Yoga

I’m fat and I teach Yoga.

I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while and it isn’t one that I talk about. Weight is that one touchy subject for most people, especially if they weigh more than they’re supposed to, and even more so when you’re into yoga. Say what?! Yoga? That practice that makes sure people understand that they are acceptable and perfect just the way that you are?! How could you possibly have any kind of problem if you do yoga? Isn’t that the point? To take your problems away? Ideally, but it isn’t always the case.

The first time I did yoga it was with my best friend and a YouTube Video. When I started practicing it was to gain relief from the vigorous weigh lifting that I was participating in at the time. I was always stiff and wanted to get relief and stretch the muscles that I worked so hard building. I started my journey doing Yin style yoga. I needed the calm, long stretches, in order to make the gains I wanted in my weight lifting routines. The yin of my practice helped me find balance with the powerful vigorous yang style I was lifting. If nothing else, I am strong. I am also obese, or if it makes you more comfortable, fat.

Now that we have that out of the way, you will understand why it was intimidating the first time I walked into a live action yoga class. Can you imagine the looks on the faces of the very limber and thin yogi’s I practiced with the first time? I have always been a back row person, and I will always be one, but at that point it was for me to hide. I wasn’t really good at anything, since I was just starting my practice, but I was also determined. Yes, being the fat girl in the back of a yoga class was intimidating, and every time I go into a new studio I have the same thought “Please don’t let anyone notice.” News flash: They always notice! But it is empowering now, because people expect you to be one thing, and then you show them you’re another and they can no longer assume.

Why do you let the opinions of others bother you, you ask? Because it takes a LOT to get to the point where you ignore that kind of thing. Most days it is fine, other days it isn’t fine. Most days I am full of confidence and know I have the knowledge to succeed in my practice and the practice of others that I happen to teach. But teaching, being the fat yoga teacher, that is a different bag of tricks!

Talk about intimidating to step into the place of the teacher, and be the biggest person in the room. People think you don’t know anything, or that you can’t do anything, or that you can’t possibly be a yogi because you’re fat. That is because we spend so much time thinking that our weight defines us and determines who we are. We are conditioned as a society to shame and think terribly of people who are fat, no matter where we encounter them. I want to be the person that helps adjust the way people think and what people think yoga is supposed to be/look like.  I assume that when someone who has never taken a class with me before walks into the room and meets me as the teacher, the prejudice comes out. Why? Well, because that is what we’ve been taught to do. All yoga instructors can tie themselves into a knot and stand on their head, without the help of their hands, and must weigh less than 150 pounds, right? I mean, if you believe the internet then yes! But if you have the ability to think and experience things for yourself, then No.

If nothing else, as a yoga instructor I want to be able to influence others in the way they think and perceive what the shell of a yogi should be. Because that is simply what the fat I cary on my body is–a shell. It doesn’t tell you anything about me as a person. It doesn’t determine my value or skill level. It doesn’t effect you in any way, shape or form. I want people– fat or thin–to understand that you should accept people for who they are, instead of what you think they are. Give them a chance to explore what it is they have to offer the world, and let them do that without judging them. If you walk into a yoga class and the teacher is as big as two normal sized yogi’s, don’t underestimate them. I’ve seen some fat girls do some pretty impressive things!

Every single day I am thankful that I found a studio where I don’t feel judged or unappreciated because of my size. In my studio I’m not afraid of being the fat girl in the class. And if at all possible I hope to inspire other people who think they may not be able to do something to at least try. Cause you know if the fat girl can do it, you probably can too.

In closing, to all the fat girls in the back row of the yoga class, or the one at the head of the class teaching–you’re not alone. You are a spectacular being who deserves a place to celebrate the abilities that you have while not being judged for the things you can’t do yet (key word is YET). So, own your space on the mat and off. Own your body and your choices, and even though it seems impossible sometimes, ignore the negativity that others have for you. Yes, easier said than done as always. What if they stare? Stare back. What if they snicker and laugh at you? Honestly, if they want to make fun of you they will, but the beautiful thing is that the reason they make fun is because they don’t have the courage to do what you’re doing. They don’t understand the struggle of being the fat yogi or the fat instructor. And if they have time to sit and make fun of you, really they’re probably projecting their own view of themselves. We make fun of the things we don’t understand or that make us uncomfortable, and I can tell you right now that people get REAL uncomfortable when the fat girl isn’t afraid of being confident in herself.

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Happy 2018, y’all!

