Health and Wellness



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.


My But Tattoo

By: Kati

Photo by:  Alizé Jireh

Photo by: Alizé Jireh

I have a but tattoo.

I show it off all the time. Almost everyone I know has seen it. I’ve shown my friends, my parents, my grandma. Even coworkers.

So I’ve been leading you on. I don’t have a tattoo on my butt. Yet. I have a tattoo just below the elbow on the inside of my left arm that reads: , but…

The forearm is actually very hard to photograph.

The forearm is actually very hard to photograph.

This tiny tat is partly a nod to grammar (the 6th yama, in my opinion), but it’s mostly a reminder to me. It faces me so I can read it whenever I need a “but,” whenever I need to reroute my thinking.

For weeks, I fruitlessly explained to my friends why I wanted this tattoo. No one quiiiiiite understood, which was fine by me. When I went in to get a different tattoo, I asked my artist if she could also tattoo “, but…” on my arm at the same time, and I had no intention of giving her an explanation. She looked at the single word I’d typed and printed out, and almost reverently spoke the words I’d been saying to my friends for weeks: “‘But’ changes everything.”

I’ve written journal entries and essays about the word “but.” I’ve tried to convince people of the importance of this tiny little conjunction and the comma that precedes it. With all the rich, punchy, flowy words in the English language, it may sound ridiculous that my absolute favorite one is “but,” but it is.

I didn’t really grasp what I was going for with my “but” until I was researching for our “Niyamas - Part 1” episode this week.

“But” is santosha (contentment), the second niyama. “But” is how we find contentment in the everyday and in the extraordinary circumstances. It’s how we keep our head above water when we have a day of shit luck or when terrible things happen in the world.

From external: I didn’t get the promotion, but I’m living comfortably on the money I make now.

To internal: I lost a family member, but that loss has brought the rest of my family together.

To global: An earthquake destroyed my town, but we have come together to rebuild.

And if you’re still at a loss, here’s a universal option to use for any situation: BUT I’m still alive. I’m still here.

We have the power to look at any dismal circumstance and say, “but…” This helps us find parts of the situation that we can be content with, and I promise you, contentedness can be had in any situation. If it’s something we can’t change, we have only two choices: Be content or be miserable. If it’s something we can change, then that’s wonderful; exert effort to do your duty, and you can be content that you are doing what needs to be done.

And if you’re sorely disappointed that this post has nothing to do with actual butts, I give you THIS.

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.


Reunited and It Feels So Good

By: Katie

Sir Bentley

Sir Bentley

A couple days ago, I recommitted to my practice.

Reunited and it feeeeels so goooood!


On Sunday, I totally gutted my yoga space. It had become a repository for a whole bunch of knick knacks, laundry, garbage, and dust bunny carnage. I cleaned every corner and set up my little table to create a calm, welcoming vibe and finished it off with a new Himalayan salt lamp. The centerpiece is a lamp my Granddad made when I was a baby, and it’s the centerpiece of my li’l altar.

The warm light created a calm environment, and I felt grounded right away, at home on my mat, wondering why I’d been away so long. There was no judgment. I’m over that. I didn’t feel guilty about losing my personal practice through months of time constrictions and physical limitations. I just felt grateful for coming back.

I know that my effort clock is a little wonky when I practice on my hard. I either don’t push myself enough or I go hard and end up hurting myself, so I like to fire up a video every once in awhile, and I’ll get into yoga videos vs. class vs. personal practice in a later post!

I experimented with a couple ashtanga classes, which is way outside my wheelhouse. I enjoyed them, but I’m not sure it’s right for me. I’m not sure it’s the best practice for my particular body, but if there’s one thing I love, it’s experimenting on my own body like some sort of deranged mad scientist.

My cat, the vociferous and attention whoring Bentley, loved to weave in and out, and he found himself very close to danger on several jump backs until he made a little nest on top of my laptop sleeve.

It may not seem like much, but two days is a nice start. I feel like myself again. I feel grounded, that sense of being unmoored is starting to ebb away.

I even meditated a little.

Record scratch. What?

If you listen to the podcast, you know I struggle with meditation. I know all of the health benefits. I know it’s something that will keep the rest of my day and life in order, but for some reason I don’t do it.

