Maiaflow by Shakira

i’m so grateful that my friend Shakira asked me to participate in her grad school project! proud to share this video in which i discuss part of how i’ve been feeling about yoga and my account and “brand”.

in the video, she juxtaposes footage we shot a couple weeks ago with posts from my account from earlier this year and last year when i used to post a lot of pictures of myself practicing asana. you may have noticed that i don’t really do that very much anymore. this year has been a lot, both globally and personally. i’ve posted about this a few times throughout the year, but i want to explain why i haven’t felt right centering my white able body on my account.

personally, i have been dealing with some serious pain this year. i’ve been feeling joint pain due to my hypermobility since about 2015, but this is the first year i’ve started to take it seriously and put in the work to heal. this year i got serious about physical therapy, and though i’m still in a lot of pain a lot of the time, i feel good about my progress, at least in my understanding of why i feel this way. a big reason why i feel this way is because for years, i let my hypermobility go unchecked without putting in the work to stabilize. i feel no shame about the pictures i used to post, but some of them honestly make me cringe now, knowing that working on my flexibility over my strength training is what caused the serious instability and pain i’m dealing with now.

i talk about the other reason i haven’t wanted to post pictures of myself practicing physical asana in this video. 2017 has been a year of truth-telling, uncovering, lifting the veil. finally, more people are seeing our country and our government for what it really is – a white supremacist system that is violent to people who aren’t cis, white, hetero, male, and/or wealthy. as one white woman, i can’t single-handedly take down this system, but i believe i can use my privilege to make a small difference by being mindful of what i post on my little platform. yoga is so much more than just skinny white women doing splits and handstands – yoga is about telling the truth, yoga is about connection to yourself and others and the universe, yoga is about love. asana is a small part of what prepares us for the real work. every single skinny able bodied cis white woman who fills their feeds with these images is doing their part to bolster the white supremacist structure that unfortunately rules the western yoga world. this has real consequences: it implies that the only people who can practice yoga are white skinny women who can do splits. it alienates people, and it’s wrong.

i love yoga because it is for every single body. one of my goals for 2018 is to find a way to use my platform to communicate that, to encourage every single body to try yoga in some way, whether it’s lying in savasana or practicing breathwork or meditating or inquiring a thought process or being honest with yourself. yoga reminds us to slow down. it connects us to our minds, to our bodies, to our hearts. yoga has the power to change the world if we all practice. it’s time for every privileged person to make an effort to step aside, stop centering their own image, and use their privilege to make the idea of yoga sold on social media more inclusive to all people.

shout out to all of the accounts who have been on this wave for years. i am so inspired by you.

i learned a lot this year. i learned about my body and my pain, my mind and my habits, about our country and culture. i stopped being afraid to sit with the pain, to feel what i feel. i read so many amazing books (read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi), watched so many incredible movies (go see The Disaster Artist) and listened to so much beautiful music (SZA made my year). i taught a lot of yoga, both private and group classes. i spent time with my family and friends, and traveled to miami, massachusetts, and paris !! i wrote 365 pages in my journal and i meditated for ten minutes every single day. i hope to spend 2018 continuing to learn – about the world, myself and my purpose.

thank you for reading this and sticking around. i love you.