Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

All my life I have been lead to help others. From a very young age I was going to nursing homes to volunteer and visit with seniors. I wish I could tell you why but I truly don’t know. What I do know is that I believe beyond physical care so many need emotional support and the need to be seen.

Some 30 years later is isn’t a surprise to me that I teach yoga and meditation full time. We have a word we close classes with “Namaste” which means “I see you”.

I teach all over the community in the Washington, DC area. The environment is tough, the culture is always changing and scared; so many reasons for people here to be on guard. I work blocks from the White House and there are always protests and sometimes reasons that streets have to be shut down.

Yet in my small way I’m trying to teach those the tools of compassion, love and awareness. When my class is over I suggest to the students to look around at the community and quietly say “Namaste” or “I see you”. Just to have them make eye contact with each other is important. Because it would be quite easy for them to just get up, leave and be stuck in their minds with their own problems. Some of my corporate clients have come from various government areas, nonprofits and executives. Additionally I teach at rehabs for those with eating disorders and addictions. So many I work with often feel quite alone and depressed.

Our culture around this area likes to use words like stress and anxiety but many are forgetting that a way to help this isn’t from avoidance or blame but from sharing, being with community and kindness.

As I have learned the butterfly effect is powerful; that the wings of the butterfly can be felt far away. Therefore I’ve been doing this for over 10 years and my next steps are my reasons for returning to school for a masters in yoga therapy; where I can work in more healthcare places to offer for experience and keep expanding to those I can help who are hurting and suffering to see various alternatives to their care.

Linda Paige from Virginia