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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Yoga

Full, Blue Moon Yoga

Let me just say that today has been an awesome day.

The cat might have yelled at me to get up at the normal 6:15 to feed her, but it’s still been awesome.

I put together an awesome full moon yoga class on this lovely full and blue moon day. So much power to be absorbed today. I really had so much fun with the ladies from my class today. We made our way through a couple different moon cycles and had some balancing fun in half moon. It was also the best I’ve probably ever done half moon in my life!

One of the parts of my theme today was to pay attention to the impulsive behavior that comes along with a full moon, as well as the emotions and potential heightened senses. Something along the lines if you’re an impulsive shopper, probably don’t go shopping today. Or if you have a tendency to be emotional to be a little easier on yourself and just pay attention to the feelings that arrive in your mind. It happens to all of us. But not everyone pays attention.

From there I asked them to let go of the things that are no longer serving a purpose in their life. I think this part is a reason I’m having a good day! I’m starting to let go of things that have plagued me for a while. And by a while I mean some of them the majority of my life. Also, most of them are self inflicted. Tells you something. But in the moment, letting go is such a welcomed thing. You genuinely become lighter and smile brighter and all kinds of other thing!

In addition, yesterday was kind of monumental and plays into this. Letting go of anger and bitterness I have toward people I’m related to was a fucking powerful thing. And today, working with my students, helping them get rid of whatever they needed was so energizing! I can’t explain it, but the reward of teaching yoga is powerful. And because moon cycles aren’t super common I went through them with demonstrations. The full effect of the class was not achieved for me because I’m still the teacher, but the little bit of it that I did get was spectacular!

Now, I’m off to make a red velvet cake from scratch, for the first time, to take to the Stauble’s Easter celebration. Pray I don’t fuck it up! I cook, I don’t do so well baking, but I have faith that today, being as awesome as it is, will keep on being awesome and bring me success with this baking.

Have a happy Easter everyone. Love your people. Love yourself.

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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.

Yoga

Holiday Reconnect

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It has been a hot minute since I’ve had an opportunity to blog. Since I moved I’ve been running around, unpacking, traveling, etc. and quite frankly I’m so happy to be able to be home for a few weeks before the travels start again. I need this time to ground myself. Focus. Hang out and just breathe!

I have had a blast running around though. I went to New Jersey to see my friend, Olga, and her family. Her oldest daughter got married and the wedding was beautiful! Spending time with Olga was much needed. I hadn’t seen her in 8 years, since I moved out of NYC. It was just like old times though. The only the that had really changed was she moved, and she got a cat. Everything else, the same.

Upon returning from Jersey I had to work one day and then I was off to visit my family in the North Carolina mountains. I drove way too much, but I was happy to get the time to see everyone. I like hearing what they’ve been up to. It was also my cousin Jon’s 26th birthday on Thanksgiving. I can’t believe he’s 26. Scares me that the youngest (he’s 3rd from the bottom age wise with the cousins) group of kids in our family will all be in their 30s very soon.

I spent Thanksgiving evening with my parents at their house. Mom had to work, so she was unable to go to the festivities at grandmas, but it was nice to see her and spend time with both of them. I broke the news that I had been seeing someone, Zack (just in case you didn’t know either). They were quite happy and look forward to meeting him. It won’t be over Christmas, because he has to work, but none the less, one day!

So here it is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. December will be here Friday. My lovely yogi sister, Starr, has a birthday on Friday too! And it wraps up the end of the semester for me. I’m excited to have time off from teaching. I get to focus my time on doing some academic writing for myself and studying for the GRE. Hurray! Christmas break is so fun! I have planned on doing a yoga tour of Wilmington. Spending time learning and practicing from those around me. I am excited to experience some new things and really push myself to get outside my comfort zone. I’m stuck there, and I have to stop it. So, naturally, I am going to go to my mat and try all the things. There are so many wonderful teachers in this town (it’s legit over flowing with amazing teachers) and it is silly of me not to take advantage. I think I might start on Friday morning, since it is the first day I have ‘off’ from work. And I know just who’s class to take. Alexis, I’m coming for you!

In addition to my yoga tour, I’m excited to study. To spend time expanding my knowledge and working toward a larger goal. I have been anticipating this time off so I could focus and just work on stuff I want to do, instead of stuff I have to do for work. Not that I don’t like that stuff, but sometimes I find it really hard to actually split the two and I know that I need to learn to do that again. I plan to pursue some big things, and push myself again. I’ve done a lot of pushing this year, and I want to wrap up the year itself with one last one. It will lead me into 2018 and help me stay focused next year. Because, I’m not doing all this stuff to not keep at it. Dreams are worth chasing. And I’m trying to focus on some short term goals for now, that will possibly lead me to that bigger dream. Dr. Deirdre. It has a fantastic ring to it, no?

In closing, here’s to the last week of classes! I look forward to the month off. I look forward to the holidays with friends and family. I look forward to pushing myself outside of this comfort zone so I can grow and prosper in a different way.

2017 has been an awesome year. 2018, I hope you’ll be the same.

Namaste!

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It Takes a Village

Happiest of Monday’s to y’all! It’s going to be a beautiful week, full of lots of things and I just needed a moment to reflect on this past weekend. So much happened.

 

Saturday I wrapped up my mentorship at Salty Dog Yoga & Surf. I could not be more thankful for the opportunity to get feedback about my teaching from the seasoned yogi’s that I work with. Such a blessing to have their leadership and skills to help me learn. From now on I am a full fledged member of the staff and I’m so excited to continue to grow in this space. I am really enjoying getting to know the people who practice there as well. Bunch of awesome people. And I have to say, the flow I put together for them was by far the best one I’ve done to date.

