Archive for the 'business' Category

no beginning, no end. come see my new site!

A couple of years ago I took a workshop on how to deal with holiday stress. The teacher talked about how there is no beginning and there is no end.

As in:

You finally resolved all the issues with your mother and you’ll never fight again.
This will be the start of peaceful holidays because you’ve figured it all out.

Neither of those things are true. We are never “done” with an issue. And things that seem to “start” actually began long ago.

****

Almost two years ago the seed for a new writing idea, a new website, a new direction was planted.

One year ago the idea and site started growing into shape and form.

The site has been complete for almost ten months. I set launch dates which passed by. I tinkered with the copy and design. I even talked about it on Blogasana. Still, no launch.

But folks,

today I am launching.

Here’s the deal:

The site will never be “done.”  Or perfect, or whatever unreal idea I have of how it should be. By launching with it incomplete as it is, I can get a feel for what final accessories would suit us best. The main pieces are here and now (the fun part) you get to check back to watch us try on different details.

The ideas and purpose of the site will also continually evolve. Right now I have planned yoga tip videos, poetry breaks, recipes, free audio classes and meditation and, like Blogasana, writings on life and teaching. You’ll let me know what sticks (please!) and the rest will fall away.

It’s already started. There comes a point when the thing (the idea, the shift in me, and concretely a new website) has already happened, which means the final step (actually launching) isn’t the beginning. This feels reassuring.

It doesn’t need a drumroll. I mean, I’m excited about this new thing, but it doesn’t have to be all fireworks and caviar. I don’t eat caviar anyway. And although I enjoy sparkles, I don’t need to put a lot of pressure on myself by making this a bigger deal than it is (which is a new place to do what I’ve already been doing).

****

I do want you to come over and celebrate with me.

Even though I’m not completely moved in…

And even though I’ll be moving to http://www.lovewastingtime.com (rather than the wordpress site) in the next few days…

And even though it’s not a big deal…

I still want you to come over, check it out and let me know what you think!

Love Wasting Time — ’cause Lord knows we aren’t very good at that.

Come on, check it out!!

.

teacher responsibility


Photo Credit

I recently attended two workshops with seasoned teachers who approached student disclosure very differently:

One teacher spent 10 or so minutes going around room for introductions and sharing of any injuries or health issues. This teacher actually wrote down participant names and considerations.

The other teacher gathered everyone at the beginning of the workshop and stated very clearly that disclosing health information would not be necessary, saying: I don’t want to lead you to believe that I can remember all of your injuries and illnesses, let alone help you with them. Please take care of yourself.

The first teacher did not claim to be able to address every issue that might arise, but did offer individuals brief suggestions about what to do or avoid related to their situation.

The second teacher didn’t ignore students and added a few bits into the teaching about taking care of hamstrings or lower back.

Two very different styles, two different approaches.

where does your apple fall?

So much juicy potential here. Topics like students being reliant on teachers, how teachers are trained to offer suggestions on how to care for the body (or not), expectation, and how to handle it when a student does gets injured.

Before I weigh in with my practice and how I teach, I’d love to hear how you feel about responsibility in a yoga class — that of the teacher and of the student.

Teachers, how do you approach this topic in your classes? Do you speak specifically to responsibility? How did your teacher training address this? Have you had an experience of student injury — and if so, how did you feel?

And for all of us as students, what is your sense of responsibility for your own body in class? Does it depend on how the teacher sets up the container? Does one approach appeal to you more (or a middle-ground blend) as a learner? And if you’ve been injured in class, how did you react?

Thanks in advance for sharing and happy weekend!

inclusive interview, part ii

In this second set of questions, Anna Guest-Jelley of Curvy Yoga was throwing right over the plate. (I have no idea where a baseball metaphor fits in here.)

They were tough questions. I wrote, rewrote, and edited several times — mostly in trying to find that balance of not being offensive and being honest and from the heart.

Is every kind of studio a match for every person? Are all kinds of yoga equal? Hmmm.