Oh man! How is it January 2018?! Where is the time going?!

Overall, had a lovely holiday break thus far. Tomorrow I go to the library to work on everything for my future classes. They start next Monday. Eek! I am also going to start writing my paper tomorrow as well, and get into my GRE study habit. 2018 is dedicated to my waist line and my future PhD. Woo! Big things gonna happen.

I’m going into the new year with a new attitude! Lots of positive love and thoughts for myself and others that I interact with. I’m excited to explore things with this attitude. I was reading my old facebook posts about the new year and I honestly keep telling myself the same thing. More love, especially for myself. And yet, I can honestly say that it has never happened. But this year, I’m hell bound and determined to have happiness and love and joy in my life. And, as you all are aware, that starts with me. Loving me for who I am right now in this moment. Discovering myself outside of my comfort zone, and learning to live. Living more than I ever have before. Adventures surrounded by hard work. What a year it will be!

Additionally, I’m turning 35. Officially my mid 30s. EEK! My first whole year as a yoga instructor. I was so humbled at my last class of 2017, 15 people showed up to share space and time on their mat with me. By far my largest class to date. It was so powerful, I didn’t even have space to put my mat down! So I was forced out of my comfort zone and had to teach with my words, and not my demonstration! It was a great challenge. And my boss was listening by the door and said that I did great! The students complimented me as well. It was a beautiful moment for me. 6 months into teaching and I have come off my mat. ❤

While my day today is going to revolve around food prep and preparing for my January Whole30 that starts tomorrow (so much wine to drink before then!) I am in such a happy place. My significant other has officially welcomed me into his life, I met his friends last night, and it was well received. Excited for my relationship to grow this year as well. I love him.

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Fall-ing into place

I love Autumn. Granted it is supposed to be 90 degrees today and tomorrow, but then down into the 70s. I’m excited about October. So busy! Lots of yoga to teach. I am growing my private client base and it is delightful. I have a lot on my plate in addition to work. I’m packing to move. Granted, I’ve packed a lot already! I’m weeding out things that I don’t have space for or the energy for anymore. Sometimes I sit and think, what would my life be like without this table. Fuck it. My life will be fine without the table, because it isn’t necessary. It was purchased 5 years ago for $5 at a yard sale. I think it has lived up to its responsibility. Things like that are what I am dealing with. I love purging all of this shit. I’m not going to let the past hold me back anymore. I’m leaving it by the dumpster (or giving it away) and I couldn’t be more excited to do it.

While i have plenty to worry about, I’m finding myself far less concerned about things that I could be freaking out about. Today I drew a card. The one I got was “Expectation” and basically suggested that I spend less energy worrying about expectations and just let life happen. It’s so true. There are some aspects of my life that I expected things to happen much different. These days I do my best not to worry about what it looks like or worry about pushing things so they go faster, but just waiting and anticipating less. Waiting and enjoying the moment. It’s such a serious blessing to have this time and all the life experiences.

And just like that, it all seems to be falling into place. Just. Like. That.

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Dedication

I just made myself a smoothie. Blueberries, mango, celery, basil, spinach, hemp seeds, honey, and almond milk. Blend blend for a delicious breakfast. The basil really makes it delightful and cooling. I was reading about the health benefits of basil. Lots of good stuff come out of this little herb, and it really tastes delicious in a predominantly veggie based smoothie. It adds its own sweetness.

So, dedication is a real thing. It is so hard to dedicate time to yourself for the benefit of health and wellness. My first coach said to write it down in your calendar. Schedule it, like you do everything else. It’s a great idea and worked well for me, and still does. I’ve had the same workout/exercise routine for a couple of years now. It was hard to get that routine down pat. It was hard to dedicate the time to making myself move, but I did it. I was paying for it, I will make time. So I did. The hard part for me now is making time to add stuff to the already routine I have. I have been gaining and losing the same 20lbs for the past year and I am over being on this yo-yo plateau. Yes, I still see changes in my body, but I’m ready to dedicate the extra time it is going to take in order to actually get off this back and forth.

Can I be completely honest here? I have no freaking idea what it is like to be an average sized person. I’m not even talking about being skinny, but just like an average size 12. As long as I can recall I have shopped in the plus sized section. I know this sounds terrible, but I find comfort in this section. Because I don’t have as many options. Because I don’t actually have to change anything to achieve this section. Yes, I have gone from being a size 28 to a size 18/20. Right now I’m more toward the 20. And yes I am approaching the end of the size spectrum in this section, but I’m still not gone. I linger. Holding on. But what am I holding on for? I tell myself it is because my body just likes it here. My body just likes to be fat. No, my body would probably love it if I wasn’t overweight anymore. Then my skeletal system would get a little bit of a break. My knees especially. What’s the real reason? Because it is easier to just be fat.

