Update time!

Here’s just a quick update video. If you don’t watch my videos, then this won’t effect you, though you could get a heads up as to things happening in the future! In addition to what I say in the video, I forgot to mention that I’ll be making a channel trailer, which you can only see on my YouTube channel! Be sure to subscribe if you’re interested in seeing that this week or next!

Creating a Safe Yoga Space | Yoga Advice

When it comes to yoga classes, different things bother different people. Different teaching style work for different people. Different communities work for… you get it. That means that there are thing you can do to ensure you find a class that makes you feel safe and comfortable and things you can do to help maintain that comfort.

Everyone is going to classes for different reasons and with different intentions, but being in a public space like a studio can come with some concerns. Practicing something that is so much about silence and vulnerability means that we all need to be extra respectful. It isn’t so hard, but let me just give you the run down on how you can find and create a safe and comfortable place for everyone involved!

 

  • Finding the studio

    First off, you should be searching for an instructor and a studio, which make you comfortable. Walking into your studio should be a positive experiences, so this could even mean not going to a studio because the drive there sucks.
    Don’t be afraid to go to a different studio or to see different instructors either. We all understand that you need to find your perfect fit, plus seeing multiple instructors is a really good idea. As an instructor, we get it and we do it too! We also understand that even if we don’t agree with other teachers, you might be getting a better class from them for whatever reason.

    On top of that, you want to make sure your instructor isn’t a really bad and unethical instructor. They should be respectful of you and your space and ask before touching you. (Often instructors forget, or think only asking once is enough, so feel free to remind us if you wish we would ask more or tell us if you’re uncomfortable with what we do. It’s all good.)
    If an instructor is particularly creepy or doing anything super illegal, tell the studio owner! That studio surely has potential, but a bad instructor is the last thing they want. Owners need to know who is having trouble with instructors and they should take it very seriously. (You can also always tell other instructors, or if it’s REALLY bad, contact the authorities.)

  • Communicate

    Just because you found an awesome instructor, doesn’t mean they can read your mind! (Or maybe they can and haven’t told us yet.) Either way, don’t be afraid to approach them! They’re there for your health and safety. We want you to have a good time! Tell us what’s on your mind, say hi every time you walk in, anything. We may be busy before class and may not have time to chat, but if it’s very important you tell us something, then we will listen!

    If you’re concerned about a pose, tell us.
    If a student is making you uncomfortable, tell us.
    If you have a medical condition, TELL US!
    I cannot stress enough how important it is that you tell us if you have a medical condition. Even if you’re not sure if it’s related, or will impact anything, don’t be afraid to tell us. We also might not know much about the condition, so if you’re open to helping us understand and learn, we DEFINITELY want to know.
    Your medical conditions, if you have any, should be the first thing out of your mouth after, “Hi, my name is ___” when you are joining a class for the first time. Take the time to help the teacher get to know you if this is your first class with them. Like I said, we may be busy, but this is important information for us. We will listen

    Note: If you are taking a class at a community college, your instructor may not expect an introduction with just your name. Often they do a roll call or something along those lines. They DO still need to know if you have a medical condition though. 

  • Complaints about you

    I know this sucks to think about, but it’s possible there will be complaints about you. Not likely at all, BARELY likely. Let’s just start with the worse case scenario and work our way up.
    If you get kicked out, stay out. Yeah, it really sucks, but they’ll probably tell you while, and it’s best to just accept it and leave. There are tons of studios and instructors out there, you can find a new one where you fit in better.

    That being said, before you even get kicked out, someone will approach you with the concern or problem (unless you do something heinous…) Listen to those concerns. Usually they’re easy fixes. The most common complaint I’ve heard is about people wearing perfumes. You don’t need to stop buying scented soaps and deodorants, but avoid cologne, perfume, scented lotions, and things like that. If your deodorant is super scented, perhaps put it on well before going to class, so that it has time to wear off a little bit.
    I’ve also heard complaints about the opposite, people not wearing deodorant. Sometimes you can’t help your natural smell, but please try to shower at least the night before class.

  • What you can do

    Yoga etiquette is a real thing, it’s also very easy and most of it you probably could have figured it out. I’ll go over a few here in a moment, but here’s a really basic list of what to expect from ABC of Yoga.
    Next up, check out studio rules. They may have them posted on their website, or in their studio. There’s a good chance they’re 90% basic yoga etiquette, but you never know if they need to make a new addition for any reason.
    Lastly, your instructor might have their own rules too, though usually those are exactly the same as the aforementioned.

