Overall, the last month has been amazing. JUST SO AMAZING! In my last post, I couldn’t even explain how happy and at peace I felt and the feeling is still the same. I finished my yoga teacher training, completed my advanced open water diving certification, and am now en route to New Zealand (when I was writing this, because I had 11.5 hours of reading and writing after I switched seats so a man could sit next to his wife and then my video player didn’t work whooomp whooomp)!
There are many things that have made this time amazing, but a big part of it is the wonderful people I’ve met. Its only been 10 days since I finished yoga, but I truly miss everyone.
Being with a group of supportive women is awesome. I have a lot of women friends in life, but there have also been stretches of times where I’ve mostly surrounded myself with men. They are very good times, and I still love men… but it’s made me realize how powerful a group of great women can be. I really hope everyone has experienced what it’s like to be part of a group that is loving and supportive, with diverse experiences and backgrounds that helps you grow and everyone appreciates how special it is if you have it.
And it got me thinking of a potential for my next big venture: Yoga for EVERYbody…. Specifically curvy girls. As my friend Lisa suggested, Full Bodied Yoga 😊
Before I go into it, I realize the first 2 points could be inflammatory. It’s just my own personal perspective, and no offense intended!! But anyway, here’s why I think it would be cool:
1. I am often the biggest girl in my yoga class. I’m ok with that! But it intimidated me. When I started practicing yoga, I felt like yoga was just for thin women who look good in spandex. Now that I’ve started considering it, I look around more at yoga. Again, this is not a slight at the yogis who I have practiced with. I have nothing but love for my fellow yogis! I just think we have an opportunity to bring even more people into yoga 😊 In Ko Tao I was the biggest person in the class. In Bangkok, there was a woman who was maybe in her 40’s and had some hips. She seemed to gravitate me. When we started practicing headstands in class, she gave me a look like hahaha yeah right… but then I motioned for her to join me at the wall and even if we couldn’t do handstands we could still practice the steps leading up to it. Which leads me to…
2. I’ve only had 1 yoga teacher who was my size. That’s not to say that you can’t teach people who aren’t like you, but teacher training really opened my eyes to the idea that many (not all) teachers can’t put themselves in my shoes er mat. My yogi I studied under was phenomenal. He is a kind and smart man who really is passionate about yoga and taught me so much. But he’s never realllllllly been overweight or. He can intellectually teach about how to modify and make things accessible, but it’s not because he knew from experience. It was pretty funny, the blocks the studio had were actually pretty shitty, and I’m sure it’s because he doesn’t need a block to reach the floor 😊 Maybe this is an n=1 scenario that once I actually do some market research my whole theory will fall apart, but I think having a teacher who isn’t perfect is ok! I see wellness as a journey, not a destination. When I’m focused on an outcome – like doing a certain diet, or training for a race, or something like that, I see success in the short term, but if it’s not a part of the life I want to be living, I’m not going to do it. To me, having a teacher with some physical limitations makes me relate to them more, not less… which takes me to the next point that…
3. And yoga is a journey, not a destination and is for EVERYbody. Physically, yeah, it’s a good workout. Stretching and strength. It’s no impact. The equipment needed is minimal. I think that’s what would draw people in, the physical practice of yoga as a form of exercise. In practicing everyday, I lost weight and gained strength. My resting heart rate decreased. It’s clearly good for the body. But a big part of the physical benefits are also with the mental benefits. Focus. Being present. One breath at a time. Practicing letting go of what doesn’t serve you anymore. Practicing self love and appreciation. Sharing your practice and energy and light with other yogis… which brings me to…
4. But actually, the average size for women now in the US is a 14 or I maybe even heard a 16?! So over half of women in the US might feel what I feel? And they need to exercise. And you know what, they probably want a group who understands them to support them. Like I said at the beginning, being a part of a group of women who can come together from different walks of life and go join you on your journey is an amazing experience. I was only at Green Mountain for a week last fall, but it was amazing and impactful and I still about the women I was with a lot. I know my yoga teacher training group will be the same. I mean, it already has been, I stalked Sue and her family across Thailand hehe 😊
5. Now when I take off my emotional touchy feel hat and put on my ruthless business hat, I think commercializing those first 4 principles has some legs!! Women are half the population, and half the women in America are “plus size” or close to it. Gyms, fitness, wellness, nutrition, etc is a huge business. Listing off all the areas I’m seeing health and wellness permeating the world would be a huge list. But without doing much research, it doesn’t seem like it’s catering to all sizes of bodies. At corepower yoga – which I love and is one of the reasons why I love yoga – most of the clothes they sell are smalls. I have to hunt for ones that fit me and I’ve never seen anything “plus size.” It’s rare to see anything bigger than an 8. At gyms like Lifetime or the YMCA, yes they diverse programming, but are big people reallllllly welcome? Just look at the towels. There has been plenty of times in my life that wrapping one of those bad boys around me after a shower is indecent, because it doesn’t actually cover my boobs and butt (and thus lady bits) all at once. I know clothes and towels are not what makes a health club but in my opinion, they are symbolic of who you really think your customer is. I know I would need additional resources and experts, but I think there is an opportunity. This is when it starts to become real, and my rational business mind knows that I need some additional information and expert to determine how viable my Fullbody Yoga empire can be. But also my heart has a lot of reason to believe.