Because it is easier to just be fat. The food makes you feel better because it’s loaded with sugar and salt and chemicals that play with your brain. I also really love vegetables and things that are good for me, but sometimes it is just too much work. Sometimes it just doesn’t matter and I’m hungry now. Eat a peanut butter sandwich.

As someone suffering from PCOS, which makes me insulin resistant (I do not have diabetes though, thank God), I should live a very clean food driven life. I should be focused on avoiding grain and things that react as sugar in the body. Grain, alcohol, sugar, and fruit. I like fruit so i will never give it up, and it is good for you, you just have to know when to eat it. There is fruit in my smoothie, just not much in comparison to the vegetables.

I have the tools to accomplish this stuff. I was well on my way in June, but then I got 5 days of IV drip steroids and blew up like a puffer fish. The 15 pounds i lost turned into 20 gained. It is still here. And I’m done with it. I’m getting more work teaching yoga. I’m going to need the proper fuel to sustain throughout the day and keep myself healthy. I have the tools. I have the knowledge. I know what I’m doing because I’ve been doing this for a long ass time. I just have to put the elements together and dedicate the time. So here goes.

I made a new workout schedule. I’m making a grocery list of low carb, satisfying food that I can be happy with. I am taking things one day at a time. My goal is to lose 35lbs in the next 150 days. That will be the end of 2017. I know I can do it. I’ve done it before. I can do it again. Only this time we’re going to keep moving down. It will be mostly food oriented. I’m going to give 100%.

I really try not to pay attention the scale. But sometimes it tells us the truth, even though we don’t want to see it. I know that this is a big long journey and that I should honor that and how far I have come. I do honor that, believe me. I am quite proud of who I am and what I have accomplished. This year especially! I will probably come here to complain about how much I want a cupcake. I will also complain about the heat or something similar which will make me not want to go for a walk. Then I will get mad at myself. Then I will go on a walk. But I will probably stop and write about how mad I am in between.

Today, I would normally be heading to the gym, but I have to go take a tour of a facility where I will be teaching yoga on Thursday nights. It’s apparently an involved building complex. So, I am skipping it to take this tour. I will be coming home to practice my yoga routine sequencing for the week. I have a class Thursday evening and on Sunday morning.

I hope the day is full of magic and positive changes. ❤

Yoga

Santosa

Santosa is all about contentment. It is a Niyama from the Eight Limbs of Yoga. I’ve been reading in “Light on Yoga” by Iyengar. I’m re-reading it for the 3rd time now. Trying to pick up pieces that I didn’t catch along the way the last time I read it. Santosa stood out to me last night. Iyengar states “A mind that is not content cannot concentrate.” I’ve been stuck here for a while. Thinking about what it means to be content. Americans aren’t taught to be content. They are taught to consume and attempt to make their lives flashy on the outside, but really just encourage a terrible cycle of things that exploit the earth and its people. Our honest lack of Santosa is upsetting.

I sit and think about how I have never wanted for anything. I have sat around, hoarding energy and objects that could be going to help someone else. Earlier this week I spent time cleaning things out. I threw away a bunch of old toiletries, papers, mail, and I even went through my “box of important sentimental crap” and threw some of it away. Love notes, trinkets, mementos. I went through my clothes and tossed a bunch of stuff that I haven’t touched in a year or more. Things that just keep moving with me, but never get used. Like, who needs all this crap? Why are we so driven to consume it? We all know better.

I’ve been debating on trashing the mattress I have in my guest room. It’s over 10 years old, and no one uses it. Not often enough for me to justify keeping it anyway. I want the space. Yet, I’m still apprehensive about tossing it all because of stupid “What If’s” that play out in my head. Sure I have friends come visit from time to time, but I still have a couch. It’s so weird to be so nervous about trashing something. Yet, I had no problem throwing away “important crap”? Says something, doesn’t it?

“Contentment and tranquillity are states of mind. Differences arise among men because of race, creed, wealth, and learning. Differences create discord and these arise conscious or unconscious conflicts which distract and perplex one. Then the mind cannot become one-pointed and is robbed of its peace” (Iyengar, 37).

