Bonjour Anna !
Thank you for getting back to me so quickly! As I said, I am now a YogiYoga (how I call people practicing Yoga, there’s something weirdly peaceful about them…) and have been for about 6 months. I started practicing yoga on the beach at sunset in Miami Beach… Now I am with Yoga to the People, in NYC, in a small ass studio in the very cold weather. What a change!
I told you my story with Yoga, tell us your story now…
CLEM: Where do you come from? What’s your family background, are they Yogi too? Was it a natural move for you to get into the practice or did you break the mold in your social environment?
I grew up in Kentucky and Indiana, and I didn’t know anyone who practiced yoga! Yoga was much less popular in the mainstream at that time, so I think if my family did know about yoga, they probably would have been suspicious of it. Haha!
CLEM: How did you start Yoga for the 1st time? What was your motivation?
I started yoga my freshman year of college because I had chronic migraines and I was looking for anything that would help me feel better. I actually came to yoga through meditation, and while I was not expecting to enjoy it because I’d never really had a form of exercise that I liked, I was shocked to find that I kind of loved it!
CLEM: How would you define Yoga?
To me, yoga is connecting with your unique breath and body with kindness. I see the physical practice of yoga poses, or asana, as a gateway to that connection.
CLEM: What were the difficulties you encountered being a curvy woman, in the practice? In wanting to be an instructor? How different was your journey being curvy?
For nearly the first decade of my practice, I almost never saw any curvy people. I kept thinking I’d finally truly “get it” once I got thin, since those were the only bodies I ever saw around me. However, as I began to stop my pattern of chronic dieting and shift more towards body acceptance off the mat, I had an ah-ha on the mat, which was that maybe, just maybe, the “problem” wasn’t my body, but rather that my teachers didn’t know how to work with bodies like mine. Thankfully, the latter turned out to be true!
As a non-stereotypical teacher, I’ve had to deal with my share of people not understanding what I do, but I’m okay with that. I enjoy forging my own path because I believe so passionately that yoga can be a transformative tool for body acceptance, no matter your shape or size.
CLEM: Why did you create Curvy Yoga? Do you consider expanding? What is the next step for your company?
I created Curvy Yoga because I’d always wanted to find something like it but never did. I knew I couldn’t be the only person who was looking for something like it, but what I found is that I’d far underestimated the need. I’m so grateful to the Curvy Yoga community, which is growing all the time. We now have over 100 teachers in six countries and the majority of US states, and we keep expanding all the time!
CLEM: Are you doing some other kind of exercise besides Yoga?
I enjoy walking and swimming laps. I find both to be similar to yoga because they allow me to connect with my breath and body in a meditative way, even when my heart is really pumping in the pool!
CLEM: What would you say to curvier women who often feel discouraged to start exercising?
I’d say that I get it! There are so many messages telling us it’s not okay to get out there and move our bodies in ways we enjoy. My advice is to look for a place that is welcoming, and if you don’t find one, to create one, even if that’s setting up a space in your house. You have the right to move your body and meet its needs with kindness.
CLEM: What are the first steps to a healthier, more spiritual life?
I think the first step is to make a choice to try something new in those realms. If you approach it like an experiment, knowing you might try something you don’t like, it’s liberating. That way, if you happen upon something that doesn’t work for you, it’s not a sign that you should just call it all off, but rather information about what works for you and what doesn’t, which is all any of us can ever know/do.
CLEM: What is your mantra? What philosophy are you living by?
I actually have a whole MATifesto! These days, I’m really focused on living, working, and practicing yoga in a way that fits my natural rhythms. So for me that usually looks like practicing and working in the first part of the day, followed by tasks that require less focus in the latter part of the day. I find that the more I fine tune this process, the better everything tends to go!
If you are looking for an awesome place while being on a budget try Yoga to the People ! It’s donnation based. Easy and Friendly!
NAMASTE ALL !