Posted

Wellness – Yoga, Sleep and the Work

Yoga

I have been a part of the YIS yoga club for about 3 years now 🙂 It was an on-off relationship during my first year because I was always skeptic of its benefits but during the last 2 years, yoga has been a very important part of my life in terms of my physical and emotional well-being (i.e; managing my stress levels, increasing productivity, and improving flexibility). I go to class every Thursday after school and each session lasts between 45 minutes to an hour.

Physical Well-Being

I joined yoga in 9th grade in hopes to improve my flexibility. Being a dancer, flexibility for me is something that I need to constantly work on and maintain. I do ballet and contemporary dance, both which require lots of flexibility especially in the hips and in the arch of my feet. With the help of yoga, I am able to work on both these areas. A lot of the poses we practice in yoga requires to open our hips such as the “happy baby” and the “pigeon“. These poses in particular allow us to loosen the tightest areas in our hips and I find these the most effective out of all. I now incorporate these poses into my regular warm up routines before ballet to warm up my hips for kicks and straddles.

Some of the poses we practice in yoga also require some flexibility in the first place and these allow myself to use and maintain my flexibility just as much as I do in dance. The “Cow Face Pose” in my opinion requires a lot of flexibility in the hips and is one pose I face the most challenge with in yoga. It wasn’t until recently that I really started to realise that yoga and dance complement each other perfectly 🙂

Emotional and Mental Well-Being

I feel and notice most of the benefits of practicing yoga once the session is over and I am at home ready to start my homework for the night. I think the majority thinks that yoga switches off our brain and body entirely but I think this is only true during the activity. Yoga actually provides me with the energy I need for the rest of the night – I feel more awake, more productive and more perseverant. It puts me in the mood to prioritize homework and chores whilst days without yoga is completely the opposite. Something about yoga turns on my productivity-switch 🙂
I like to think it has something to do with the mindset we practice during our yoga sessions – the calm, quiet, worry-free mindset that our instructor encourages us. We learn to rid and avoid distractions and when we do get distracted, we are told to acknowledge the thought and gently let it drift away like a leaf on a river. I think I subconsciously take this mindset with me back home and subconsciously maintain it for the rest of the night and that’s what helps me to complete my homework and ignore the things that often distract me.

Yoga also allows me to practice mindfulness in the midst of a hectic day. My days usually consist of worry and fear and MORE worry and some days it’s manageable, some days it drains all my energy out. I would be lying if I say that yoga has made these days a lot less hectic. But I genuinely think that it has allowed me to acknowledge these types of days and tell myself that “it’s all going to be okay” 🙂 During our yoga sessions, the most important thing we are taught to practice is our breathing and to focus on our breathing. During every pose, our instructor reminds us to whisper to ourselves “now I breathe in, now I breathe out” for every inhale and exhale we take. During days where I need a break from my fears and worries, I think to myself; “now I breathe in, now I breathe out” and I’m able to instantly change my mindset, switch everything off entirely, let my worries drift away and focus entirely on my breathing 🙂

Other Stuff:

There are a few other things besides yoga that also help maintain / improve my emotional and physical well-being 🙂

Sleep Tracker

Last summer, I downloaded an app on my phone called “Sleep as Android” which tracks the amount of sleep I get as well as sensing my lightest and deepest sleep. I am still trying to figure out whether this app actually works and whether it does what it claims to do but so far, I’ve been really liking the way it wakes me up. The app features a built-in alarm clock that wakes me up during my lightest sleep (I only use this app during the weekend when I don’t have to worry about being late to school!). I find this super beneficial because I hate being waken up during my deepest sleep. I find it super unpleasant and I find that it negatively affects my productivity during the whole day.

Sleep is really important for me in order to maintain a positive attitude during the day and being able to track the length of my sleep and knowing whether I’m getting enough of those deep sleeps are super helpful. At the end of the week, I always go to the “overview” tab which allows me to look at my sleep patterns during the course of the entire week / month and this is really helpful because I play around with my homework and study schedules according to how much sleep I get on certain days.

The Work

A few months ago my school counsellor, who I’ve been working with since October of 2016, introduced me to “The Work” by Katie Byron. It is “a process of inquiry that teaches you to identify and question the thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world.”. It consists of four questions to ask yourself when you are having difficulties ridding a constant negative thought that circles your mind.

