Practice What You Preach

 

“Where are all the college kids?”  He asked.

 

I stood there.  Stumped.  I love college students.  I used to work with them at the university.  I have an amazing group now.  Some college students but mostly a mix.  A mix of real people.  Old.  Young.  In the Middle.  I always considered myself at 41 “in the middle”.  However, as soon as I took my clothes off, I noticed a weirdness in this student that went above his regular self.  He was uncomfortable for sure.  As I put everyone in child’s pose, he stood up and went to the wall.  I teach a few more poses then he is on his phone texting in the corner.

 

“Are you ok?”  I whisper trying not to disrupt the class.

 

“Yeah, I just don’t have the energy.”

 

“Do you need to leave?”  (I would usually ask him to stay but I felt something else.)

 

He left.

 

I taught the class and still felt shaken.  No one noticed.  Why was I so shaken?  Well, I heard him say much more that the words that actually came out of his mouth.  I heard this:

 

“Wow!  Lots of old people here.  Wow, A.J., not only are you fat…but you’re old!  Oh!  And you’re a failure as a yoga teacher too!  There are no hot people here.  Shame on you.”

 

I conduct body image workshops.  I consider myself an expert in this area.  Most of the time, I’m very confident…much more than I used to be.  This just shows it is progress not perfection.  Maybe if I was young and beautiful like I used to be.   Maybe I would be more accepted.  I say things in class like “Watch what you say in your head as you struggle with a pose.  What do you say about your body when you see it in the mirror.”  All to remind others to check themselves.  However, I need reminding too.

 

When I got home I visited my “tools”.  I was able to re-evaluated reality vs. fiction.  That young student’s experience is something I will never know.  Truthfully, it is none of my business what others think of me.  I need to practice daily in order to reach self-acceptance.  I commit to not wallow or obsess about what others think of me, but rather, to practice what I preach.

 

Sticks and Stones

There was a time in my life that I thought words did not have power. I was wrong. This was brought to my attention by my friend this week. She is a serious business owner and keeps trying to take yoga to those in need. She has met with several business owners…one for a business account, one for marketing and one for PR of a non-profit she owns.

It was obvious she was very upset. She was angry, frustrated and felt violated. She was crying and gritting her teeth. All three men wanted sex from her and were very forward about it. All she wanted was for them to take her seriously and treat her as an equal. She wanted to be professional not a piece of meat. Not that I am now stereotyping men. Many men are amazing people with no ill intentions. As a matter of fact, I think men get a bad rap sometimes. Guilty until proven innocent of being a predator.

Words do matter. I thought back to when I was a young woman in a working environment. I had men behave inappropriately around me all the time. I even lost a job over not sleeping with the boss.

Words do matter. I have a Transsexual student that uses the pronoun she. If you call her a he, that hurts. She does not want to have to prove herself as a woman but, rather, just be.

We need to come together as a community to let others know that we take them seriously and realize that “sticks and stones might break my bones, but words will never hurt me” may not be so true after all.

Blogging Peer Pressure

I have avoided blogging for years. It is journaling but publicly to the world. Bloggers share their most inner thoughts…inner secrets. It seems so vulnerable. So scary. What will others think? Will I offend anyone? Will I fail? Will I be successful?

I don’t mean successful on the blog, but the whole thing. You see, I’m a yoga teacher. A new business owner. And I’m trying to sell something that is so dear to my heart…Nude Yoga. “Why?”, you ask. Ok, let’s start from the beginning: Yoga saved my life and nudism enriched it. When I first started practicing yoga (clothed yoga), I would cry every session. I had so much going on inside. So much that I had been holding on to. I was miserable. As I began to practice regularly, I found my power in the ability to see what my body could actually do. Then I noticed my emotions changing. I was calm. Grounded.

The first time I was in an official nudist situation, I loved it! No one gawked or was disgusted by my body. I saw all shapes and sizes of people and never felt more comfortable. All eye contact. A recreational nudist was born!

So Why Blog Now?
Peer pressure. I have had several friends and business acquaintances tell me to. Yes, I am listening and jumping directly into my fear of writing publicly. Also, our Tucson classes are very successful! We have to turn students away, there are so many. There is a community brewing and they need a blog.

So really, A.J., why?
In order to be a good leader of this community, I must first learn to be vulnerable. I need to live by example and dig deeper within. As I look forward there is a lot of fear…but also, there is bravery. There is confidence. There is empowerment. There is support. Nude Yoga gave me all that.