Can you imagine a world where men were content with their own way of being, their own actions, their own resources, their own land, etc and just allowed the world to exist? No, I can’t imagine it either, but it sounds nice.

Having conversations with friends about life sometimes you’ll catch yourself saying “I’d be happy if I just had enough to do XYZ.” Whether it is to live in a beach cottage in Key West, get new tires for the car, take a vacation to Europe, or whatever is just a false sense of Sansosa. Of course, you should always strive to improve yourself, but you don’t always have to strive for more. Does that make sense? And there is no harm in wanting to move into a beach cottage in Key West, but where you are right now, as you work toward that dream, are you content? Thankful? Do you respect the journey more than the destination? It’s all about the moment and appreciating what you have right this second. As they say, tomorrow isn’t a promise. If that is the case, how can you be content in the moment? In this day and time?  I find myself stopping and thinking more. Writing more. Feeling more. I try to make an effort to be in the moment more. Doesn’t always work, but it’s a work in progress.

I’m still as guilty as anyone for over consumption. My worst thing is with art. Here soon I’m going to have to incorporate gallery practices and let some rest for 6 months and allow the other ones to hang. I’m okay with that though, because art makes me happy. But a lot of the other things do nothing for me. So, what’s the point?

“There is contentment and tranquillity when the flame of the spirt does not waver in the wind of desire.” (Iyengar, 37-38)

Even if it isn’t in your ability to purge and get rid of unnecessary things, or to even stop consuming at a rapid rate (believe me, I like shopping it is hard to stop) at least take the time to be content. Because that leads you to a place that provides far more than a place full of material possessions. Finding contentment creates peace, and who doesn’t need a little bit of that?

It isn’t just applicable toward the objects we have, but how we see ourselves. Are we content with how we look? Are we content with our small nose or flat chest or thunder thighs? For me I am content with how I look. I feel like I’ve looked this way the majority of my life, but I am probably the only person that believes that. The fact that I’m content with myself, doesn’t mean I’m just hanging out not attempting to become better. I did that enough already. I can be content and strive toward something at the same time. I know it doesn’t seem like that should work, but somehow it does and it is oddly satisfying.

Just some thoughts….<3

Yoga

The Wagon…

I hate the wagon. Getting on and off of it from time to time is super hard on the soul. When you’re on, you feel amazing and love everything. When you’re off you think you love it, but really you just feel tired and gross. Yet, it is so easy to stay off the damn thing. You know why? Because off the wagon there’s cake, or whatever you guilty pleasure is. Mine is cake. Or sugar in general. I wish I had never developed a sweet tooth, as it is the biggest issue I have.

So today is the day I’m putting my self back on the wagon. Yesterday, I made sure to go to the grocery and stock my fridge with yummy things. Lots of veggies, a watermelon, some walnuts and dates (I have to make some date balls asap!), etc. All things that I love to eat. I made a bunch of vinegar salads yesterday. What I mean by that is tomato salad with balsamic vinegar and basil. No cheese for me though. I also made fridge pickles. Just a nice flash pickling of some cucumbers. I made them spicy with red pepper flakes. I hope I don’t burn my face off. It is important for me to have things made and ready for when I get hungry. After I go to the gym today I plan on finishing the rest of the food prep. This morning was a total win. I made cauliflower hash browns, wilted spinach, and scrambled eggs. I need some solid fuel for my workout later. Oh, and it can always go without saying there is coffee. Lots of coffee.

I’m very excited about starting my journey as a yoga teacher. Like, an official one. July 16 I will lead my first class. There is a lot more going into it than just a first class, it is a project. I am so thrilled to be working with the group of ladies that I am to organize our day of teaching together. It makes my soul feel good! I won’t divulge anymore here now, but there will be more in the future!

Graduation day is July 23. I still feel like I know nothing! But I know that a lot of it comes with practice. It is so much fun to anticipate what the future will bring now. I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen in my life, and I still have no idea, BUT I do know it will involve yoga. In some way, shape, or form.

One last thing before I wrap this up. My dearest friend and her family have come upon some difficult times. Her step father, a really amazing man, has been diagnosed with a very serious type of cancer. Things are uncertain right now, but he could sure use some loving and healing light sent in his direction. Because he’s such a gem, he’s been handling the news with grace and laughter. I admire him for his courage. And I thank you for any efforts you make.

Everyone have a beautiful weekend. ❤