We also chatted about the Curvy Yoga photo shoot that took place at It’s All Yoga, and how Curvy Yoga is part of bigger movement toward acceptance and kindness.

Would love to hear your thoughts in Anna’s comments.

Big thanks for being here…

work hard, play hard

work hard
play hard
try hard
think hard
run hard
do we even love hard?
we definitely hate hard
sometimes we even make our yoga hard

Why does everything have to be so HARD?

We’re a culture of extremists, intensity junkies. We go-go-go until we drop. We hold on as long as we can, and then we fall. We hold it together as long as we can, and then we crash.

What about softness, gentleness, rest, innocence, ease, peace, spaciousness, kindness, love, tenderness, curiosity, slowness?

Not as words or ideas or trite clichés, but as things we do every.day.

Things we make time for. Qualities we bring into our lives. Now — not when it’s the second before too late.

when hard shows up

Of course, I am thinking about this because I see it in myself. I justify it because the things I’m doing are (I think) “good” and worthy things. But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s too much.

The other day I canceled a monthly lunch with friends because I had an overwhelming amount of work to do. Both women gently came back with, Really? You’re canceling lunch to … work.

In my overly stressed state, I was pouring lighter fluid on the fire. Yes, I had a ton to do and there are times to block out the world, hole up, and get to it. But my state was more chaotic than clear. More self-loathing than focused. And by avoiding the one thing in my day that could offer spaciousness and love, I was buying into hard.

extremes are easy

It’s really easy to tell when you’ve worked yourself to exhaustion.

It’s easy to justify a week-long vacation when you haven’t taken a day off in three years.

It’s not so easy to identify the first signs of overwhelm. Or to build mini breaks into your day/week when you don’t feel like you’ve earned them. Or to be soft and slower-paced… because that doesn’t feel like 100%, and boy, do you always give 120.

Extremes give us something to rub up against. We can feel them (as they slam the nervous system back and forth).

Middle ground is much harder to navigate. It’s broader and doesn’t give such a strong sense signal.

how to tell?

Hard feels urgent.

It’s also LOUD. And aggressive.

I have to keep working or else…
I need a day off now or else…

Or your body tells you — the heart races, you get sick, injured, clumsy.

Middle ground is… well, kind of boring. There’s no big drama. No panic. No bright and shiny.

It’s quieter. It’s wide. You may feel resistant to it (I would much rather work than take care of myself).

One way we can develop sensitivity to middle ground is to practice tuning into the subtle. Even now: notice the sounds around you. There are obvious ones, sure. See if you can begin to listen underneath those louder sounds. Are there softer ones? More far away? Closer? A lower tone?

Or go outside. Not for a power walk, but to sit and watch the leaves dance on a tree. Look at the sky. Plop your tush down in the grass and do nothing. No, you can’t take your phone with you.

We’re talking about feeling spacious. Feeling ease. Feeling soft. What would that feel like?

do the little things before you need a big thing

Take a break before you need it. Rest. Go slower. For God’s sake, go to lunch with your friends (which, by the way, I did—tears and all).

Because here’s the thing: you do not have an endless resource of energy. If you don’t take care of you, you won’t be able to do this good and worthy work, at least not well or with joy.

What one thing can you do right now to come into middle ground, to get out of hard, to take care of yourself?

interview on inclusiveness

At a recent workshop at the studio the teacher asked participants why they were there.

To learn more about the chakras.
To open my heart.
To study with you.

Because this studio is one of my favorite places in the world. The people are so sincere and welcoming and I just love being here.

It genuinely surprises me when people say things like this. I mean, it’s one of my favorite places too, but I forget that other people, for their own reasons, are impacted by it.

So when Anna Guest-Jelley of Curvy Yoga™ wanted to interview me about how to create an inclusive environment, I was a little humbled. My first thought was, I don’t know! You just slap up some pretty paint, open the doors, and people come.

Thank goodness there was a second thought. After reflecting on her wonderful questions, it became clear that — of course — a lot goes into making a welcoming, inclusive space.