6. Finally, as if this whole list hasn’t been personal yet, this one is really personal – honoring the legacy of my mom. She died of a lung disease. Her lungs slowly hardened and thus stopped working. Seeing someone who can’t breathe is awful. Rationally, I know there are worse things out there, but to me it seems like the worst thing in the world. Yes, yoga is about breathing and as corny as it sounds, often when I think about breathing intentionally, I think of my mom and am grateful that I have the ability to breath deeply and fill my lungs with air. Sometimes I even tear up when we work on breathing and really focus on our breath. It’s a symbol of the gift of life and I can feel connected to her and like I’m honoring her when I focus on my breathing.
The only chance my mom had to prolong her life, was a lung transplant. There is an algorithm as to how the transplant board determines where a patient sits on the transplant list – level of sickness, donor match, etc. But to even get on the list, a patient needs to meet health criteria – blood pressure, age, cholesterol, drinking, smoking, I know there’s more… and weight. My mom met all the criteria, but she was overweight. She knew she had to lose weight, actually a lot of weight, to get the transplant. But I think she was in denial about the severity of her condition, and she was scared. And she was sick and couldn’t breath and probably just felt like shit because her body was not getting adequate oxygen. At the time, it was really hard for me to see, what I perceived as her not trying to lose weight and thus not trying to live. It made really sad and mad, but also helpless. I couldn’t help her breath. I couldn’t force her to lose weight. I couldn’t love her enough to keep her alive. Now, I can see the situation a bit more clearly and rationally and I think we were all scared. It was a dire situation. She eventually did get down to the weight she needed to qualify for the transplant, but it was too late. She died of kidney failure when she was #1 on the transplant list.
I can’t go back and save her. And even if I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, it still would have been hard to help her. My mom was strong and stubborn and nobody could tell her what to do. To her, the weight loss was probably the icing on the cake, of this insurmountable disease. But it has helped to shape how I look at things that seem too hard to try or when things start slipping away from your control. I probably won’t be able to help people who are really sick like her. But maybe I can help people before they get like her. Lung disease aside, when you wake up one day and think what the fuck, how did I get here and don’t know how to even go about fixing the damage you’ve spent years doing. It’s really hard. It’s a big part of the reason why I just decided to quit my job and go on this adventure because I didn’t love the path and thought God was telling me to take this time and get it together.
When I’m on this holiday-funemployment-living the dream phase, I think I can see how easily I get scared, because I don’t really have any worries or things scaring me on my day to day. All I have to do is thrive. I was scared to try crow pose. There comes a point where you have to trust yourself and shift forward. You can’t lift your toes and not have your head in a position where you can faceplant. But you just have to decide, do I trust myself or not? If I can’t do it, what the worst that will happen? And that’s become one of my favorite parts of my trip – trying things that scare me. Being super scared but not giving up and eventually finding things that make me feel more alive and free than I could have imagined. Scuba diving is like that. This whole trip is like that. Because as I wrote “all I have to do is thrive,” I thought, isn’t that what everyday should be like? The point isn’t to get from one milestone to another. To hit your KPIs. Because there’s always another milestone, another KPI. I’m not done with the funemployment adventure. It started with 2 things – Spanish in South America and yoga in Thailand. And the one I’ve done has been pretty damn awesome and meaningful, but I just don’t think I’m done yet. But it’s already taught me a lot about myself, and taken me on some awesome new off shoots… like scuba diving. I love scuba diving!!! I just booked a liveaboard for 3 days in the Great Barrier Reef in December!! But I will admit, this new yogarific vision seems like the perfect summation of business, coaching, living a life of worth and service, making meaningful relationships matter as a part of a career, honoring my mom’s legacy, and putting a commitment to my own health and wellness as a priority.
So as I travel and explore, I’m keeping this at the forefront. But I’m open to the other lessons along the way. But in the meantime, if you’re looking for a yoga teacher or an investment opportunity, hit me up! 🙂 But also, I now kind of want to live in Koh Tao and be a scuba teacher or just live in Auckland where it just seems a lovely life… so don’t write the checks yet 😉