Anna Cavallaro ’21 enriches herself with the philosophy and health benefits of prenatal yoga at Akasha Yoga in Jackson Hole, WY

My name is Anna Cavallaro, I am an incoming junior and a politics major. This summer I am interning for Akasha Yoga in Jackson Hole Wyoming. Akasha Yoga, from a distance is simply a yoga studio, but when you get a little closer and get to know the various instructors, it becomes so much more. Akasha Yoga is owned and run by a woman named Neesha Zollinger. Neesha has extensive background in ballet and has been teaching yoga for over 20 years. She has an extremely impressive yoga resume and has been lucky enough to teach all over the world. Neesha is also my boss and the person I work closest to. Like many yoga instructors, she is kind and compassionate, yet I believe, and others would agree, that she has a gift. The way she teaches brings new awareness to the mind and body that can usually not be achieved without the guidance of a very skilled teacher. Neesha knows that she has this gift and it is her mission to use it to do as much good in the world as she can. Because of who my boss is, and the way that she chooses to exist in the world, I would consider myself to be extremely fortunate to work alongside her, soaking in whatever knowledge I can.

Throughout the summer I have been doing an extensive variety of tasks, projects, and jobs all at Akasha Yoga. I would describe my internship as being half business related and half more directly pertaining to the actual practice of yoga. This would include, the health benefits, the philosophy, the many variations of poses depending on who has a knee injury, who is pregnant, and who is new to yoga. On the business side of the internship, I am mostly doing a lot of marketing, event planning, and social media. I entirely control the studio’s instagram account and facebook account and I have been creating instructor highlights and bios, promoting classes and events, and sharing yoga inspiration. Slightly later on in the summer I also learned how to edit and update the Akasha Yoga website as well as Neesha’s own personal website. I previously had minimal exposure to the world of website design, and cultivating several skills in that field will be beneficial to a multitude of jobs I may someday have. I have also been in charge of creating and organizing events. The first summer event that Akasha Yoga held, was a summer solstice lawn yoga celebration. The Lawn Yoga event was half party and half outdoor yoga class. The goal of the event was to further engage the community and bring new people to the studio. It also served as a fundraiser for a mural that we are hoping to paint on the side of the studio. The event was successful and despite the chilly temperatures of a Jackson Hole solstice, many people showed up to support the studio. The second event is called Barefoot Boogie. Barefoot Boogie is essentially an evening dance party, taught by two instructors with dance backgrounds. Similar to Lawn Yoga, it is a fundraiser that is hoping to bring in more future yogis. For both of these events, as well as other things going on in the studio, I have been making flyers, sending emails, posting on various social media accounts, and creating as much excitement and awareness about the event as possible. The final noteworthy part of my internship, the part that will be most meaningful, is the research I have been able to do on prenatal health. I sought an internship that would allow me to do even the slightest bit of work in the realm of prenatal health. Neesha happens to have taught many pre and postnatal yoga classes and has been wonderful for letting me pursue this interest. One of the more interesting things I have learned is how to flip a breech baby through various yoga poses. A pregnant woman came into class and told Neesha and I that her baby was facing sideways and she wanted advice. To my surprise Neesha told me to look into it and send her my notes and findings.  I spent days reading about underwater handstands and the important and complex nature of choosing the correct sequence of poses. It was a fascinating research project and I only hope to do so much more. Overall this summer has been a whirlwind of new skills and I am looking forward to where it will someday take me.

Experiences like Anna Cavallaro’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Mitzy Rodriguez

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