Read part one of the interview about how to make inclusive sauce! Be sure to leave your favorite ingredient in her comments. And on Thursday, I might get into a little trouble in part two — check back for a more opinionated stand on inclusiveness.

the tale of two estheticians

You have to pick:

 

You can go to an esthetician who treats you like a queen — offers you flavored water, has a beautiful, serene spa and may be the nicest person you’ve ever met. You don’t love the products, she does a fair job on a facial and charges a whole arm and your first born.

Or

You can go to an esthetician who charges half that, whose products you love, who rocks a facial, but her professionalism, atmosphere and pampering leave you feeling far less than special.

Which one do you choose?

 

You can go to Targ-Mart (aka the big box store of your choice) and save on time, convenience and the dollar for items mass made in China with an unknown impact on the environment.

Or

You can go to three different local small businesses and pay close to double for items made in the U.S. in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Which do you choose?

 

You can go to a yoga studio with slick design and marketing owned by a person with confirmed slimy business practices and take classes with an instructor you do not respect as a person but who is a fantastic asana teacher.

Or

You can go to classes with a teacher you adore as a person, whose classes are technically not very polished or skillful in a studio that is modest and lacks business finesse.

Which one do you choose?

 

No, you can’t have them both — sometimes the wonderful and kind esthetician does not give the best facials.

Yes, there’s all kinds of gray area here. But play along — no ifs, ands or buts. Which do you choose?

 

We may be feeling now more than ever the power of money. The power of choice.

And the truth is not everyone will make it. What if your choice puts the other person out of business? What if your choice keeps one in business?

Does it depend on what’s at stake (would you put up with a callous doctor because she could save your life)? On what you really want to buy (being treated like a queen vs. a great facial)?

Are you ready to own that kind of responsibility and power?

Photo credits: barbie, china, angry yogis.

what time is it?

I’m not going to beat around the bush here: I rarely end class on time. Ok, I don’t end on time. Ever. Always a couple of minutes late, if not more.

Ok, so let’s get down to business.

I know this. I’ve journaled about it, been counseled on it, sweet talked myself and guilted myself.

Oh yes, there’s all kinds of good material here like control, worthiness, arrogance, scarcity, perceived value, insecurity and poor planning. We could dig into the psychological roots of each (please don’t).

I go through phases of being better. And strangely, I always end teacher training sessions on time to the minute (maybe a seven hour day actually feels like enough).

But the reality is it’s a problem. I feel guilty and anxious when I look at the clock, apologetic when students leave, and it demeans my teaching. It is simply not a respectful, professional practice.

Obviously…

When a teacher ends class late it causes all kinds of problems at the studio. For some classes, we have just 15 minutes turn around. When that’s shaved to 10 minutes or less, students feel rushed going out and stressed coming in.

It’s disrespectful to the next teacher. I’ve been on the receiving end of a late class and my blood pressure rises (pot calling kettle?).

Imagine me at a staff meeting urging teachers to end on time. There might as well be giggles and snickers around the circle.

Positive examples

My yoga teaching compadre, Madeleine, has the timing of class down to a T: head toward supine for a twist or other nicey-nice with 15 minutes left. At 10 till they’re in Savasana. Eight minutes there (for her 60 minute class) and she’s saying Namaste on the hour.

Makes perfect sense.

My third grade-teacher friend, Tami, always ends class on time—whether it’s yoga class or 3rd grad class. Here’s her convincing reason: the bell goes off and the kids leave. There is no keeping them over for four more minutes. Class ends at 3:20, not when she decides it’s over.

That’s a good little shift for me. Class ends at 10:30.

Another way

I’m asking for help. Support. Not a pass, because this is something I really want to work on — a way in which to make myself vulnerable. However, what I don’t need is excused or abused.

Here’s what I would like: your tips, your experiences, language and framing around time that you find helpful in boundary setting. If you would rather not leave a comment, you can email me at michelle@itsallyoga.com.

Thanks in advance!


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