Sunday morning I went to Island Beverage to lead a yoga class. Not a great turn out but that was probably due to the insanity of the half marathon taking place on the island yesterday. It was muggy! and I felt so bad for the folks running. When they signed up for it they probably thought it would be a cool run, temperature wise. Either way, it looked like there was a good turn out for that. Way to go half marathoners!

After I was done there I made my way home to grade 50 bibliographies. They were fairly terrible, and I’m sad to see that people have no idea how to evaluate the sources they use for research. However, once I was finished with those I made my way to the Yoga Village Festival! Such a nice turn out and the day cooled down a bit, and there was a nice breeze too. I got to meet so many people! Networking isn’t my strongest side, but I was in charge of Svasana assists at the “Relaxation Station” and because of that people really enjoyed hanging out with me. But who wouldn’t? You get a massage and to lay on the grass under some majestic pine trees! So perfect. I will say that touching so many people is exhausting. Having all of that energy pass through you and expending your own energy put me out by the end of the festival. To the point that making dinner was quite a task. It was so nice to see people come together to support this organization. It is such a beautiful part of the community and having so much positive energy in one space was inspiring. I can’t even begin to tell you how loving the space was.

As for the week ahead I’m going to a book club meeting today at noon and we’re reading the Untethered Soul. So awesome. I am really enjoying this book. I’ve never been much for books you find in the “self help” section of the book store, but honestly I haven’t been able to put it down. Learning how to not let things bother you. How to just let it go and when you feel like things are getting under your skin to just breathe and watch it go away. Something that I am really working on in my life. I let too many things get under my skin and drive me insane or make me mad, and it is unnecessary. I look forward to the discussion this afternoon.

This past weekend was also Fall break from my university job. So nice to, for the first time in 4 years, put my email on “Out of Office” and not deal with anything from Thursday to Sunday. I created a boundary. A real one and it was awesome! Everything was still there when I logged in today and I handled it all pretty swiftly. Back to the classroom tomorrow!

Well, I suppose the rest of my To Do list won’t do itself today, unless I actually get going. Welcome to my new followers! I’m thrilled to have you, and I hope to see some of your faces in a class soon!

Much love to all!

Namaste ❤

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Solar Plexus Chakra

I’m focusing my classes this week on the Solar Plexus Chakra. Mine is out of whack. Being down on myself because of my weight and negative body image. Feeling exceptionally fluffy these days. I was at the gym yesterday and working out around mirrors I was in shock of how bad I looked. And it started that mind worm about my self worth and such. I had been thinking about the solar plexus this week and usually when I fixate on a chakra it is because that is not balanced in me. I started stressing about finances and how was I ever going to be able to afford all of the things I need when I’m moving in a month. I started getting anxious because I am trying to better my situation. I had an issue with work too. I realized they were paying me too much. So I spoke up. Now the rest of my checks will be docked until the money they have already paid me gets paid back. Such bullshit. I love how being honest can come back to haunt you. But once I realized it, and I thought it was just a minor fluke at first, they were so thrilled that I was honest. Makes me feel like they never would have noticed. But then I would have been living in fear of paying it back when they did figure it out. There’s the throat chakra. The speaking the truth. In addition to the Yama, Satya. Which is truthfulness and honesty.

I’ve been having a bit of a soul searching party lately. What do I want for the future. What do I need to do to grow and become a productive individual in my community and the world. So, I’ve decided since my funding is going to be rather limited the next while, I plan to study. Study for various things. The GRE. Yoga. Reading more and finding my way into something that I’m currently working on. Something that I haven’t figured out just yet. I have some exciting things to work toward and I know I can be successful in doing so. I just need to spend some time grounding myself and finding my self esteem again. Not doubting my ability. Not allowing the standard that society has created to justify who I am and what my life should look like.

I’m working on not worrying about expectations and just letting things happen as they happen. Most of the time it is not that hard. Sometimes shit is real hard. Like when it comes to my students. I expect them to do their work in a timely manner. I expect them to try hard to be successful. And this week all of those expectations have been shot straight to Hell. A simple assignment has turned into a shit storm of excuses and poor choices on their part. I’ve given them more than enough time to accomplish this assignment, and it was fairly simple. Actually, it was really fucking easy. But alas, I got so many emails last night about it. Waiting until the last minute. I just can’t even deal with them anymore. So, for part 2 of this assignment I won’t have expectations. I have provided them with more than enough guidance for this, and I plan to expect nothing. That’s the best I can do right now. Because they’re killing me. And I refuse to allow them to cause me grief. It’s their grade, not mine. I’ve done my job. Got my degree. And That’s all I can do.

In yoga I’m working on perfecting my Sun Salutation B. I am tired of Sun Salutation A to be honest. Everyone uses it, and I would rather be a little different. The movements were far more difficult than they should have been, because we did animals at the gym. Lots of bear crawling and shit like that. My shoulders are sore. Considering I hadn’t been in forever too. Makes it more difficult on the body to get back into the serious stuff. Planning on getting some good practice in tonight and tomorrow before teaching class at 3, and Saturday morning. I’m learning how to get off my mat more when teaching. One of my mentors suggested “Have you ever just thought of leaving it?” And I know it is that simple. I do. But sometimes I can’t bring myself to do it. I want to be the teacher who is always on the move. Changing the dynamic of the class. Finding more confidence in my teaching. I know it comes with time and it will come around eventually! I just have to give it time and not have expectations for myself. I need to have faith in my power. And balance this damn solar plexus!

Wish me luck! Have a great weekend y’all! I’ll be grading bibliographies and doing yoga while I house sit and host a book club!

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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.