It’s that monkey mind of mind. I can’t wrangle it, and there’s a reason I don’t want to. Fear? Who knows.


I used the Insight Timer app (which is a great tool, by the way) both days set for three minutes. I love baby steps, and I know when I start the timer that three minutes is NOT going to cut into my day too severely.

Did I reach a state of enlightenment? No.

Did I attain a completely non-attached mind? No.

Was I able to sit perfectly still for only three minutes? No.

But I was successful, just because I sat down to do it.

I’m going to leave the meditation discussion at that because after six minutes, I’m not exactly a pro. I’ll keep you updated on my meditation journey in a future episode, but here’s a great article on what meditation is (it's not as easily defined as you think it is) if you’d like to learn more in the meantime.

I woke up early this morning. I’d like to say that was on purpose, but the aforementioned Bentley was sleeping on my pillow and I woke up with a head full of snot and had to get up to blow my nose. Unlike many people I know (Anna included), I’m not a morning yoga person. I like to spend my mornings reading or writing, centering myself within the waking world. Physical movements don’t feel nice in my body early in the day, either, and I’ve learned to respect that.

But I’m really looking forward to this evening. I can’t wait. All that separates me from my asana practice is eight hours of work that I truly enjoy and am so grateful for, a commute during which I get totally lost in an amazing podcast (currently "Bad Yogi" and “Up and Vanished”), and feeding/walking time with the animals which fills me with love.

Then I get to come home, turn on a lamp made of salt and one made of love, sit down on my mat, and begin.

What does your practice look like? What are your struggles? Let us know in the comments.

Just a Crack: Peeking Out of the Spiritual Closet

By: Katie

Part of the reason Anna and I started this podcast together is because we have two different perspectives on all things yoga. Yeah, we agree about a lot of things, but where she dives right into the spiritual aspects, I sit back and get my skeptical face on.

I picked up Emma Mildon’s The Soul Searcher’s Handbook over a year ago and inhaled it. I love the à la carte spirituality it offers, letting me choose to keep the items lower on the “woo woo scale” and experiment with the ones higher up just for fun.

As an avid reader of fantasy novels, I’ve always been fascinated by magic and the unexplained, but I still keep my feet on the ground. I’ve watched a looooooot of Ghost Hunters episodes, but I wouldn’t say I believe in ghosts. I get really excited when they catch a crunching sound on their little Walkman and interpret a half-second blip as something like, “Well hello intruders. I am most definitely a ghost, and my name is Sir Benedict Templeton the Third, and I was killed in my own home and my soul is stuck because of unfinished business and please get out of my house or I will kill you too and you will spend eternity with me.”

But then I laugh at how big a stretch that interpretation is.

I LOVE the idea of magic, but I just can’t get my mind to believe it. Wouldn’t a pet unicorn be AMAZING? Yeah, but they don’t exist. Telekinesis would solve ALL my I-want-food-but-don’t-want-to-get-off-the-couch problems. Too bad it’s not real. Crystals are so freaking gorgeous and magical! Yeah, but I’m holding onto like 10 of them, and I’m still not levitating.

No caption needed.

No caption needed.

So yeah, I’m a skeptic through and through. Anna throws open the closet door and launches across the threshold like the proud little magic pixie she is, but I’m just gonna crack the door and peek out through last season’s sweaters for now. My relationship with all things spiritual is that of a creepily rapt voyeur.

All the same, I do realize there’s a lot of shit going on in this universe that we can’t explain. Is that magic? Maybe. But there are many things that I believe have a scientific explanation -- we just haven’t figured it out just yet. And maybe we don’t need to. Maybe magic isn’t the existence of unexplained phenomena. Maybe magic is the state of mind when we accept what we can’t yet explain.

And I can start to get on board with that kind of magic.

Like Reiki. I took a Reiki workshop and got attuned last year. For those of you who don’t know, once you’re attuned, you can channel the Universe’s energy through your body to heal disease, gain psychic abilities, open your third eye, relive past lives, and see ghosts.

I think you can guess my mental state going in.

But I’m a good sport about things like this. Even if I don’t 100% (or 10%) buy into it, I still want to see what it’s all about, so hell yeah I bought a ticket to that show.

Bentley's still not sold on Reiki.

Bentley's still not sold on Reiki.

