I responded to an ad for a fitness instructor, I had no idea what would happen next.
In early July 2017, I was perusing online advertisements for fitness instructor positions here in the Bay Area. I do this to get a feel for what’s happening in the industry and see if there are any openings that fit my schedule and passions. I work full time in Marketing, so have limited availability and energies. One jumped out at me, they were looking for someone to be a movement leader for a community night that incorporates movement, mindfulness, nutrition, and community. I sent my resume in and moved on with my day. 15 minutes later I had an email response from Liz Markle, the co-founder of Open Source Wellness saying that she wanted to meet and have me join the group that evening to see what the program was all about. Open Source Wellness meets Tuesday evenings from 6 PM -8 PM at The Prevention Institute (221 Oak St, Oakland, CA).
Open Source Wellness
Right away when I walked in the door I was greeted and walked through the registration process. It was very quick and simple. Then I was approached by other attendees and facilitators and brought into the conversation about what brought us to the event that evening. At no point did I feel like I was alone or left behind, that is something I experience at times and it’s uncomfortable.
The group that moves together, supports together.
At 6pm Liz brought the group of about 30 of us into a circle for introductions and overview of the flow of the evening. She led us through a movement warm up, some movement games and a cool down. The college interns assisted with the groups for the games. It was a lot of fun and a great way to get to meet the other attendees.
How deeply could I relax?
After about 25 min of movement, we were led in a guided meditation back in the circle (chairs or on the floor) for about 10 minutes. John, who leads this session asked the question, “How deeply can you relax?”. Turns
out I could relax pretty well in only a few minutes, it felt amazing to connect my mind and breath with body sensations. It was over before I knew it! My body and my mind were feeling pretty good and the smells coming from the adjoining kitchen area were fantastic. John leads the “BE” mindfulness coaching group. He will help you “relax your ass off”.
Nourishing the body
Next came the introduction to our “made with love” meal prepared by, Fekida and Erin, who are co-owners of Mandela Food Co-Op. The meals served each Tuesday night are Vegan and each dish is comprised of seasonal, simple ingredients. Before eating we are educated about each dish and how it supports our health. Some weeks the meal is created by Sonya and Glo of The V List. I have yet to go hungry at an event and often can’t finish everything on my plate, the options are fabulous. I’m an omnivore and a bit picky when it comes to eating my veggies, I’m getting my horizons expanded quite a bit and have added a few of the recipes to my home meal rotation.
Connecting makes my world go around
While eating dinner we were grouped at tables with a facilitator who guided the conversation and made sure that everyone could participate. Rather than having isolated small conversations we were encouraged to stay connected to the group interaction. I really enjoyed listening to the discussion and participating as it felt appropriate. As dinner concluded, each table joined in the celebratory process of washing the dishes and cleaning up. The music came back on and the fun casual chatter moved us along as we contributed to putting things away. None of it felt like a chore and we traded roles often to make sure everything was attended to.
At 8 PM the attendees were gracefully and happily sent on their way home, the facilitation team invited me to stay and be part of their closing group. We shared our gratitude and favorite moments for the evening as well as touched on any issues that may need more attention. I knew that I wanted to be part of what this group was offering, in whatever way my skill set provided.
My contribution to Open Source Wellness
The following week I jumped right in with leading the group movement, creating a space for expression, silliness, and discovery of the joy of moving the body. I am now also a coach for MOVE, the small group intensive as part of Open Source Wellness’s new 4 week intensives series. We just wrapped up our first 4 weeks of deepening our understanding of our movement goals, beliefs about the role it plays in our life, and tracking our mood in relationship to moving our bodies. One of the participants in the MOVE group shared that their relationship with movement shifted toward participating in activities where they felt playful and truly enjoyed them. Previously, they sought out movement in a compulsive way as a distraction from other emotions. This participant mentioned how the group provided a structure to utilize the skills and tools they learned from previous self work.
If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and would love to transform your health. Payment is based on income (Starts at $30/4 weeks), we believe this should be accessible to everyone. You can also drop in any week and experience it with no commitment. As a warning, you may leave with several new friends and a strong desire to participate again.
Are you ready to see if a change is on the horizon? Join us August 8th @ 6PM for your moment that changes your life.