The Questions:


Lastly, it asks for a “turnaround”. You are required to try and flip the negative statement around in however way you can and want to, to change it into a positive one 🙂

The work’s helped me a lot to rid those “all up in the head” kind of negative thoughts that always use to eat my confidence away. Spending even just 5 minutes of my day asking myself these questions helps me work towards and maintain a positive outlook on life and they really teach me that most of my negative thoughts are really just ones that I make up myself and are truly things that I don’t have to worry about at all 🙂

I’m really proud of myself for constantly trying to find ways to look after my well-being and am also really thankful for everyone that is part of my life who help me find ways to manage my stress and take care of myself.

 

 

Internship at the Ritz Carlton, Bangalore

Description:

I am interested in pursuing a career in the hospitality industry, and so I thought it would be a good idea for me to get some experience one summer once I was old enough to work in certain countries, so that I’d gain some exposure and experience, but also some firsthand knowledge about the hospitality industry. I applied for an operational internship at the Ritz Carlton Bangalore, which was also the first Ritz Carlton in India. I worked for five weeks (3 days off) and split my time in Front Office and in F&B (Food & Beverage). It was an unforgettable experience, and the knowledge and experience I gained were very valuable, especially because I had the chance to work with Managers who had considerable talent and experience. I was the youngest employee ever that the hotel had ever had, since internships during high school were extremely rare and unheard of. This meant the majority of my colleagues were 7-30 years older than me and were able to provide me with constructive criticism and advice.

Learning Outcomes:

Awareness of Strengths and Areas for Growth

In Front Office and in F&B, I discovered that one considerable strength I had was the ability to be able to talk and converse with guests very easily. Especially other nationality guests (German, English, Japanese) as I would know a few phrases in their language and usually have at least one friend from their country. Furthermore, I wasn’t nervous about talking to guests, and they were quite open with me, possibly because they could tell I was much younger, which meant sometimes my colleagues urged me to get feedback from guests since I learned to anticipate guest needs well.
Another strength I had was I was able to remember a lot of what was being taught to me, especially in Front Office when I was taught the majority of functions in applications such as Opera and Mystique. I was expected to use these applications within a few days of learning them and malfunctions would have been a disaster, and so I strived to practice multiple times everything I was taught to ensure I would remember it. The amount of information and details I had to learn were at first astonishing to me. By the end of my first three weeks, I had been able to give three tours to guests looking to host events when Guest Services was busy with a Dell conference. I had crammed enough that my supervisors felt confident about allowing me to show guests around.
Some areas for me to grow in which stuck out to me especially were in F&B. At times my lack of physical strength was an obstacle to overcome when I was expected to carry 40-50 heavy plates at once. Going back and forth with 10 plates was what I would have to do sometimes, and this made my work not as efficient as it could have been. I managed to overcome a part of this obstacle by using my right hand to hold the edge of the salvar while balancing it on my left hand so I could hold considerably heavier stuff than before while retaining balance and looking professional. Another obstacle I had to overcome in F&B was efficiency. Being brought up in Japan with a slight Japanese mentality, I’ve grown very used to feeling the need for precision. For instance, it would take me at least 5 minutes longer to fold up 10 napkins (book style) than a colleague because I would be obsessed with fitting the creases just right and making sure the edges were folded perfectly. I would need to instead find a balance between precision and speed when working practical jobs.

Undertaking New Challenges and Working Collaboratively

I pushed a lot of boundaries by working in an environment with only adults, in a working environment I was unfamiliar with. Though the hotel was very much at the standard of a Ritz Carlton Hotel, aside from the guests, I mainly interacted with only Indian staff and admin, and so there was a slight difference in environment that I had to adapt to. Furthermore, I had to learn how to network considerably. As even though it was my parents’ contact that helped me with applying for an internship, it was my responsibility to make the most of my job and network. I did this by researching a lot (on LinkedIn) about the experience and skills of a lot of the Managers and workers at the hotel. It was easier then, for me to talk with them, get their advice, and ask for assistance if I needed to once I knew them better. This in turn became helpful as when I needed recommendation or a SWAT analysis, they knew me well enough to provide constructive feedback. F&B allowed me especially to work collaboratively. While my entire internship consisted of learning and having many colleagues teaching me alongside doing their jobs, the majority of collaboration happened in F&B. For instance, when I was working in events, Aishwarya (a fellow intern just out of university) and I split the work so that she would cover clearing the plates in the left wing, while I would refill coffee in the right wing and polish champagne flutes in the pantry. This was essential in banquets which became very hectic and chaotic once lunch or dinner began, with clearance being essential.

