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Manifesto for Yoga Misfits

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

Every year you consider trying yoga. And every year you label yourself a misfit and jest at the overwhelming messages about yoga and what a yogi ‘looks like’ according to advertisements in print, on social media, and TV - the ones depicting younger, mostly white women in less mature bodies performing bendy poses in expensive outfits looking for those 'good vibes only'. Consequently, every year you’re that much more convinced you don’t have a yoga body or perhaps more proudly, no desire to pretend that life isn’t complicated. No need to change the later, you're doing just fine there, it's your relationship to the term yoga body that I'll address here.

Perhaps you’ve come across my name as a local yoga teacher in Northeatern Pennsylvania as someone speaking a different message about yoga - a message that seems to be in line with your needs right now. You might not even be sure of what those needs are specifically, but I make it my profession to excel at being able to lead you toward your needs and teach you solutions to them using yoga. I once heard my style of teaching yoga described as yoga for misfits, and that my yoga is 'easy'. I. I wasn't at all upset about it. In fact, it was enlightening and can even be contributed to how faithfully I turned down the path toward seeing and applying yoga as medicine.

Yoga and it’s associated practices can be powerful vehicles and an effective supplement to western medicine in achieving optimal, individual well-being. In fact, what begins in a yoga practice can spread to other areas of life. Weaving a personal repertoire of simple yoga tools into daily living can elicit great autonomy regarding your health and wellness and give reason to show up with greater presence in all you do. And you do; you begin to show up, with great presence. You transform old patterns and evolve.

And this can happen along a continuum of any participation level you desire, they key is not the gusto you have toward yoga as a lifestyle or even movement routine, the key is the gusto you have about the regular inclusion or practice of however much yoga you need to make the present quality of your life somehow better.

For the purposes of defining ‘yoga’ as I’m referencing within this writing, I am speaking of yoga as the collective breathing, movement, and meditation practices along with philosophical teachings. Ever since I toned down the repetitive physicality of my own personal practice, I've curiously explored and applied yoga's philosophical teachings and learned and developed more meaningful-to-me change-making internal focused therapeutics. As a result, yoga has delivered to me, through dedicated practice CORE SKILLS I had been lacking in my life. Undoubtedly, the core skill of my unparalleled determination to get to know myself more intimately, has put me in the driver’s seat with my own internal health & whole-person well-being, enhanced my intuition, discernment, and moral compass and has shown me the value of personal boundaries that sustain my happiness as I embrace the middle of life in uncertain, heavy and yet revolutionary times. I see our communities and societies as a byproduct of so many variables, walking backwards and further away from both internal and collective peace. In our ever distracted externally-focused lives, we forget how to inhabit our body. Instead of moving from the space of loving kindness for ourselves first, we sacrifice our inner-condition for moving haphazardly through to-dos and bask in the endorphin rush as a byproduct of our heightened sense of accomplishment. We sleep, wake and repeat this lifestyle on autopilot ignoring signs of stress, burnout and dis-ease. We lose our sense of self and lean so heavily on identities to labels, roles, looks and stories - that we cannot possibly know what is best for others or our communities as a whole, if we do not first acknowledge our own inner landscape. A lot of today's yoga can create this same self-sacrificing vibe - leaning on a hierarchical system of poses and "levels" of yoga and out-dated and unhelpful cues from teachers trained to follow the hierarchical system and failing to take account for the personal and psycho-socially subjective experiences of modern lived-in bodies.

I teach people, not poses. My yoga classes offer accessible, empowering, diversified movement and nervous system focused experiences explained with purpose and in easy to follow language. I take into account the "whole person". My yoga offerings are developed with a high degree of focus, thoughtfulness, education, personal financial investment, and trial & error behind them. I try to help you unlearn overused, energy-consuming patterns and teach you to reawaken patterns that yield improved balance and body awareness, including posture and increased ability to stay grounded. If you’re someone with chronic pain, science tells us that pain decreases with heightened body awareness. If you’re someone with a mind stuck in over-drive, I teach simple practical meditation tools to train your mind so that it can be adept at states of calm and focus and fine-tune perception. And if you’re someone in the middle, expect each experience to offer a net result of “exactly what you needed” - the most regular client sound-bite I receive. In just a short round of simple yet challenging yoga classes, I will increase your body awareness, heighten insight into your whole body strength and mobility, and teach you how to self-create greater emotional balance in your life. It will be just exactly what you need and perhaps didn’t even know you wanted! Each new round of series classes is relative for the times. Expect to experience accessible movement that helps brings stability and mobility to the areas where musculoskeletal conditions common to most adults and athletes develop, a modern take on traditional yoga philosophy as I study and apply it, fresh perspective, a postural tune-up and a balance of familiar with new movement that is a direct carryover from my on-going intensive advanced yoga training with Yoga Medicine.

