yoga blog

19 Months Later...

It’s been over a year and a half since I wrote one of these “long form” blog pieces (although you could probably argue that some of my Instagram captions teeter on being long enough to be considered blogs) and truly, I didn’t really think I’d want to come back to this format.

You see, it sort of became common knowledge that blogging was dead. Our brains are out of shape when it comes to reading things longer than 140 characters or an IG caption. So why write long form if nobody is going to read it?

Well, because the RIGHT people are going to read it. It occurred to me that I still enjoy reading longer, thought provoking pieces of writing. And the people I want as my audience and clients are like me.

One point for returning to blogging.

Secondly, I have too much to say for Instagram (and I despise Twitter). I often want to talk about much more than is appropriate for a caption. Plus, if my audience is like me, they’re mostly there for photos anyway. Having a platform and space to share my knowledge and thoughts - another point for blogging.

Finally, and most importantly from a business standpoint, I don’t own any of my FB or IG content. And you don’t own yours either. Remember when IG went down for the day? What if it stayed down forever? Every single thing you’ve ever posted would be completely GONE. Your followers (aka audience) would be gone. What would you do then?

I hadn’t fully thought through this until I listened to an episode of Maestro on The Mic, the podcast from The Movement Maestro, with Jill Coleman. They get into this a little, but they also talk generally about diversifying. Social media platforms are great (they’re free, they’re easy) but they only go so far. You need other avenues - an e-mail list (I’ve got one, are you on it?) and some form of your own content (audio, written, or visual) that lives off of social media. And since I don’t understand YouTube and think there are plenty of great podcasts out already - blogging is where I live for now.

3 points for blogging. So welcome (or welcome back) to the blog!

The content will be drastically different than it used to be (but the old content lives on, for shits and giggles). The Spiritual Badass Blog tackles topics on mindfulness, movement, and where they intersect. It’s for athletes, students, teachers, and those who want to learn more about their mind, their body, and the connection between the two. It will keep you up to date with classes, workshops, and offerings - both in person (found here on my schedule and retreats pages) and online (found on The Spiritual Badass Academy website). It may resonate with you and it may really piss you off. Both are good. And if you’re still reading, there’s a good chance this blog is for you!

So thank you - let’s do this!

Off The Mat - Expectations

If you practice yoga with me on a regular basis, you know that at the beginning of the year I took it upon myself to start theming my yoga classes month by month. I did this to challenge myself and my creativity as a teacher, to force myself into a deeper study of yoga, and because I wanted to provide my students with both something they could work on/towards for longer than just one class and with a piece of learning that they could take with them.

This monthly theming has ranged everywhere from concepts like the bandhas to postures like working towards single leg crow. I didn't expect this overarching idea of theming per month to create such an open opportunity for me to theme weekly as well. And I've noticed that carrying a subtheme for an entire week really allows me (and my students) to dig deep into that thought or idea, instead of it passing in just one class. 

Throughout all of my teaching I attempt to suggest some way of taking the learning off of the mat and into the rest of daily life - and hence "Off The Mat" is born.

This week's theme fell into my lap via Facebook. A good friend of mine took my yoga class on Wednesday night. This month's theme is to work on arm balances, towards single leg crow, via different crow variations. This week specifically was all about side crow - lots of twisting (no wonder my abs have been so sore!). After class she blogged about how she started crying in class while attempting side crow. She acknowledges that struggling with this posture started a cascading wave of feelings of self doubt and failure. Feelings of comparison to the others in class. Feelings of expectation - and failure to meet that expectation. And, because she's a badass, she very quickly realized and acknowledged those feelings and so strongly moved on to complete class the way she needed to. But this idea of expectation stuck with me.

We go into yoga classes as students with expectations - of ourselves, what we can and can't do, how it is or isn't supposed to feel. With expectations of our teacher, of the other students, of the entire experience. And as teachers we have expectations as well. I expect my students to behave a certain way, to be able to complete some postures and to struggle with others, to leave class having had a positive experience. And I have expectations of myself - how articulate I'm going to be, how the music is going to sound, how my sequencing is going to work out.

But here's the thing with expectation - it's an attempt at controlling the outcome of the future. Which we cannot do. So this week's theme became about letting go of expectation on your mat. Using your breath as your anchor to keep you in the present moment. To feel and experience postures and transitions and pauses as they are happening. And to let them happen as they do, without expecting them to be something else.

When all is said and done, leaving expectation behind when we step on our mat is relatively easy. The challenge becomes stepping off of the mat and doing the same. Can we move in and out of work and life, meetings and interactions, challenging times and easier times without having expectation of outcome, of ourselves, or of others? The challenge becomes about having trust in the process, trust in where you're at, and trust in knowing that it is exactly where you're supposed to be.