Showing Perseverance and Commitment

I was working during my summer vacation but the job provided me with absolutely no time to slack off. I was treated like an another employee and was expected to work the same amount of time as well. I worked 9 hours a day, though as is the case in the hospitality industry, hours were sometimes unpredictable and I would have to stay an hour or so longer until closing up. Usually I would do the 9 am – 6 pm shift, but in F&B this changed and varied depending on occupancy rate, number or workers, etc. Sometimes I would do the 11 am – 8:30 pm shift if I was working at the Ritz Carlton Bar that particular day. Similarly I would start earlier if I was working at the Club Lounge. I had very few days off (3 days in total) for a period of 5 weeks and this could sometimes be exhausting, especially in the middle of two IB years, however the experience I was gaining, the fun I was having, and the amazing colleagues I met were worth it.

Developing New Skills

It would be impossible for me to come close to listing all the things I learned during my internship. So I shall just list the biggest parts of Front Office and F&B

Front Office
-Learn how to answer/transfer/page a phone call from a guest/employee/third party inquiry
-Opera and Mystique full understanding
-Learning how to place and deliver a wake up call
-Learning to 7 wonders of the Club Lounge
-Understanding the welcoming of a guest and Guest Service amenities
-Understanding the Ritz Carlton three steps of service
-Learning the types of rooms (features, area, introducing, floor numbers)
-Understanding the structure/design/amenities of all the rooms
-Understanding the Rewards Program
-Learning how to deliver/order newspaper
-How to place an order for in room dining
-Welcoming a guest and dealing with a complaint/feedback/suggestion
-Understanding the architectural features of the Ritz Carlton Hotel
-Understanding how to Check in/ Check out a guest
-Understanding room rates, occupancy rate, arrivals for the day
-How to use Go Concierge
-And much more

Food and Beverage Service
-Telephone handling Procedures
-Restaurant Concept and Layout (of all 6 outlets)
-Restaurant Timings and Inquiries
-Menu/Buffet Understanding
-How to handle a guest complaint.feedback/suggestion
-How to set a table cover
-How to pick up restaurant linen
-How to carry plates, flutes, etc
-Preparation for morning and afternoon tea
-How to seat a guest in a restaurant
-How to operate a Coffee machine
-How to serve water, tea, coffee
-How to take an order
-How to serve a pre-plated dish
-How to preform clearance on a guest table
-How to serve wine by glass
-How to make basic bar beverages
-How to confirm guest satisfaction
-Understanding Banquet spaces
-How to setup the banquet space for an event
-How to read a BEO
-How to take an In Room Dining order
-How to setup in Room Dining tray
-How to enter a guest room
-How to explain an order

Below are some photos and letters from my internship:

Inter-Cultural Communication

Please listen to the audio post of my reflection here:

There is something that I’d like to add. I’m fascinated by the way that language works, and so being around various types of languages is something that I truly appreciate in my daily life, and I hope that in the future I still try keep Japanese and my other languages in my life.

Here is a snapshot of my Duolingo account.

My Duolingo Homepage

I had the chance to reflect further in this reflective conversation with my GCD Coordinator:

Tag Wrangling

Please listen to the audio reflection below:

An official description of Tag Wrangling from the website is:

“Sorts and organizes tags on the Archive of Our Own according to the Archive’s Tag Wrangling guidelines, linking related tags together for better filtering and searching, while allowing users to tag their works however they prefer.”

Solving A Problem With A Character Tag With A Co-Wrangler

Working With A Co-Wrangler About A Problem With A Relationship Tag

Part Of The Intermediate Stage Of Learning How To Wrangle

My Current Homepage Of The Fandoms That I Wrangle

The GCD on CIS Perspectives

We were invited to be the first guest writers on the Council of International Schools’ Perspectives Blog.

screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-11-17-54-am

Global Coordinator, Damien Pitter, wrote the following article summarizing the presentations made at the CIS Symposia on Intercultural Learning in London in January 2016 and in Hong Kong in March 2016:

The Global Citizen Diploma and the Rest of the Story: Discovering the Value of a Narrative Credential for Students, Schools and Universities