After our attunement, we each lined up to do Reiki one at a time on our teacher. The room was quiet, the concentration written on each person’s face. When my turn came, I placed my hands over my teacher’s head and felt nothing. I expected to feel her body heat (and figured that’s what everyone felt and misinterpreted as Reiki), but I didn’t even feel that. Until my hands drifted above her heart. My skeptical little paws felt like they were being pushed upward, and my fingers started tingling intensely. As I hovered my hands over the rest of her body, the sensations subsided, and I stepped out of line when I was done. Playing it cool. Naturally.

Once everybody had gone and we were standing silent and solemn, the instructor asked how it went, and I exploded: “Holy crap, I wasn’t expecting to feel anything BUT I DID!”

Sure, you could say it was the power of suggestion, but you have to be a willing rube for that, and I really wasn’t.

So here I am. With the closet door cracked. I’m still sitting on a pile of smelly shoes, and shirt buttons are getting tangled in my hair, but I’m closer to the door than ever, and the fresh air coming in feels pretty nice.

Still waiting to levitate.

Still waiting to levitate.

Costa Rican Dream

By: Katie


I was playing in the surf, kicking the little waves as they washed up on sand. I was with my friend Anna (a different Anna), and she said that because of the buoyant salt water, the shells on the beach were always different, always changing.

Anna turned away to swim, and I went back up to the beach to move our belongings to a better spot. They were in front of a little shop that would be opening soon now that the sun was above the horizon, and I didn’t want people kicking it around.

I found a sunnier patch and looked to where the cliffs jutted out to the south and saw snow on the top. It wasn’t a high elevation, but I had surely never seen snow on those Costa Rican cliffs. I’m also pretty sure I saw an airplane depositing more snow. I didn’t bother trying to rationalize it.


After setting down our items, I walked back to the water and saw a smooth patch below the waves in the sand. When the water ran back into the ocean, I reached down and picked up some kind of gold promotional Starbucks card. It was all in Spanish, but I could tell that I had one 14 points.

I woke up from that dream, saw the snow outside, and was supremely pissed off.

I won’t analyze it too much, but you can feel free to in the comments. I’m more impressed than anything that my subconscious brain was able to translate that Starbucks card into Spanish, although it’s more likely that my brain just convinced me that a bunch of gibberish was correct Spanish.

Even though I woke up to another blisteringly cold day in Illinois, I’m grateful for where my brain sent me last night. It’s been almost a year since the Costa Rican yoga retreat last year, and I’ve been geeking out on Instagram watching everyone taking a retreat there now. Every picture pulls me back. Every video lets me inhabit a body still in that place.

For an hour (probably just a few seconds IRL), I was transported back there, and I could feel the water and heat, I could smell the wind and salt. I could bask in the company of a friend who is currently half a country away, proudly living her own adventure.

I don’t know what the airplane distributing faux snow on the cliffs meant. Something about artifice maybe?

I don’t know what the Starbucks card meant. That I may be coming into the incredible value of 14 Starbucks points?

But what I woke with ringing in my ears were Anna’s words about the seashells. “Don’t worry. Because of the salt water, they’re always changing. It’s different shells every day.”

I’m giving real-life Anna full credit for my subconscious’ Anna’s words.

We’re different every day. We’re forced to be because of the way life constantly washes into us. Sometimes it comes in a gentle lapping wave, and sometimes it slams into us with the force of a tsunami. Either way, it brings new shells and sloughs away the old ones.

It’s also fascinating that even when we think we don’t know what we need, something deeper in us knows. I imagine my brain screaming at me every time I’m like, “Ugh! I don’t know what I’m doing with my life!” My brain’s in there going, “OMG just LISTEN to me!” Finally, it generated a dream just to be heard and told me exactly what I needed to hear.

The last year has been tough. I’m not alone in that. 2017 was a trying year for most of the people I know. Despite it being a hard year, it was also very transformational, the changes coming on in rapidfire succession. I’ve been unable to figure out which Katie is the correct Katie in a year of discovering new pieces of myself around every corner, and it’s left me feeling ungrounded and floaty.

But this message of renewal, of the inevitability and ok-ness of constant change is exactly what I needed to hear. This sensation of ceaseless transformation is not an alien state -- it’s what life is, so get used to it and accept it with passion.


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


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!


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 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