The Conversation

YJ’s cover model talks about moth­er­hood, #metoo, and the fu­ture of yoga (and it’s not on­line or on so­cial me­dia).

Yoga Journal - - Contents -

I spend a lot of time ev­ery day just laugh­ing and smil­ing with my baby girl. There’s some­thing so beau­ti­fully in­tel­li­gent about feel­ing your feel­ings in the mo­ment, the way ba­bies do. There’s no fil­ter or fak­ing it. When she’s sad, she cries; when she’s happy she laughs. I think we would all feel a lot bet­ter if we al­lowed our­selves to feel things when they sur­face.

In 2014, I de­cided I wanted to do some­thing good with the in­flu­ence I had as @yo­ga_­girl. I was sick of post­ing yoga pho­tos on In­sta­gram. And I started feel­ing unin­spired by the yoga com­mu­nity that grew out of so­cial me­dia, even though I was part of that growth. A lot of peo­ple in my life passed away that year, so I started writ­ing about my painful jour­ney. My en­tire In­sta­gram fol­low­ing changed. I used to get ques­tions about yoga poses or pants, but then peo­ple started ask­ing for se­ri­ous help— with de­pres­sion and loss, eat­ing disor­ders, even sui­cide. I’m not a ther­a­pist, so my staff and I be­gan look­ing for peo­ple we could con­nect read­ers to. I re­al­ized I needed to go way deeper if I was go­ing to ac­tu­ally be of ser­vice. That’s when we started oneOeight.com (on­line ed­u­ca­tion), which spurred 109 World (a seva or­ga­ni­za­tion), our an­i­mal res­cue, and even­tu­ally Is­land Yoga in Aruba.

I want Is­land Yoga, our re­treat and teacher train

ing busi­ness, to re­main a very dif­fer­ent type of yoga ex­pe­ri­ence. The work we do is more re­lated to per­sonal de­vel­op­ment than asana. Our method in­volves a lot of shar­ing—in groups and one on one. Our train­ings help peo­ple feel whole. If we don’t feel whole, we’re al­ways go­ing to feel like we’re not enough. But if you can be a whole per­son, you’re go­ing to be a good yoga teacher.

For me, yoga is now about con­nect­ing peo­ple so they can cre­ate com­mu­nity. That’s re­ally hard to do on­line and through so­cial me­dia. I kind of hope ev­ery­thing spins back around and drops off the In­ter­net—that peo­ple loop back into the prac­tice of stu­dent-teacher re­la­tion­ships and be­ing in a room with other peo­ple. So­cial me­dia still has a place—for ex­am­ple the #metoo move­ment. I just wish more teach­ers, es­pe­cially younger teach­ers in the on­line space, would think of so­cial me­dia as a way to help the world, in­stead of just as a way to be­come a big name. There is so much work to be done.

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