    Some rules I want to emphasize are:
    1) Respect other’s space.
    This could also be written as respecting another’s mat. Unless invited, you should avoid walking, standing, or using another person’s mat. Once I was sitting on my mat before class and two ladies stopped to stand on my mat and talk to each other. I wasn’t even part of the conversation. RUDE!
    2) Avoid talking during class.
    Easy peasy. Don’t talk to your neighbors. Though some teachers are find with speaking out of turn, and the occasional comment to your friend MIGHT be okay. 9/10, don’t. People are there to learn from the instructor, so you should be too.
    If you need the instructor’s attention, you can speak to them or say “excuse me” or whatever, or raise your hand if they’re like 5 miles away on the other side of the room and you don’t want to yell.
    3) Avoid looking at other students.
    It happens, you glance at each other, you’re across from each other, what can you do. But you can often avert your eyes down a little or close your eyes. You don’t want a student to feel like you’re staring at them. If you need to look at someone for help with a pose, try to look at the instructor.

  • Listen
    It’s especially rude to take over the instructor…
    Also, you should do what the instructor says, it’s distracting if you start doing your own poses/workout in the middle of a class. Don’t. Just… don’t…
    If you can’t do what the instructor says, you can tell them, or quietly take a child’s pose or any other resting pose the instructor has advised for the class.

    One thing I forgot to mention in the video, is please do not act like an expert in a class. If you don’t like what the instructor is saying, you shouldn’t be in their class. Even if you are an instructor or have been to India, they probably have a good idea of their own teaching style. Unless you’re literally Indian, don’t correct a pronunciation of a word either. (As an Indian, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people try to correct an instructor with an equally wrong pronunciation. I often also accept mispronunciations because it can be hard to understand a teacher who can rattle off the names in perfect Sanskrit.)

  • Take care of yourself

    It’s really important you take care of yourself in all of this. So don’t feel pressured to do anything. Most instructors will strongly encourage you to try new poses, but they’ll never force you.

    Finally, while you should be respectful to everyone, everyone should be respectful to you and each other as well.

    Namaste!

Self-Esteem | Yoga’s Positive Effect

I mean seriously, have you seen me? Not only am I hot, I know I’m hot! That seems a bit more like vanity than high self-esteem…

In all reality, yoga does have amazing benefits on self-esteem. There are actual studies people have done on this, it’s awesome! Like really science people! They probably even have lab coats.

 

I hate to break it to you, but you aren’t perfect. It’s OK though. Yoga teaches us that. By learning our limitations and even learning about ourselves, we learn to accept our imperfections. Perhaps you’ll never have your hips squared off “perfectly” in Warrior II. Maybe your knees will never touch the ground in cobblers pose. It’s fine, that’s the way your body is built. That’s actually the trick to loving yourself and having high self-esteem. It’s not about being flawless, it’s bout owning those flaws!
It also teaches us that the outward appearance of out bodies dictates nothing. Sometimes larger bodied people can fold into the most advanced poses, sometimes thin bodies can’t. Being skilled at anything has nothing to do with your looks. We learn not to judge ourselves. In fact, we can learn to love ourselves.

We are also taught to not be competitive. On occasion, competition is a good thing, like in the business world, the Olympics, and Monopoly. However, yoga gives us time to stop being competitive, even with ourselves. We strive to be better and see improvement, but we don’t need to compete. You get my drift? Competing with yourself is definitely better than competing with other people, but you can really get down on yourself if you hit a plateau or aren’t seeing improvement like you wanted.
(Note: If you are facing a plateau and are getting down on yourself, check out my post about Discouragement and getting back into yoga!)
This gives us the tool to switch off our competitive nature. Like I said, it isn’t always bad, so we don’t need that trait to be gone, but there are times in our lives that it isn’t healthy or helpful. Once you figure it out, you can stop competing with other people and look at yourself in a positive way. Rather than losing a beauty contest, which only exists in your head, you are your own person and they are their own person.

Now you can also stop thinking. This gives us the opportunity to be worry free. Though this likely takes the most time and patience in comparison to other reasons in this post, it is very true when it finally happens. If you are having a bad day, yoga gives us the tools to stop judging ourselves and others. We are able to stop thinking negative thoughts. This applies to a lot of things, but in this context, we stop thinking about what we feel is a flaw. Plus we’ve already learned that imperfection is OK, so now we can stop thinking about it if it starts bugging us at all, until we are ready to accept it again.

If you don’t think you can accept your imperfections or stop thinking about them, you will likely be forced to face them. You will also be forced to be vulnerable with them around other people too, if you take a class. Yoga isn’t all that glitz and glamour Instagram makes it out to be. It’s a lot of sweat, fat rolls, and, let’s face it, embarrassing poses. Yes, even the thinnest and strongest of yogis suffers through all of these. We accept that they happen, to ALL of us. And on top of all of these things we all go through, we all have our own weirdness we’re forced to face.
You may simply not like your butt, well, my friend, you are about to stick that think proudly in the air in Downward Facing Dog. Don’t like how your arms jiggle? Too bad! They’re getting sent up to the sky for everyone to see! Think Happy Baby is embarrassing? Well… you’re about to expose your (probably) covered genitals to the entire class.
It’s fun though! Especially these embarrassing poses. Everyone has fun, everyone laughs, and everyone accepts that it’s OK together.

