Month: November 2015

InstaED

I have recently became a part of the Instagram world. At first I joined reluctantly, I am not a big social media fan. I am content with a Facebook (sometimes) and an email. When I made the decision to become a “big girl” and more business oriented I made an Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. I actually enjoy Instagram. Who would have thought? It is nice to just post pictures. No drama, no political opinions, just people posting pictures of their dogs, dancing, yoga, and other oddities of their/your daily life. Fantastic! I got down with that. It then occurred to me that as a yoga professional, while not a rule but it seems to be understated, “yoga selfies” are to be part of your account….really? I thought I was doing good just to post fun yoga philosophy and positivity quotes with my kombucha.

The whole “yoga selfie” movement is one I struggle with daily. I look over my Insta feed and I see all these amazing poses. These thin, toned, beautiful yogini’s-wearing next to nothing- or strong, muscular, yogi’s doing insane arm balances (hello eight-angle pose, and pincha on your elbows, and other poses that make me scratch my head). I begin to feel inadequate. I can’t do some of those poses. I don’t practice certain poses (if it feels bad I don’t do it). I don’t wear the fancy expensive yoga clothes, and I definitely don’t pose half clothed. On the flip side, I also follow lots of bigger yogini’s and I am amazed at what they do too. They can do postures I can’t do. Most of them are so confident with their bodies they don’t wear much clothing either. And again here I am just stuck in the middle like WTF?

I see the thin girls and feel bad about myself. I see the bigger women and feel bad about myself. The thin toned girls make me not want to eat. They make me want to work out more, maybe even push myself into those crazy poses that hurt me. The bigger women make me think “why can’t I feel that good about myself? They wear bathing suits why can’t I?”. Or I am little and I have no place because being naturally petite lumps me into the thin privilege realm. I CAN’T WIN. Can we also talk about how ALL their selfies look amazing. Perfectly timed, gorgeous sunsets and sunrises, hair in all the right places, perfect angles. They even have the perfect yoga space in their house.

Melvin ( my ED for the new readers), speaks to me all the time. Even subconsciously. It all starts with the long gaze and intense study of the pictures. Then the thoughts come. Then comes his greatest tool, self-pity and self-loathing. His words of “you aren’t worthy”, “you are not gonna inspire anyone”, “how can you teach yoga when you don’t look like that?”, “you can’t do that posture or look good on Instagram and that is why no one comes to your studio” etc…I begin to believe. I begin to contemplate not eating. I begin to contemplate over exercising. My depression and anxiety kick in. The out of control feeling begins sets in like when I am doing Pilates Roll-Overs on the Reformer. So what do I do? I continue with my yoga selfies because that is what I am suppose to do as a yoga professional…

My pictures and videos are all wonky. You can definitely tell I can take my own pictures and that I try really hard to get in the frame. Most of the time I make a fun yoga quip about the horrendousness that is my yoga selfie. I have said on more than one occasion, “taking yoga selfies is just like yoga practice, you got to practice it”. I try to present myself as real as possible. My videos always have my dog, I wear gym shorts, I am open about how I practice and what I don’t practice. I am known to use props (which I LOVE them, #propitup), that I don’t do much asana, and I spend more time on the other seven limbs. My flows aren’t perfect. I stumble. I am me. As much as I try to make them perfect, I always present them imperfectly. Why? Because it goes against Melvin. I think about those people who want imperfection, a yoga teacher who is like them. A teacher who doesn’t wear $100 yoga pants and parade around half naked (Even though I am overtly critical about what I look like *cough do I look thin enough cough*). A teacher who openly shares her yoga struggle because yoga reveals her pain and anger. A teacher who isn’t afraid to say “I don’t know” or recommend another teacher.  A teacher who doesn’t do hot yoga (even though all my classes are hot because you are in it), and loves teaching beginners. A teacher who lets you talk in class and makes jokes. A teacher who lets you be you because she is learning how to be herself.

*if you do want to follow me on Instagram and see not only my yoga selfie fails, but my incredibly cute puppy, #dogiwinston, follow me @downtownyogaknox. *

 

 

 

 

Cowardly Lions

“Courage cannot exist in isolation. Just as a flower needs sun, air, soil, and water to bloom, your courage depends on your interdependence with people and things. You must contemplate deeply to understand that when you do what is possible, you are not in free fall, but are cradled by your interdependence with the world around you. For example, you may decide to marry or to have a child, quit a job, risk an investment, explore your emotional past, or sign up to go back to college after many years’ absence. Your work is to distinguish what is important enough to require your commitment and what is not worthy of your courage. You can rest assure that when you act from true courage, the people, the tools, and your own inner knowing needed for the heroine’s journey will be available to you.” Living Your Yoga, by Judith Lasater, page43-44

Courage. I cannot help but think of the Cowardly Lion when I hear the word courage. Courage is all the Lion wanted, but he was so “cowardly” that he wanted someone else to give it to him, to help him find it, almost gift it in a way. It wasn’t till he was protecting Dorothy from the Wicked Witch that he realized that he had courage all along. As Oz pointed out, all he had to do was look within. How many times do we think we lack courage? How many times do we feel so small or meek that we can’t see our own power or potential? How many times do we shy away from opportunities because we tell ourselves that “we cannot do this”, “it is too risky”, “I will fail”, “insert other self-deprecating comment”? Probably more than we would like to admit. I know I do…

Recently I made a HUGE leap of faith, stepped out on a risk, went out of my comfort zone…I opened a yoga studio. Having my own studio was a dream that I didn’t think was possible at this point in my life. Certain things begin to open up and the idea of having my own space was starting to become real. At first I kept backing out, being scared. I am not a risk taker in shape or fashion and I do not like failing (huge fear of failure complex here). You can say I was lacking the courage to step out on my own. Lacking the courage to take this risk, the courage to follow my dream with abandon.

I have an amazing husband who helps me to take risks and step out on courage. With his help and support I walked out on my bridge of courage. It may have been a little rickety, like those rickety old bridges in fairy tales that cross a swamp, but nonetheless I started my journey across that bridge. I signed a rental agreement. I choose colors for the walls. I wrote a mission statement. I even opened up multiple social media accounts and put my phone number out in the public (I like to think of myself as very Ron Swanson when it comes to public information). My husband was the Oz to my Cowardly Lion. Showing me that I have the courage and strength within me. He constantly illuminates my courage. Each day I have to walk that bridge of courage as I operate my studio. There are days I am shaky, I think I don’t have any courage left, but I just have to illuminate myself like my husband does. Lift my head up high, straightforward gaze on the other end of the bridge and walk. Walk to the other side…

Do you see yourself as a Cowardly Lion? Do you run away when opportunity presents it self? Do you believe you are not worthy and keep living in fear? Do you think you have no courage? You do! All you have to do is look deep within and you will find it. When you find your courage you will see that life changes. Your point of view changes. The obstacle in your way suddenly becomes less scary. It even seems feasible! And you didn’t even need a Glenda or a Toto, though dogs do make better…

So how can you be courageous today? What is the one thing that you need to be strong to face? Just remember you are strong. You are courageous. You are not a cowardly lion.