When was the first time you became a caretaker?

“The first time I remember becoming a caretaker was when my grandmother lived with us after her heart attack. She had a quadruple bypass when I was 14 years old. She used to sleep in my brother’s bedroom, and my brother slept on the couch downstairs. She would need me to do things, so I would do her hair, her makeup just as a treat and take care of her fingernails and give her manicures. I would help with her breathing exercises that she needed to do. Once she was feeling better, she taught me how to cook some very good polish food. I loved her very much, and I certainly wanted her to live much longer time. She was 70 when she had her heart attack. She ended passing away at the age of 87, so I’d like to think I was a part of her recovery.

I felt like it was dutiful. It was like my duty to help her, but I didn’t resent it at all. It isn’t like I felt like she was overly demanding, or anything like that. I was the only granddaughter on that side of the family, so it was an opportunity to bond more. But then I found myself to become just more of a student of life until one day my yoga teacher she told me that I would do good to start teaching yoga. I did not have the required certification but I’ve been doing this for a year and a half, and I am a scientist, and I could figure this out. So, I thought my first yoga class at forest park community college. That’s probably the second time in my life where I became a caretaker towards people, which continued to becoming a SomaVeda Thai yoga teacher.

I was pretty shy growing up. I had lots of problems doing public speaking, just very nervous, and I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence regarding expressing my thoughts. The yoga teaching became a way to slowly become more and more extroverted but in the sense of caring for people making sure that they are doing their yoga pose properly, making sure that they are not going to injure themselves. There’s a level of observation and gentle communication that needs to occur, which also is a big lesson in life as well because people are not automatically going to understand what you tell them to do without having context. I stuck with it because it was so much fun and people would tell me “OHhh Maureen I feel so good after class,” and I said “alright, let’s do it!” and then, my next level for caring started when I became a SomaVeda Thai Yoga Practitioner. And that has been… understanding the boundaries where my clients issues end and the work I can do begins. Knowing that what I say and what I do is going to have some level of impact, a lot of it is the intention that I put into it. There is a lot of prayers and a lot of good wishful thinking that goes into my clients when I am working with them. 95% of the time they come out of it like “WOW, I do feel different, I’ve never felt this way before.” I always tell them “if you are doing the 7-day program with me, I am yours. Call me anytime, email me anytime, ask me a question and we will talk about it. I think a lot of people expect that my program is just bodywork. But it’s not really, it’s a nutrition re-education program and its also helping people understand the trappings of the modern medical system.”

~Maureen Hughes, Integrative Health and Wellness Specialist


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