I hadn’t intended on such a long pause between episodes, but we have been encased in ice here in Portland, and the entire city shut down for several weeks. Ooof! We are back at it though, and I have quite a bit of news to share in this show. We’ll begin with a check-in, then start a conversation about Body Politics in yoga. Thank you so much for listening.
- The time has come! Oh my gosh! The Wildcat Yoga Club is opening its doors next week. I have been holed up building the site, revisiting past practices and planning new events. If you haven’t already signed up for an invitation, do so by following this link– there will be special gifts, goodies and offers shared there first. ALSO, we have our first month’s events already on the calendar, and you won’t want to miss: meditation circle, active listening group and embodied voice group. These are real-time, online video (or voice) calls where we get to practice together! (Learn more here.)
- I have a self-care immersion launching on Yoga Anytime on February 14th! It’s a 10 day exploration of the deep self-care as practiced through the yamas and the niyamas of Patanjali’s yoga sutras: it is DEEEEEEEP. As always, you can try Yoga Anytime for 30 days free using the code MAGIC.
- I’m teaching at the Sedona Yoga Festival March 9-12th. I LOVE Sedona and am super-passionate about the workshops I’m teaching AND to be a part of the vision of this festival. There is a trauma-informed teacher training as part of the festival. CHECK IT OUT. My students receive 11% off ticket price by entering the code KELLY over at sedonayogafestival.com
- FINALLY, our spring immersion is already on my mind. I’m deep in the curriculum planning and getting so excited to explore the Bhagavad Gita with you. We’ll meet for 6 weeks in April and May. These immersions are just about my favorite thing. (ALSO, Wildcat Yoga Club members get a 15% discount.)
- FINALLY, I’m pregnant! A few of the retreats on my schedule are being shifted to attune to the new situation. I’m due in July, so our Sedona Retreat in October will be moved to a later date. My Portland retreats are shifting as well. Thanks for understanding!
You can download this episode to any device by clicking here.
The Body Reveals Everything
Martha Graham said, “The body never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul’s weather to all who can read it.”
And this we know to be one of those deep bone truths. Where the mouth says one thing, but the body knows otherwise, we know.
We say yes, when we mean no. The body knows. We say we’re okay, we’re not okay. The body knows.
And this is also true for yoga teachers, parents, guides of any sort, in our communications with others about the body. Parents whose self-talk creates an environment of body-shame, health care providers who can’t see beyond a number on the scale. Our words and our behavior reveal our own patterns and most secret beliefs.
People make assumptions about wellness, health, ambition, intelligence and even morality based on our Body Mass Index or our outer “conformity” with physical ideals.
So how does this show up in a yoga-asana class?
- Through physical manipulation of the body (where a teacher uses the hands to force a student’s body into a particular shape);
- Through the communication of attainment of a particular visual form as the aim of practice. Personally, I’ve been shamed and laughed at in yoga classes where I haven’t “done” the “peak pose” even after a teacher has begun class talking about how yoga is about more than just poses.
- By avoiding the conversation altogether when someone is working with an obvious (or even un-obvious, but known) difference or limitation. Ignoring it is the equivalent of ignoring the human being and a way of communicating “this practice is not for you.”
So what can we do?
Frequently return to the questions:
- Why do I practice yoga? and (for teachers) Why do I teach yoga?
- Is what I’m doing supporting my reason for practice? and (for teachers) Is what I’m offering supporting these aims?
- If you are a teacher, ask honestly “who is this for?” Are you teaching an all-levels class where safe options are lacking for the people in the room? Take an honest look at your sequences, language use and classroom management communicate preferences. Compare your vision of who you want the class to be for with who actually shows up and how they are supported when they show up.
- If you are a student, and the practices you are engaged with are not supporting your practice’s purpose? Make a change. Find new teachers. Find new methods. Make a change. If you’re not sure what to do, reach out and we can talk about it.
- If you are a teacher, and your offerings are at odds with your mission, then evolve. Educate yourself. Study yourself. Be truly honest about your motivations and the environment you are creating with your offerings. Just because you’ve always done things a certain way, doesn’t mean you have to continue once you have a realization. Your capacity and ability to change will inspire students who want to make changes in their own lives.
What we do is who we are becoming. Make it resonate. Live your practice.
I’d love to hear from you about your experiences with both supportive and un-supportive environments, especially in yoga classes. What works for you? What doesn’t work? Please share your story.
What is coming up in your practice these days? Do tell. Where are you hoping our next retreat will be? What are your questions and thoughts about practice moving into the new season? Share! I love hearing from everyone in the community and can’t wait to connect even MORE.
Keep in touch. Stay close. I love you, and I love hearing from you.