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The Yoga & Fitness Industries Needs to Change

I’m going to wager that we have all been in a group yoga/workout class in some form or another. Maybe it was gym class in highscool, maybe it was a studio, or gym. We might be aware of the cultures in these places, how we felt in these places and how we felt when we left; it may have been more subtle.

I’ve been in a lot of these places myself, heck I’ve worked in a couple. In these places, and an unfortunate majority that I see there are two messages that I really disagree with and are straight up bull crap.

1. Freakin diet culture
. So many of these places are laden with diet culture messaging, it really gets under my skin; just in case you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, let me give you a little run down. (read: rant)

Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes it’s obvious. It isn’t always references to weight loss, sometimes its only ever seeing skinny, white bodies doing ridiculously fancy poses on IG or magazines. I’m telling you, search ‘yoga beautiful’ and that’s what you’ll see. Sometimes in these places there is no inclusion for the ways different people with different bone structures function. Think: One way teaching. ie. your legs have to be together for this squat pose. Do they? do they? nope!

Anyway, back to my point…in these places the focus tends to be movement for weight loss, for changing our bodies, punishing our bodies, earning, and lots of mean messages disguised as loving ones. Sometimes there also mirrors in these spaces and because of the diet-culture tone, and our personal histories we focus on how we look, how we think we need to look instead of how we feel.

2. Good Vibes Only. 
You’ve heard it, you’ve seen it on t-shirts. Maybe you’ve felt it when you tried to talk to your teacher about how you had a bad day and they hit you back with a good ol ‘let it go! focus on your breath!’ That is not how this being human works. This is especially prevalent in westernized yoga environments, it’s also called ‘spiritual bypassing’

Spiritual by-passing is a way of hiding behing spirituality or spiritual practices. It prevents people from awkowledging their feelings, or someone else’s feelings. It’s super rude, and invalidating and it’s rampant in fitness and yoga industries. Examples: ‘I don’t feel sad because I’m not attached, I practice non-attachment’, ‘focus on the positive, good vibes only!’, love and light, ‘anger is a destructive emotion, the only thing to fear is fear itself’, ‘you create your own reality, manifest a happier life’. *I will note that these practices themselves aren’t the issue, it’s how they’re used/talked about/weaponized*

I hate both of those messages.

Both of those messages exclude most people. Both of those messages are mean, and I want to burn them along with the patriarchy.

First of all diet culture is rooted in racist bs, BMI is inaccurate and also rooted in racism. The existance of diet culture supresses folx, in paticular women.
I’ll leave it there for today, but I’ll chat more about this another time.

Our size doesn’t relate to what our body is capable of.
Our size doesn’t relate to our health.
Our size doesn’t relate to our worth, our value, our beauty, or our strength.

Second of all good vibes only denies a big part of what it is to be human. Difficult feelings are normal, and aren’t bad. It is good and needed to feel sad, and angry. Feeling our feelings aren’t bad, our feelings are not our enemies. Our feelings are important messages from ourselves.
Furthermore: when it comes to trauma, mental illness and abuse healing spiriual-bypassing is dangerous. It’s exclusive, fake, and mean.

Why I love my Unique Approach to Teaching

These industries need to change.

There has to be a change in the yoga, and fitness world to be more inclusive of all bodies, bigger bodies, and more inclusive and open about mental health and difficult feels.

I love my approach to teaching. I have used all of my experiences in these spaces and really made it a necessity to create a space that is anti-diet culture, weight inclusive, and trauma safe.

Yoga, and working out doesn’t have to be based around body-shame. While I know from experience it takes time to let this shame go, I will encourage and remind you again and again to shift your motivation to loving your body every chance you can.

None of my classes have anything to do with weight loss, and never will. I will help you really tap into the joy of movement, the mindful aspect of really noticing how your body feels instead of how it looks.

I have been through a lot of trauma, abuse, and mental health difficulties. That’s why I got into yoga! There were times where my yoga mat was my only safe space. I want your mat to be a safe space too.

I want you to feel safe to cry, feel your feelings, and talk about them with me, if you’d like. I want you to know that I have bad days because it shows you you can have bad days and still create. You can have bad days and still chase your dreams. You can have bad days and still have value.

I want you to feel safe in my class, and leave feeling empowered, strong, powerful, loved, and good enough. (you’re always good enough, you always were) I want you to leave my class feeling good about yourself, and also safe in your feelings. *I dont mean you have to be happy, you can be sad or angry, I just don’t want you to leave hating yourself, your sadness, or your body*

 If you made it this far: koodos. I appreciate you and your time. If you skipped to the end I still appreciate and love ya, but when you have a sec come back and read it. Because it’s important. It’s important to me that you know what makes me different from other studios, and why I do what I do.

With love,