Yoga

#FREEDANA

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By Anna

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks, I'm sure you've at least seen or heard something about the lawsuits between Alo Yoga, Cody, and Dana Falsetti. If you haven't, then you're in luck, because I will post links at the bottom with details about the cases and written responses from BOTH sides. As a co-host of WTF!? Yoga Podcast I just felt like it was finally time to discuss the issue from our little platform. So buckle up because I'm about to give my unwarranted opinion on the matter. 

I have been following this situation since it was brought to light by Kino MacGregor. I have nothing but respect and admiration for Dana and everything she represents. I have been practicing online with Cody for years and as I'm sure you've guessed by now, I am not a fan of Alo. When I heard the news, I was pretty fired up about the whole situation. One GIANT corporation against a 24 year self-employed yoga teacher. If you're not a yoga teacher or even an insta-famous yoga teacher (which I'm sure most of us are not...) it is damn hard to make a living from teaching. That point aside, Alo must feel pretty threatened if they need to sue Dana for a 60 second Instagram story that lasted 24 hours explaining how she would be parting ways with Cody after Alo merged with the company and that her content would no longer be a part of Cody (unless previously purchased). Again I will post links with ALL of the info including a link to Dana's post which sparked the lawsuit. 

Like I said, I've been following the stories as they unfold, I signed the petition to #FreeDana and #FreeKino (because yes, Kino would also like to part ways as her views do not align with those of Alo's). But that's all I did. I watched the drama unfold and just got angry. I saw other yogis that I respect join the fight through social media urging people to email Alo and Cody, comment on their posts, direct message, anything to get their attention.

Well that all changed yesterday when I was supposed to be doing research for our next episode but I was procrastinating instead by watching Instagram stories. Kino popped up on a live feed crying and basically saying that she was completely drained on all levels and she doesn't know what to do at this point. Alo has been blocking those who try to comment anything supporting Dana and also deleting comments altogether. Now that's dirty. Watching this woman who has been a pillar of strength not only through this ordeal but just in general was heartbreaking. I felt for Kino, for Dana, for everyone who has been making an effort and began to get really upset that nothing was making a difference. BUT  (there's that word again Katie!) then I realized I hadn't really done anything. Yea I signed the petition but that took a total of 60 seconds. So instead of sitting there upset that nothing was happening I decided to write Alo an email and cancel my Cody subscription. Will it cause them to drop the lawsuits? Probably not, but if enough of us get motivated and let them know that they are losing not only customers but the respect of a huge part of the community then perhaps we can not only help Dana and Kino but create a more positive and inclusive yoga community.

I've decided to attach the email below...

A few years ago when I was still a baby yogi , I used to admire the pretty pictures that would flood my feed from Alo Yoga. I admired the clothing I couldn’t afford, the perfect bodies in the clothing, and the advanced poses I felt like I would never be able to achieve. More recently I came across a post saying something along the lines of,  "unfollow any accounts that make you feel anything less than perfect."  I have to say this was a mind blowing moment. I instantly unfollowed and TON of accounts that didn’t have images that I couldn’t directly relate too, including your various accounts and many of your ambassadors that I don't feel are authentic or inclusive. Then very recently I saw Dana and Kino’s posts regarding the lawsuits and I have to say I am SO disappointed. Dana has always kept it real. She has never made me feel anything less than okay with my body and my practice. She motivates and support a whole community of yogis that are underrepresented in social media and marketing. And so this is my long winded way of saying PLEASE drop the lawsuits against Dana Falsetti. YES I have read both sides of the argument. And I have to say it really is a David and Goliath story. Come on guys, do the right thing.

Thank you for listening,

Anna Skleba

Registered Yoga Instructor

 

And that's all folks. I just wanted to bring the story to the light for those who were not aware and perhaps inspire a few more people to email/donate/message/all the things!!! Let's make a difference friends! Thank you for reading.

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2018/03/a-battle-for-the-heart-of-yoga-when-big-companies-try-to-buy-yoga-teachers-and-sometimes-succeed-kino-macgregor/

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2018/03/the-truth-behind-kinos-letter-paul-javid/

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2018/03/what-dana-said-about-alo-cody-what-we-as-lawyers-see-as-the-best-outcome-rachel-and-zach-dyer/

https://inversionjunkie.blog/2018/03/29/the-truth-behind-alo-yogas-marketing-tactics-and-the-sexual-harassment-allegations-against-ceo-danny-harris/

https://www.gofundme.com/supportyogis

 

What are we practicing for?

By Anna

Photo by Alizé Jireh Yaccino

Photo by Alizé Jireh Yaccino

If you listen to the podcast then you know that I am currently obsessed with the book The Yamas and Niyamas by Deborah Adele. I was reading the section on Tapas (self-discipline) this afternoon when the author asked the reader "What are we practicing for? When is the last time you even asked yourself this question?" pg. 138. It was one of those questions that stops you in your tracks and feels like a slap in the face. 

If you asked me this question 10 years ago I would have told you that yoga was a form of exercise I used to stay in shape. But now, where do I even begin? My practice has evolved and shifted many times over the last decade. My asana practice has almost always been fiery. I love vinyasa flow and working up a good sweat. That being said, I have also learned in the last year or so to listen to my body. What I need is not always what I want. I have really tried in this past year to go with the flow. Replace my usual vigorous pace with a yin class when I wake up sore and tired. Lie in legs up the wall for 15 minutes and reset after a full morning of teaching instead of trying to fit in a long sweaty flow when my body has already done enough that day. This is something I have struggled with for a very long time. But it's getting easier. 

