Hopefully by now most of you have met Breanne, the newest teacher to merge into the Yoga Casa Crew. We are so excited, blessed and relieved to have her. As many of you know, we lost a few teachers during the weird pandemic times and I’ve been searching for a new teacher for a while now. So, what took me so long!? Well, I was searching for a body positive yoga teacher. (Simple enough, right?) I simply could not find one……
For those of you who have been around the studio for a while, I’m sure you have heard me talk about body positivity and what it REALLY means. You may have heard me talk about how each of us is valuable regardless of our shape or size. You may have heard me encouraging you to rest and care for yourselves. You may have heard me red light diet talk when it happens in the studio (it may have even been you I red lighted. Sorry, I hope I did it gently.) You may have noticed that I try to sell shirts that go up to at least 4X, that I include pictures of ALL my students on my website and that I always offer pose variations in my classes because EVERY body is different.
I do these things because I want you to have a place where you feel safe; where you can do yoga that feels good without the pressure to lose weight or get six pack abs. This is what I’m driving towards. It’s my dream, my hope, my baby.
Have I made mistakes along the way? Certainly. I say and do the wrong things all the time. And to be honest, one of the mistakes I have made has been in who I hired. This is not to put down our ex-teachers or somehow lessen the positive impact that they had on many of you. And FYI, there is no bad blood, no train wrecks, no hate. Many of my ex-teachers are amazing wonderful people who have gone on to do some pretty incredible things. I enjoyed having them all at the studio but that doesn’t mean my dream was their dream.
I learned early on that small business is a lonely road to travel down. After my first year traveling alone I would have told you my biggest lesson was “no one will love your business like you do.” I would have said it with a chip clearly on my shoulder.
One day I had a realization though. First I had to let go of the bitterness and then I thought, “Of course no one can love my business like me.” They didn’t watch the walls go up, didn’t invest their hard earned savings in to it, didn’t cry after they taught their first class on the floors they picked out. Of course they wouldn’t love it EXACTLY like me. But what if they at least loved the idea? Had I really put out into the world a clear sense of what the studio was all about? Through the traffic of life and the noise of everything going on did people even understand my idea?
Then there was a pandemic and I had time to get clear on that message. I spent hours of painstaking work with a business coach to sort out my mission, my website, my financials, my internal roadblocks and I came out the other end crystal clear on what I wanted.
We made wonderful relationships with people who actually believe and support our mission (such as clinical nutritionist Sarah Petty). We started a Body Positive DFW Facebook group (let me know if you want to join). We (metaphorically) stood on street corners waving big signs saying that “fat” is a state of being, not a feeling, not a joke and not a putdown. Not in our studio.
Now I feel stronger, more clear, more confident in what I want and what I want the studio to be. I’m driving on the right side of the road and I know the way. And just as the hippy, whimsical yogis out dancing under the moon would say, I put that positive energy out and that positive energy has come back to me.
Suddenly, my body positive beginner’s series are sold out. My teachers are on board with the mission. Tiffany (teacher/assistant) makes our social media presence one that makes me smile. (Literally, she sometimes posts things that I have already seen and I think “YES!” and then I click “LOVE” on our OWN post. LOL!! If you ever see “The Yoga Casa loves The Yoga Casa’s” post, you’ll know that was me. Hehe.)
But we were still broken down, engine on fire when it came to finding more teachers. Tiffany (the eternal optimist) and I had many conversations about the need for more body positive yoga teachers. I kept telling her how hard they were to find. She got revved up one day and set out on a journey to look up every yoga teacher in DFW on Instagram to find one in who was body positive. I’m not sure how long she looked but she texted me the next day, defeated. She told me that every teacher she looked at had something on their page about fasting (aka dieting), clean eating (aka dieting) or straight up dieting. I was despondent yet unsurprised. (That’s when I speed texted BreAnne, begged her to come in for an interview and hired her!!)
Tiffany and I decided that the only way to find more body positive teachers was to make them. So, I’m hitting the gas and taking the journey to teach teachers how to be Body Positive and integrate that into their classes. My first teach the teacher will be in July. It’s been a long journey but I think this can be how my dream continues. I can have a body positive studio but I can also have a studio that teaches teachers how to be body positive.
Then maybe someday, my dream will be obsolete. Every gym, yoga studio and workout place will teach with a respect and appreciation that all bodies are different, worthy and complete just as they are. We won’t have to journey to the ends of the earth to find body positive teachers. They will be around every corner, greeting us with a smile. What a beautiful day that will be.
Read my thoughts on yoga, teaching, parenting and everything in between. Shout out to Tiffany Stewart for help with the writing.