I value your privacy and I never take photos or videos of my students during class. I possess

well-developed skills to nurture your vulnerability while providing you tools and training ground to help you evolve from patterns keeping you stuck. My teaching space is tranquil, quiet and kept impeccably clean. In this space, I do not feed attention seekers, gossip or drama. I purposely encourage more silence than small talk. I’m not looking to build a following or to be your friend. Instead, my sole intention is to be your dedicated and ever-evolving teacher. In place of having all the answers, I listen neutrally, observe keenly and offer a wholehearted promise to bring you yoga practices, tools and traditions that speak to your needs in the present as a means to build optimal well-being for the middle of life and beyond.

Living with and overcoming conditions and circumstances provide great purpose to my extensive rigorous academic training specific to teaching skills, anatomy, yoga and movement science, and collectively back-bone my ability to teach yoga to you through a therapeutic lens. I’ve relied heavily upon skills learned through practicing yoga for over 23 years to improve my ability to negotiate, compromise, ground, set boundaries, and build resilience through preservation and confidence. I use circumstances as the curriculum for life with my personal dedication to living a yogic lifestyle only fueled even greater when bad and disappointing things happen. For me, yoga is a means to living a steadfastly honest, sustainable and resilient life, even if I never move into another physical pose. Yet, I don’t expect everyone I teach or anyone I teach to relate to yoga in the way I relate to yoga. I don’t teach an all or nothing approach on purpose and if you met me on the street, you might not even realize I have any relationship to yoga as you may know it. I teach yoga in simple and digestible ways for people mostly not looking to go all in with yoga. My classes offer much relevance, practicality, variability and accessibility; My classes move slow and encourage you to work mindfully to be most challenged.

Yoga can be an ongoing resource that we can use preventatively and as a means to better cope with current internal and external conditions that effect our physical body and our psyche including our sense of health, vitality, perspective, purpose and longevity.

Each series I plan I first begin with a number of my overarching goals for the students who will participate. I determine these from the time I spend cumulatively observing, listening and learning and funnel them toward one of the following: Recovery - Maintenance - Learning. In this way, no two yoga series with me are alike, yet each is quintessentially balanced and relevant to the times we live in, to our present-moment needs, and for nurturing the now as a means to send loving kindness to our future-self.

In my upcoming Winter Series offerings you can expect: the following value from your short-commitment:

A place holder in your week for practicing relaxation, refilling your cup and getting reacquainted with taking the first sip;

Experience inhabiting the body more skillfully;

Allowing the body to let go of physical tension and exhaustion creating space to breathe and heal;

Grounding practices to guide you back to your center and a level-state that you can then use when inner-peace is disturbed;

A healing offering to your whole-person well-being from the more invisible effects the body is holding onto to as a result of pandemic living to the visible distress shown in the details of our posture, breathing, expression and attitude;

Simple, practical tools that help you self-regulate tension, anxiety, burnout and accumulating levels of stress as you experience it;

An opportunity specifically designed to piece yourself back into something that feels more whole giving you access to a sense of well-being and resilience;

Work on physical body structural stability and mobility - learn more about and improve the quality of the body’s connective tissue and enjoy exercises that help build greater neuromuscular control;

Prevention management and rehab of dysfunction around the joints;

Release what’s tight;

Awaken weakness with purpose;

Revive your mind, breath, spine, hips, core and posture all in accessible ways;

Experience yoga that can acquaint you with and teach you to seek perspective within the inner-quiet of you. Learn how to step back, observe without judgement and apply insight with curiosity and confidence;

To find out which of my series is right one for you, stay tuned this week on my Facebook page for specific details pertaining to each upcoming individual Winter Yoga Series, each with an early January start! Or click on the photo below to read about each series right now.

All short series are small-groups and require pre-registration with payment;

Registration is open now and closes on January 5, 2022;

Winter Series classes begin the week of Jan. 9;

Things to consider before registering:

No certain level of yoga experience, flexibility or specific yoga attire required; Remember, I teach people, not poses.

Ability to commit to the short-series style following a 6 class or 5 class series format (1 weekly class)

Ability to get to and up from the floor and move around, even if unbalanced, in all series except Yoga for Older Beginners (chair-focused yoga); Vocalization of pain not suited for group class;

Signature of Participation Liability Waiver and Adherence to Health & COVID Protocols;

Class sized capped to retain physical distancing space;

Mask required to enter/exit/meander within the business but not required for class participation;

Own yoga mat and yoga blanket required for each class; For best outcomes, must feel comfortable with all studio policies including maintaining the quiet contemplative-nature of the space; Conversations unrelated to class happen after class.

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