I think all these years of practice have lead me to this place of being able to listen and understand the language of my physical and subtle bodies working together. This is a big part of the "why" do I practice. The 2 hours in the morning that I set aside for yoga is necessary for me. I begin with meditation and then move onto my physical practice. I find that beginning my day with yoga helps me to clear the dust of day before. I can shed the layers little by little until my brain is only concentrating on my breath and my movement. Yoga is the only practice that does this for me; removes the fog and brings me into the present moment. 

This is why I practice. To hit the reset button every single day. To be open to whatever experiences come my way on the mat and off the mat. I love watching the layers fall away as I practice. Beginning in meditation, observing where my mind wants to go that morning and then moving into the physical practice and seeing my body begin to open and respond to each breath. I really don't see myself ever giving up yoga. I have no doubt that in another year or another 10 years my practice will look completely different. And that's okay. Always remaining open to possibility. This is why I practice.

 

WTF is Sound Healing?! Anna Drops In on a Singing Bowl Meditation Workshop

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By: Anna

If you have been listening to our show, especially the past couple episodes, then you're an expert by now on energy, chakras, and our energy body... JUST KIDDING! But at least this might not sound like total gibberish to you. If you have not listened, then WTF???? again, kidding, but seriously get on it already.

Here's a super short simplified version of energy and how it works. Beyond our everyday physical body is an energetic body. Every living being on this planet operates and lives by the flow of energy, also known as prana. We have seven main energy centers called chakras. They begin at the base of the spine (our root chakra) and go all the way up the spine and end right above our head (the crown chakra). It is important to keep these chakras clean and balanced. Now if we experience a blockage or imbalance in our chakras the whole system is thrown off and negative things can manifest like disease, negative thoughts, depression, and all sorts of not fun stuff.

However there a billion different ways one can tune up their chakra system, and a quick google search (or listening to episode 11) can provide buckets of information. One way of clearing our chakras is sound healing, and this brings me to the point of all this rambling...

On Sunday, I attended a singing bowl meditation led by one of my absolute favorite local teachers, Jessi Rae, founder of Wild Roots Yoga and Bodywork. If you live in the Chicagoland area I highly recommend catching a class or workshop with this yoga goddess. As soon as I saw this event was taking place, it was one of those moments where my brain and heart just said "Yes. I need this right now." I have always been one to trust my intuition, otherwise known as your gut.

As a waitress, I usually work on Sundays, but at the last minute, I got the shift covered. In my opinion, this was further confirmation that this was exactly what I needed in this moment.

I walked into the yoga studio Sunday afternoon ready to chill. There were about 15 of us in a circle on our mats with all of the props (blankets, blocks, bolsters), and Jessi was in the middle of the circle with candles and her seven crystal quartz singing bowls. She gave a quick explanation of how the bowls were all tuned to different vibrations, each one connecting with a different chakra. We made ourselves as comfy as possible, closed our eyes, and for the next hour and 15 minutes, we were off!

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Now I can't speak for every person in the room, but for me, the time flew by. I'm going to say that for the first 30 minutes, it just felt good. There's no other way for me to describe it. I've done one other sound healing meditation before this, and I have to say it was a very different experience. However, that was about four years ago, and I was at a very different stage in my life. Quick picture: all alone in Bali in my final week of six months of solo adventuring around the world and feeling very confused and homesick. So it makes sense that my experience this time around was much more positive and less anxiety ridden. 

Each time Jessi switched bowls, I could literally feel it in a different part of my physical body. It would just sort of light up and start to tingle. I could feel my energetic body expanding to the edges of the very room. This might sound crazy to you, and if you've never had any sort of energy work done, I highly recommend it.

In the last 20 minutes, I started getting all this information. I felt like a computer just downloading as much information as I could take in. It started with images of all these different energetic presences in the room. Every person had one or more different beings working on them or just standing by. It was AWESOME.

Then I started getting information about the upcoming year. It was more focused and directed at me personally. For the last couple weeks, I had been asking the question, "What now? What's next?" Without getting too personal, I got the information I needed. And it was crystal clear. Also painfully obvious...like DUH I knew it all along. But for some reason, I wasn't ready to receive this information until that very moment. Or perhaps I wasn't ready to take on the commitment and the work until just now. 

When it ended, I was like WHAT? Where did the 60 minutes go? I lay there for a couple more minutes just trying to ground myself and reconnect to my physical body. When I left, I still felt like I was literally floating above myself (I've always had a problem with grounding, even though I'm a Virgo. Hello? Earth element, where are you when I need you?)

After about 15-20 minutes, I finally started to feel like I wasn't high as a kite. My chakras haven't been that balanced since probably ever. It's been almost a week since that workshop, and I still feel light, clear, and confident in my next move.

This was my experience out of 15 other people. Maybe some people fell asleep or time dragged ass for them. Perhaps some people experienced anxiety, sadness, or even anger. I can only tell you my experience.

If you've never tried sound healing before, hopefully I've answered some of your questions about what you can expect. However, your experience will be totally unique to you and absolutely perfect. Even if it doesn't feel perfect. At the risk of sounding like a total hippie, the universe will give exactly what you need in that moment. Now go out and experience the magic of sound healing and all it has to offer!

 

Photo courtesy of Alize Jireh

Photo courtesy of Alize Jireh