1. What is a "Bad Yogi" and when did you realize you were one?
A Bad Yogi can be anyone who believes that there’s no such thing as one type of yogi. If you believe that yogis can come from all different backgrounds with different diets, beliefs, styles, and approaches, then you’ll fit right in. I was always different from most traditional yogis and that became super obvious when I had first started teaching. I was the only person who wasn’t crazy about green juice and liked burgers and fries, and when I found myself faking enjoyment of those things, I realized I needed to embrace who I was and give others permission to do the same. So I guess that’s when I knew :)
2. Have you felt pressures in the yoga industry to look a certain way? How has this influenced how you run "Bad Yogi"?
Oh for sure! In any mainstream yoga imaging we see women who look incredibly fit, slim, and able to do crazy poses. There’s also the element of feeling like we “need” to have all the fanciest leggings with matching tops, expensive mala beads, and high-end accessories, and all of that is total nonsense. I’ve always been of the belief that those outside images are 100% noise, and we’ve always made the message from Bad Yogi to be that it doesn’t matter how you dress or what you have, you’re welcome here and you CAN do yoga. All you need is a body that breathes and you can do yoga. That’s all I want people to know.
3. What about the yoga industry would you like to change?
I want to continue making it more accessible and accepting. Everybody usually nods their heads in agreement with this until I say that means welcoming everyone from the kale-loving vegans to the prize-winning deer hunters. I think it’s challenging to welcome people who, on the surface, are vastly different from us, but the truth is, we have more in common than we may think. Acceptance is the biggest change I’d like to see happen and Bad Yogi is chipping into that cause a little every single day.
4. What about the yoga industry do you love? What about it is empowering?
I love the encouragement to explore. I think sometimes we get really caught up in what’s “correct” instead of what feels good for us as individuals. Almost every teacher will tell you to keep looking if you try a class and don’t like it. They’ll tell you that everyone has their own likes and dislikes when it comes to styles and teachers, so if you take the time to look, you’ll find something that fits with you. I think that’s a really positive and encouraging sentiment and that’s rare these days.
5. What is a good way for women to start practicing yoga that isn't too intimidating?
If you’re too shy to go to a studio, just find some free classes online! You can do it in the comfort of your own home, try out a few basic poses and sequences, and see what you like and what you don’t. It’s 100% private and you can start, stop, or modify however you like while you get a feel for everything.
6. What is your definition of a "perfect body”?
The healthiest version of the body you already have. Simple as that.