Rolling Out the Welcome Mat: Yoga for Every Body

Hey There, Yoga Family,

Let's chat about something that's been on my mind a lot lately. You know, yoga is supposed to be about balance, acceptance, and peace. But, let's be real – sometimes, it feels like you've got to be a thin, flexible, young, and typically white gal to fit in. I'm here to shake that up a bit.

Why Yoga Needs a Reality Check

You've seen it, right? Those picture-perfect yoga studios with their Instagram-worthy poses. It's like yoga turned into a competition for who can be the most zen while rocking Lululemon. Here's the thing – I'm a queer, bigger-bodied person, and I've been in those rooms where I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. Not cool.

Talking the Talk, But Not Walking the Walk

Ever been to a class where the instructor's words felt more like a script for a fitness model shoot than a real-life yoga session? Yeah, me too. Sometimes it feels like they're teaching from a place of ego rather than empathy. I've heard instructions and comments that made me think, "Who are you actually talking to?" Because it sure wasn't me or half of the folks in the room.

Flipping the Script on Yoga Spaces

So, here's my approach – let's make yoga chill again. In my classes and retreats, everyone's welcome. I mean it. Queer, straight, big, small, young, old, injured, Olympian – you get the picture. Yoga is about connecting with yourself, and how can you do that if you don't feel welcome in the first place?

Keeping It Real

In my world, yoga is less about hitting that perfect pose and more about feeling good in your skin. I use language that's for everyone, offer modifications for every body type, and keep things light. A little humor goes a long way, especially when you're trying to twist your body like a pretzel (which, by the way, is totally optional).

The Proof Is in the Pudding

I've seen what happens when you open the doors wide. People come in, they relax, they smile, and they connect – not just with yoga but with each other. That's the magic. That's the yoga I fell in love with, and that's what I'm here to share.

Join the Fam

If you're tired of feeling like you don't belong in the yoga world, I've got you. Come to my class, hit up one of my retreats, or just drop me a message. Let's make yoga what it was always meant to be – a place for every one of us.

Stay Bendy (Or Not),

Colynn

Energy Leaks

Energy Leaks - Frik-Shuhn Yoga

It feels so easy to coach everyone else.

In speaking with people, it is so obvious to me where someone's blocks are, where they are going "wrong" in their lives, decisions & businesses, & what they need to do to get the results they are looking for. What makes me a good coach is not telling people these things, but rather supporting my clients in recognizing these things themselves. That being said, seeing one's own shit is not as easy. It is a consistent complaint I hear from others, that life coaches or business coaches don't have perfect lives themselves. Well ya'll, the reality is - that's true. We don't. When choosing a coach, i believe the important reality is that the coach has integrity, is authentic & practices what they preach (insert definitions here what those words mean to you).

For me, practicing what I preach encompasses both integrity & authenticity and this means that I regularly check in with my personal & business lives to ensure that I am doing my work in full support of my own personal growth & also that of my clients. The last couple of weeks for myself & my clients have been focused on clearing up energy leaks. Energy leaks are areas in our lives where we are unconsciously & consistently draining our energy on people, places & things that do not serve us but rather take away from us. And it's time to shine a light on that SHIT.

It's time to seal the energy leaks. Take a look around your life & get clear about what your outer world looks like, because your outer world is very indicative of your inner world. For example unpaid bills, incomplete projects, messy inboxes, old clothes & clutter are just the same inside as these things are detrimental to moving forward, as it is plainly obvious the person is holding on to old memories, not dealing with things, etc. etc.

Today while mulling over a friend's ex-girlfriend/friend choices in their current life, I camp up with the perfect life fixes forthem, the ways they could incorporate this month's theme into their life to clean up what has been going on for them & it hit me how great it would be for me to take my own advice... and of course, share in case you guys could also learn from this. This was really related to who it is that you have in your life and how much energy you are expending on those people.

