Howâ€™s your posture right now?
Maybe hunched a bit over your screen, but straightening up now that Iâ€™ve asked?
Yep. Same. Itâ€™s one of the things a lot of us who work from home have in common these days: new physical habitsâ€”and the aches and pains that come with them.
Healing chronic pains through movement is at the core of business owner Carolyn Zimbaâ€™s work. Like other health and wellness businesses, her alignment-focused movement practice, , has run into some new challenges during the pandemic. But its healing mission is as relevant as ever.
Check out Carolynâ€™s experiences with building her business and adapting to running a hands-on business virtually during the pandemicâ€”plus, learn some moves to help alleviate those work-from-home posture pains!
Sarah: Can you tell us your entrepreneurial story, and what drew you to this particular type of health and wellness practice?
Carolyn: From a young age, I was always interested in sports and movement. I used to do capoeira and kickboxing at a great place near my work. The sensei suggested I try the yoga class thereâ€”I had no idea what yoga was then.
Fast forward ten years, and I took my first yoga teacher training in India. It was hard work on the body, but I loved every minute of it. I started teaching, then three years later, I went back to Rishikesh to do my 500-hour advanced training. Six years down the line in my teaching career, I realized what I was doing was something totally different to most teachers.
I don't teach yogaâ€”I reconnect people with their bodies. I do it through a mix of modalities: a little bit of personal training, pilates, the Alexander technique, some massage and assisted stretching, plus yoga poses. It has morphed into something I do intuitively to help people de-traumatize their bodies and offload emotional baggage. Itâ€™s truly transformational and a joy to see the changes in my clients.
S: Whatâ€™s been one of the most surprising and/or challenging things youâ€™ve learned about yourself while building your business?
C: Building a business is not easy, Marketing has been a real challenge for me, and I am still learning. These last several months have been a big change, having pivoted to online sessions from doing classes in gyms. I also created a new seven-week de-traumatize your body program. It's exciting because it means I can help people in a more in-depth way all across the globe. My last cohort was spread across India, America, Zambia and London.
S: Iâ€™m so curious about the way you categorize your work as â€śalignment and movement to de-traumatize your body.â€ť Could you break down that definition a little more? Like, what could a client expect on a typical session?
C: The focus is on making sure the physical body is optimized in its movement and that the posture is correct for the anatomy of the individual. Alignment can also be defined by spiritual alignment: Are you aligned in your life, work, play? I guide people to self-assess their lives. I encourage natural and easy movement in the body to dispel any chronic pain that people put up with for years.
S: How has your work with clients been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? And what's helped you to stay resilient and motivated?
C: I pride myself on excellent hands-on adjustments, so in the current times, Iâ€™ve had to adjust my teaching. My verbal instructions have become a lot more accurate, especially when it comes to my lefts and rights, since I canâ€™t adjust people in person. I have to be alert to people on screen in a whole new way.
My relationship with God has really helped me to stay resilient and motivated. I think I would be a lot more stressed and worried about the current state of affairs without that. Family and friends have also been amazing. Staying connected in the isolation was key for me.
S: So many more of us than usual have been working from home during the pandemic. Do you have any alignment and movement advice for entrepreneurs and the rest of us out here whoâ€™ve been sitting for several hours a day and working through a traumatic time?
C: The main thing is to keep moving. Sitting still or standing for long periods of time is really not good for the body. So changing position regularly is the key.
There is a really great popular time management technique that I have modified for movement:
Set a timer for 20 minutes.
When the timer goes off, stand up, raise your arms above your head, and have a big stretch. You can interlace the fingers and turn the palms away from the face while curving your back in a big stretch forward.
Then sit down and keep on working.
Do this twice in the hour.
On the third ring, walk away from your desk, take a loo break, get some waterâ€”you have five minutes. This allows the eyes to take a break from the screen and do a lot of blinking. (Eyes dry out because people donâ€™t blink as much as they should when staring at their screens.)
Then sit back down, carry on, and repeat this pattern throughout your workday.
If 20 minutes is too short of a time slot, you can do 30 minutes instead. However long you choose, focus on your work during that timeâ€”no distractions.
This technique means your body does not stick in one position. The human body was not built to sit still for eight hours a day.
S: Do you have any advice youâ€™d like to share with other Black women entrepreneurs?
C: Be authentic and true to yourself. There is so much material out there programming us into thinking we need to be a certain way, but actually we need to carve out our own way. We are each unique, so we have to walk our own path.
No one knows your dream better than you.
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