Thank you to Angela Haupt of US News and World Report, New York Daily News, Business Insider, Mike Lucas of “The Doctors”, and Chris Weller of Medical Daily for helping me change the face of yoga. There are so many “success” stories out there about people losing weight. Thank you for showing my success story of how my weight gain helped me find a new level of self-awareness and acceptance. My art piece started a conversation that I think needs to be taking place in our society.
I’ve gained weight and I’m not pregnant. I’ve followed the brand new, yogi-approved Seat Diet.
See it… eat it.
As a yoga teacher, this could be considered career suicide. Instead of slaying my means of supporting myself, I want to slay the notion that people who do yoga need to look like the beauties on the cover of magazines. Last year, my best friend said crying as she dealt with her lifelong eating disorder, “I don’t want to be known as the fat yoga teacher.” I was taken aback by this statement because I would classify her as beautiful, fit, and trim. I wanted to explore her statement that resonated in my mind like the frequency of fingernails tagging with sound their presence on the chalkboard.
To me, ‘fat’ is an arbitrary word that is used as ammunition to harm another. I’m not at war.
I thought this would be an experiment in empowering people to love their bodies and not try to fit society’s mold. Instead, reality of my latent insecurities came like a football team’s kicker being put in as the center (my identity was pummeled).
The stories I made up about what people thought of me were changing and I was emotionally affected. Suddenly, my self-worth was proving to be connected to how good I looked wearing spandex – something I completely denied giving a shit about before this experiment – and that pissed me off. Guilt from eating foods I typically considered bad for me were constant companions in my thoughts. Shame did cameo appearances in my mind’s movie reel daily.
My most shocking discovery through the process is that I’m afraid of not being loved. I noticed the self-talk was that my beauty is only on the surface. I feared no man would want me this way and that I would die alone, probably from choking on a potato chip. There was a war going on inside of me and neither side was winning. Once I unraveled the fears and self-assaulting language as irrational, they no longer had power over me and I began to relax into my new found “goods”.
Nietzsche says the thing separating men from gods is the belly. May we all expand our bellies to digest our fears and empower our minds to think. May we all understand that we all want to be loved for who we are… however we are in the moment. And may we all find love and not die alone, from potato chip asphyxiation.
PS – I’m not fat; I’m fucking awesome!
There was a time when all I needed for inspiration was a quote, horoscope, fortune cookie, or one of those refrigerator magnet poems. The days of fluffing the pillows of hope to make the world seem less random are over. I am simultaneously distraught and relieved that I no longer rely on my tea bag for a shot of wisdom.
My industry is known for injecting the public with heightened inspiration, feel-good yumminess, and the perception that one can be happy all the time. I’m a generally calm and happy person but I’m over the illusion that we can talk ourselves into seeing the half-full glass as overflowing.
Nature is my teacher. People are a part of nature and in my work, I come in contact with a diverse group of humans. A lot of people subscribe to the theory posed by a new-age book that claims to reveal the one secret law of the universe. Basically, it says one just has to specifically ask the universe for what one wants and, like a genie granting wishes, it will appear.
I’m a big believer in setting a goal and a bigger believer in working my ass off to achieve the goal. Whether or not I accomplish the goal seems to only come down to how I choose to spend my time… Not whether I put the right picture on my vision board/talked with my angel guides/chose the right spirit animal before my vision quest.
We have an immense amount of power in our brains to change the way we think about things, but because we change our thoughts does not make something manifest into this world.
I’ve found the people who talk the most about manifesting are the people who are doing the furthest thing from their ideal job. I get that we all want direction and we all want a plan, but the thing that pisses me off about “The Secret” will hopefully become clear by the end of this rant.
Driving down a busy street in Dallas in the middle of Summer, I saw a man carrying his groceries. He was blind and using a walking stick. Do you think it would help him to wish himself out of blindness? Do you think having a clear intention would spontaneously make him able to see? No. And an intention like that would be a complete waste of time and energy whose results would be futile.
He inspired me. He didn’t let his fear take hold of him.
A student of mine was struggling in a yoga class this morning. We were doing Downward Facing Dog. For many healthy people, this pose is a breeze. This man would get into the pose for about one second and need to come down to his knees again. He did this five times in the eight seconds we held the pose. This student has Cerebral Palsy and wants so badly to do the yoga poses everyone else in the class is doing. Do you think if he was very clear that he is asking the universe to heal him that he would get better? Do you think it is a good use of his mental capacities to dream of having use of all motor and mental functions?
He inspired me. He kept trying. He isn’t giving up.
People who do their best with what they have inspire me. Determination and focus inspire me. Vision and creativity inspire me. Don’t tell me the world is going to shimmer with sparkles and happiness when sometimes it is just going to suck. Teach me how to work with what I have – to shape my own clay into something I really love. Teach me how to get re-focussed when I lose sight. Teach me how to love.
Energy, or prana, flows through the body and the chakras provide a sacred roadmap to our consciousness. The subtle energy we experience can be explored through the architectural design of the chakras, their traits, qualities, and physical manifestations. In this workshop, we will investigate the chakras as an energy system as it relates to the healing practice of yoga.
Sign up here – very limited space available
Watching someone grow over 200 hours of yoga teacher training is a beautiful thing to see. What’s even more beautiful is to watch the group dynamic as unspoken bonds are formed in the process of witnessing and being witnessed. My friend calls it “Sacred Witnessing” and I am a firm believer in the power it has to help us grow individually and collectively.
I hold space for my students’ growth and in my myopic focus in aiding in their journey, I can sometimes forget that I am also simultaneously growing on my journey. They are unconsciously holding space for my growth and I feel very lucky now to realize that. There was a part of me that neglected my evolution. I’m reminded through these words one of my students wrote me in a card that I, too, was being witnessed, “From every part of my being, I see you, I hear you, I appreciate you and I love you.” I feel this way about my students.
Because I don’t believe in the guru structure and I bask in my utter humanness, I rejected a lot of the love and appreciation they’ve sent my way over the years. It isn’t a form of self-loathing – I was afraid it would aid my ego and my head would get so big that I would have to change the height of the doors in my house. I’ve come to realize you can’t fully witness without being witnessed. It takes two to be in relationship and my students teach me so much just by being present in my life.
I am grateful.
Sacred witness being seen
Love floats through air
lands in our embrace.
Steadfast, oh silent heart
The bounty of my love’s fruit
cannot be found in dreams.
Words are easy
words come cheap
therefore, do not speak.
Our magic lives in a space of
I garnish a life.