After being forced to do a series of poses, you’ll find everyone is different and everyone is happy you’re there. People are welcoming and happy to see you as you, not as “arm flaps”. Everyone has a goal of sorts too, but they are usually different from one another. One person is dealing with an injury, another is going through weight-loss, and someone else is working through grief. So you’re all working through something together anyway, even if you don’t know what it is.
On top of this, everyone in the class will probably look different. You get all sorts of shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. So your “weirdness” that you’re afraid of, is totally fine to everyone else.

Let’s be real though, while you’re accepting you are wonderful and attractive, you’re also strengthening your body. You may actually be changing how you look, so you could even start looking more how you want. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to change how you look, you just shouldn’t hate yourself in the process.

Even though we lean out and can be toned, we start to trust that there is more to us than looks. Our strength is more that what we appear to be. Besides, few people can really obtain and maintain a six-pack, without rigorous and strict exercise and diet. Your muscle definition is rarely indicative of how strong or useful your muscles are.

Finally, yoga combats depression and anxiety, which can be root causes or side-effects of low self-esteem. As you raise yourself up out of depression, you’ll find yourself feeling better about yourself as well.

You are worthy of your own love!

Yoga for a Stressful Day | Short Routine | Easy Yoga

I know, I know. I said I wouldn’t post the routines here, but I realized it takes no time to post them. So you get the videos, but I’m too lazy to type out the whole routine.

I’ve been having a jam packed week, and there surely have to be other people out there who are suffering as well! Let’s take a few minutes to work it out.

Reasons Why NOT To Do Yoga

Okay, so I lie in the video and say that this will be up the same day as the video. I’m only like… 48 hours late though, at least I’m in the same week! I promise to TRY to get these posts out a lot more, especially since they used to really help me organize my thoughts. So here’s to trying?

Without further ado, here are a number of reasons you shouldn’t be doing yoga!

  1. Contradictions

I meant this in the medical sense. If you don’t know what that is, I don’t blame you. We throw that word around and never define it for you. It’s pretty much a medical condition that may limit your poses, or make certain poses a bad idea.

There are a whole long LIST of these, ranging from injuries, like knee injuries, back injuries, Carpal Tunnel, etc. To diseases, pregnancy, and old age. So on, and so forth. Pretty much anyone, and everyone probably, suffers from a contradiction. Mine is that I have bad hips, so I can’t do Half-Moon Pose.

Even low blood pressure and eye injuries have contradictions. We generally suggest you avoid any and ALL inversions. Yes, even Downward Facing Dog.

While these may not limit ALL yoga poses, with the exception of things like paralysis, you may find that you feel so limited that it just isn’t worth it.

If you are paralyzed, or have a lot of issues with a lot of poses, keep in mind there are other aspects of yoga you can still enjoy, like meditation and lifestyle.

2. You only want to be flexible

If this is your sole reason for doing yoga, you’re probably going to hurt yourself OR be in for a rude awakening.

While flexibility is part of yoga, it isn’t the only reason to practice. In fact, it’s not even the biggest reason. It’s at least on par with strengthening. Yoga is also wonderful for healing injuries, increasing mobility in old age, and has a crazy amount of mental and emotional benefits. You might as well commit to all of them!

3. You want to show off

Wow, you’re already good at that pose, cool. Not. No one in a class is likely paying attention to you, and if you’re trying to attract attention, you’re disrupting the class! Showing off isn’t cool anywhere, except for dog shows and the Olympics.

Going to a yoga class is also supposed to harbor a non-competitive and non-judgement community. By going to show off, you’re going against these ideals.

You also are likely not reaping the benefits you could be from pushing yourself in more advances classes, or by going deeper in the pose, OR even focusing more inward on your mind and balance.

The students are there to listen to the instructor, not watch you show off.

4. To hit on/check out people

There’s a really common joke that men like to go to yoga classes to check out women. Luckily, it appears that joke is going out of style.

But there are still people who talk about that kind of stuff. It’s not cool. Don’t do it. If you think you can be lazy and ogle people, you’re not just going to get your butt kicked by yoga, but also get your butt kicked OUT of class!

By doing this, you’re violating a trust and disrupting a safe space that has been created for people who want to be there for yoga, community, whatever. You’re essentially preying on people’s vulnerability.

Plus it’s totally non-consensual. I can assure you that no one wants you to be staring at their butt, unless they’re there to show off, which is also a bad reason to be there.

Note: If you are there for yoga and really hit it off with someone, ask them out! There’s nothing wrong with it. If you’re scared of seeming creepy, just remember it’s best to do it in public, so maybe while you’re all rolling up your mats after class, or walking to your car. Also, accept “no” as an answer. Rejections happen.

5. You just don’t want to

Yes, I believe you can not do yoga because you just don’t want to. You could be the coolest, least creepy, non-show off, totally perfect health, and still not want to do yoga.

If it’s not for you, it’s not for you! I’m a pretty firm believer that there’s a type of yoga out there that just about anyone can enjoy, but you’ve clearly got better things to do!

 

Namaste!