I have heard that you and the results in your life are an average of the 5 people you spend the majority of your time with (not who you want to spend time with, but actually do). Take a look around. For me, the reality is that I am coming home soon & what I am looking at is where I am going & who I will be spending time with. My mind wanders to who I was spending time with before I left, who I have kept in touch with while away and (judge this statement if you will) how it is benefitting me now.

Energy Leaks - Frik-Shuhn Yoga

One concept that I regularly speak to is focused on looking forward to create your future. Many people look at their pasts, repeat their stories, make the same choice and this translate to creating a future based on one's past. Yet, when one makes that choice, what they are doing (usually unconsciously & unaware) is repeating a pattern. "If you keep doing what you've always done, you are going to get what you have always gotten, if you want something different, you need to do something different." So, why do you spend time with the people you spend your time with? Answer that question honestly & whole heartedly.

Personally, I found myself thinking I owe these people something :O. I quickly realized maybe not a reason to call them when I get back. A dear friend introduced me to this concept that you should leave them better than . when you found them, and I love that. AND the piece that I heard differently today was LEAVE them. What exactly is the point of continuing when it is over? If it was toxic and needed to end, what is the benefit of continuing it in anyway friends or more? Why?

So while this question plays in my head and I begin to review where my energy is going interpersonally, today, I offer you some free, unsolicited advice - where your focus goes, your energy grows - take a hard look 

Savasana

Savasana Yoga

Here I sit on an airplane to Honduras.

Last night it hit me.... I am leaving Costa Rica. Holy shit. How pivotal. I can compare this to savasana. At the end of every yoga class is the final resting pose, it signifies the end of class, the death of all the shit that has come up while doing your work, the release of that which no longer serves you. And here I am, in savasana.

I often hear from people how lucky I am. Like it is a common thing that bothstrangers and friends alike say to me. And I just can't agree (though I am magic ????)... I am not lucky, I have worked very hard to be exactly where I am right now. I have done the thing, addressed the elephant in the room, acted on faith, scared myself shitless, kept going, failed (in relative terms), taken the chance, haven't lived in my comfort zone in over 2 years, quit my job, left school, invested in myself, sold everything I own and traveled half way around the world. I'm not lucky. I took the chance.

On this journey, I have fallen in love repeatedly, most importantly with myself. I can't even estimate the amount of beautiful souls I have come into contact with, nor can I ever explain what it feels like to travel this way. Every single person special, individual, touched me in a different way, and holds their own unique memory spot in my brain. From jungle boys to adopted parents to travel partners, all I can say is thank you ❤️  

I am Queer

Blog Yoga Queer Gay Lesbian

I am Queer

You will have to excuse me, this is like the third time I have ever expressed those words in relation to my sexual orientation out loud. I am Queer. 

Queer, as defined by the Oxford dictionary, is an adjective that describes a person as strange; odd or as homosexual. Wikipedia defines queer in a much more progressive description - “Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or are not cisgender. Originally meaning "strange" or "peculiar", queer came to be used pejoratively against those with same-sex desires or relationships in the late 19th century”.

I have lived most of my life as a heterosexual woman. I have 2 kids, a myriad of ex boyfriends, an ex husband, and grew up with NKOTB (New Kids on the Block) posters on my walls. I read YM magazine as a young girl and learned about how to properly “give head'' from Cosmopolitan magazine. I grew up cisgendered (a person whose identity relates to their birth sex) and really only ever participated in any sexy girl on girl acts to turn on a dude. Yet, deep down, something was always missing. 

Jump forward to my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training that took place with 20 women. The first time in my life I ever allowed myself to open up and participate in an all woman setting. Many of you may know the deep introspective and transformative work that takes place during such an intense time, and some may not. It was a lot. I was always a guys’ girl and could never get along with women. I would describe them as catty, mean, and ridiculous. I mean, I was in nursing and that had been my experience. I would choose hanging out with men anyday. So teacher training starts, and I allow myself to open up to these women (we won’t talk about how it ended) and in that I start to recognize just how incredible and important fellow women are. I dive into stories around my dad and recognize that my past sexual behaviours and constant attention seeking from men is related to wanting my dad to see me. From there, everything changes for me in relation to women as friends. I see the value in female friendships and I really start to feel a shift. Men don’t fully understand women, and there is this beauty in relating with another female on a deeper level that I had never felt. I started to feel understood, seen, heard and more comfortable with who I was.

