc: What have you learnt about yourself and/or other people during this period?
RS: I have learned that connection is so important, which is why I wanted to continue doing my classes. No matter where we are in the world now, my regular studio clients and now new people are benefiting from being active, being together for that hour and doing something positive for ourselves.
VMc: Has the lockdown changed the way you do business? Will you offer more courses online or remotely now?
RS: I have really enjoyed doing my online classes and getting great feedback and lovely comments from people. It’s not only establishing a routine for myself but for other people too. Many people have donated too, which is lovely and I’m so thankful for people’s kindness at this time. www.facebook.com/SimplyPilatesPuertoDePollensa
Cathrine Theting Ohm, Coach, Conscious Breathing Instructor, Yoga and Meditation Teacher
VMc: What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?
CTO: I have always been working with people. I was a preschool teacher and I worked 11 years as an air hostess (cabin chief and supervisor) in Scandinavian Airlines and Norwegian Air Shuttle. I was curious about yoga and started practicing 15 years ago. In 2015 I signed up for yoga teacher training. Yoga, coaching, meditation and breathing are things that I feel are good for people’s health. I find joy in sharing something good and healthy. Tools that can make people feel better, tools that make people stronger both physically and mentally.
VMc: How are you doing?
CTO: I am coping quite well with the lock down even though all my income was taken away. I am struggling financially but I have taken this time to go deep within and really try to understand some of my reactions. Am I afraid sometimes? Do I fall into that dark pit of fear and anxiety? Yes I do but I get out of pretty fast using the tools I teach others. I live what I teach. It is a lifestyle for me, not just a job, it is a passion. I have learned how easy it is for a state to control its inhabitants and how easy it is to drive fear into people. Some people I see online and talk to are driven by fear and that is not a good place to be for anyone. It doesn’t serve us well and we will act in a way we usually would not. I have also learned that many people are very generous and people that I am connected to are very loving and supportive. I have learned that in difficult times many people show you their best sides, they are caring and that warms my heart. I am also amazed by the clapping every night and everything that is going on online to support people who are alone. I have also been forced to go out of my comfort zone. I had wanted to do online yoga but been too afraid to do it. Now I kind of was pushed into it and it wasn’t scary at all! I started my yoga studio not even a year ago and I have also been forced to rethink my strategies and to rethink how my future might look like. On a personal level this is a disaster but also a gift!
Julie Waller Teacher/Coach/Mindfulness teacher and ACT counsellor (Acceptance and Commitment Training)
VMc: How did you get into what you are doing?
JW: I have a passion for applied psychology and how can it help us all in our everyday lives. My first entry to this was a degree, then a post grad teaching A level Psychology, Sociology and Health and Social Care with Special Educational Needs. It soon became clear that many students suffered from stress, challenging home situations and the exams were not necessarily their main concern. I became a ‘super tutor’ looking after 120 students’ pastoral care per year, and helping them to love learning and find their inner strengths. I am motivated to help anyone who may feel marginalised, have low self-esteem or mental wealth issues. But my philosophy is to make myself redundant! If we truly have the power within us, I only need to help reveal it and then people ‘fly’ without me. That’s a great feeling!
VMc: What have you learnt about yourself/and or others during the lockdown?
JW: Just how resilient human beings are. I constantly see this in my work on an individual and small scale, but Facebook groups that have sprung up and blogs/news feeds consistently reflect the creativity and ingenuity of people and the humour of course. The power of technology also shows how talented so many people are in many different ways. We must always watch our language – language becomes the reality. There is a difference between naming this as a “crisis” or a “global challenge” for example. The first leads our brains to negativity and potential panic; the latter sets the brain into problem solving mode. One may drain our energy, one fires us up. We will overcome, we are resilient people and together we are formidable.
VMc: Have you had to change how you operate?
JW: One new encounter has been advising a lady in Australia regarding job seeking and CVs. I never really thought of going global, but have thoroughly enjoyed working with her and this may change the course of future paid work. I will offer more remote services from now on as this has given me confidence using the technology.