July 11, 2008

Svaroopa!

During yoga teacher training, we spent some time on ethics. We talked about various ethical aspects of yoga practice (yamas, niyamas, etc.) but also some real world situations that yoga teachers might encounter. Our teacher tossed out some hypotheticals (drawn from her own years of practice, teaching, and running a studio) and we were given a chance to talk it out. You have a student who draws you into long private consults after every practice - what do you do? A student has a problem with body odor and other students are complaining - what next? You get the idea. Each of us got a question, and a chance to provide our insights, before the question was opened up to the group.

"Jude" she asks when it was my turn "You're opening your own studio that would be competing with the one you are teaching at....would it be right to talk it up during your classes, or collect email addresses from your students while you are teaching?"

My response got a big laugh. "Well, if I were planning to open a studio, I'd be sure to have hacked into your computer to get your mailing list and student database, so I would not need to solicit student emails" Helluva big laugh. Of COURSE I would not be fishing for students while I was employed by someone else.

However, my response must have planted a seed regarding my abilities in the area of nefarious database collection. Yesterday at the studio, I was tasked with building a database of local yoga teachers to use for a mailing list. I found an online listing of teachers - a public list on an industry wide certification website, but one that was not particularly mailing list friendly, one would think deliberately so. However some simple, targeted directory searches, some cut-n-paste magic from the browser to Excel, and some spreadsheet wizardry to mine and clean up the data, and we had a list of 3000+ yoga teachers for the Northeast (NY and New England).

So I spent the afternoon giggling to myself at how efficient at doing that kind of work, and at particularly creative and effective string functions to separate last name from first name, or city, state, and zip. It took maybe 90 minutes, start to finish. Pretty amazing, if I do say so myself.

Within the contact data (name / address / phone), each teacher's registration level and specialty was listed. So I got to see a good a sampling of yoga specialties: hatha, vinyasa, Bikram, Baptiste, Forrest, Viniyoga, Kripalu, etc. My favorite, just in terms of language - Svaroopa. Such a fun word. I spent all afternoon just randomly saying the word!

Svaroopa!

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