I also started to express myself verbally around my attraction to more androgenous (the combination of masculine and feminine features) women to my friends and family. I felt open to share if I had a “girl” crush and spoke of some women being good looking. Yet, no one ever really caught my eye until I went to a women’s circle (I know, what happened?) and met a really cool person named Mo. We spent the evening talking about sexuality, gender, life, and feelings and I felt I opened up to the idea of exploring something beyond what I had always been used to. Another vagina.

Life is messy. I shifted careers from Nursing to Medical School to Yoga and my kids had grown up and moved out to pursue their own lives. I found myself in an unhappy relationship with a whole stack of unexplored dreams. It felt like a perfect time to shift, and I did. And as fate would have it, I met the woman that would support me in exploring another side of me that had been dormant for far too long. She was different from any other woman that I knew and she was all the things - patient, gay, experienced, gentle, free and I liked her. I was nervous to explore this other life at the age of 39. I felt too old and inexperienced, but I think I did ok.

Since then, I have struggled and questioned and fought to find a term that I can share with people around my own sexual orientation. Seems the world loves labels. Yet, I can’t seem to settle on one. Most people look at me and assume I am a lesbian (super stereotypical by the way to assume short hair = lesbian) yet, it isn’t far off. I also don’t hate men and find many of them attractive. I have been in relationship with a transman and think that I could rock a girl on girl relationship. I have no attachment to what gender or identity I will be in partnership with, when I choose to set down that road again. What I do care about is what kind of person I end up with, but that is for another blog. My intention here is to start to share my story and relate it to Yoga.

I teach Yoga Teacher Trainings. That is now my career and what I have noticed for the entirety of the last 22 years that I have been involved in the teachings is a lack of queer community, a lack of body friendly options for asana postures, and a lack of empathy for less flexible and sometimes older bodies. I feel the need to share, and educate, to speak up and to bridge this gap. I want to make teacher trainings that have all body shapes in them, not the usual 19 skinny people and 1 person with more meat. I want trainings where the whole group is over 40, and I want to host circles where a majority of the students already know about pronouns. So here is the shift. It starts with me. More stories, more vulnerability, more sharing and more education.

Enlightenment

Before enlightenment - chop the wood, carry the wood, stack the wood. After enlightenment - chop the wood, carry the wood, stack the wood.

It feels weird to say, but today I hit enlightenment. Years of being so hard on myself, I cried for. Years. Like all of my years. All the pressure I have put on myself. Dissolved. Trust. I haveto trust. The flow of everything. I had a taste of it.

We walk in, get santoed and then get comfy. Angel my guide. He says trust. I do. And he sends me to a place where nothing matters anymore, last of all my judgements of myself or anyone else. Years of baggage released. Years of harshness and making meaning and playing games. Am I here forever? Did I pass through and leave my body? I wish LOL.

I have never cried so hard. Not only this week, but in this ceremony. I felt it. Complete andunconditional love for myself, for the perfection I am. Completely broke through. Deserving. Worthy. Open. Loved. Loving. Nothing matters, least of all the constraints I have put on myself. So much hatred released.

One more aya ceremony.....

*** it felt amazing to hit enlightenment. It is a state I have only dreamed about. Itwas beautiful and I thought I hi   t samadhi and was never to return. And that was not the truth here's the thing: after hitting that reality, one must come back to this reality. So quickly the veil is returned. Slowly added back. Skinny. Beauty. Finances. That place is beautiful and perfect but the real work takes place here.

❤️????