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Blog Fat Kid Yoga Club Yoga

August 2020 Newsletter

It’s been a long, hot summer and I know we can all use some good news.

I’m so happy to share that we raised $225 for the House of Tulip in July! The House of Tulip is a Black Trans led organization working to create housing solutions for trans/gender non-conforming people in Louisiana. I will continue to donate 50% of live class proceeds to House of Tulip through the end of 2020. If you’d like to support them directly visit https://houseoftulip.org/make-a-donation or send some funds on Cashapp: $HouseOfTulip or Venmo: @HouseofTulip. 

As the pandemic rages on in Louisiana, I’m incredibly grateful to you and everyone who shares virtual space with me on Zoom, Patreon, and Instagram. Your support continues to carry me through. 

Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to return the favor!

-Marc

PS There’s more good news below…

May all beings be happy and free,
And may my thoughts, words, and actions contribute to the
Freedom and happiness of all beings, everywhere. 

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Blog Fat Kid Yoga Club Yoga

How to Adapt Yoga Postures for Your Body

My Patreon supporters have been raving about my new How to Cat/Cow video!

When I started my practice I really struggled to adapt yoga postures (asanas) for my body. At times, it was really frustrating and my teachers didn’t always offer me assistance. I know how hard it is to start something new, so I like to share the tricks I’ve learned along the way.

I hope the videos below offer you support in your practice. If they do help, maybe you’ll consider joining Fat Kid Yoga Club?

How to Sit Cross Legged (free to the public)

How to Downward Facing Dog

How to Child’s Pose

How to Step to the Top of Your Mat (free to the public)

How to Use Yoga Blocks (free to the public)

How to Pick the Best Yoga Mat for Your Body and Practice (free to the public)

Categories
Blog Yoga

Trans & Queer Inclusivity Workshop: August 7, 2020

Sometimes even the most well intentioned yoga spaces can leave trans/gender non-conforming people feeling unwelcome.

I’m honored to participate in the first Trans Inclusivity Workshop offered by a group of trans/queer yoga and wellness industry leaders.

This training is geared towards creating welcoming and inclusive spaces for all genders. We will cover a wide variety of topics, including gender inclusive language, understanding the intersections of identities, and providing practical action items that you can take to support trans and queer people in your community.

The workshop takes live via ZOOM place on Friday, August 7, 2020, from 2:00pm until 4:00pm (Pacific Daylight Time). Registered participants will receive a recording of the workshop. Investment is sliding scale ranging from $10 to $50.

Register now at https://bit.ly/2PdjbGR

Categories
Blog Fat Kid Yoga Club Sociology

Confronting White Supremacy through Self-Reflection

The goal of yoga is liberation – escaping limiting thoughts and discovering your true self. The path to liberation isn’t easy. In fact, my path has been quite messy. When I began practicing yoga asana, I felt ashamed and discouraged because my body didn’t move like other people’s bodies. That shame often showed up as anger and negative self-talk when I encountered challenging postures. As I continued to practice, I learned to silence the inner critic and began to meet my Self on the mat.

Svadhayaya has been an important component of my yoga practice. Svadhyaya is the fourth niyama which is translated as self-study or self-reflection. For some practitioners, this means a self-guided study of yoga and sacred texts. For myself and many others, svadhyaya is a continual process of self-reflection and discernment – a process of unraveling the real and the unreal. Today, I invite you to practice svadhyaya as a means of resisting white supremacy.

Since 2013, I have taught courses on Race and Ethnic Relations at Southeastern Louisiana University. My students are often White criminal justice majors with conservative political beliefs. As you can imagine, they tend to resist learning about white supremacy and racial oppression. In 2016, I began to incorporate contemplative practices to help students develop first-person experiences learning about race and racism and soften their resistance. One such practice is reflective journaling (svadhyaya) through which students center their personal biography knowledge. Journaling has been very popular among my students, and in assessments of the practice students have shared:

“journaling has really opened my mind to think a different way. It allows you to stop and really give thought to things that are going on around you, things you might have never given thought to, otherwise.”

“I question [the] principles I was taught. I actively remember things I have forgotten.”

“It’s an outlet for personal thoughts that you aren’t comfortable to say in class”

I share this with you, not to toot my own horn, but to demonstrate the power of svadhyaya as a tool for examining and hopefully overcoming white supremacy.

If yoga means union, anything that causes separation is the antithesis of yoga. White supremacy is a system of oppression that has organized our society so that it’s normal, everyday functioning works to benefit White people and disadvantage non-whites. The ideology of white supremacy is dominant throughout the globe, but in particular, anyone who lives in a White-dominated society is socialized into white supremacist thinking. Ultimately, white supremacists developed the concept of race to divide and dehumanize people. As yoga practitioners, it’s our responsibility to challenge and overcome this ideology.

Therefore, I offer you the following journal prompts as an invitation to self-reflection. They are the same prompts I use in my classroom [modified slightly] and are intended to help you explore the ways in which your life and/or consciousness has been shaped by white supremacy. I often use these prompts in conjunction with active listening exercises to help students learn to talk and listen to one another to find mutual understanding. In that sense, it may be valuable for you to do the same.

  1. What do you know about race relations in the United States today? How did you learn about race relations in the U.S.? How did it come to be like this?
  2. What does it mean to be “White”? Who gets to be White? What does it mean to be “American”? Who gets to be American? How are Whiteness and “American-ness” related? What are the consequences of the link between whiteness and American-ness?
  3. When did you first learn about race? Write about one of your earliest memories about race. What happened? How did you feel? How has that experience affected you?
  4. How has segregation and integration affected you? Specifically, how has segregation and integration affected your relationships with others? How have they potentially limited or expanded the experiences and/or relationships you have in your life? (Note: I’m using “relationship” in the broadest sense, don’t assume I mean “romantic” relationship)
  5. How has white supremacy affected your friendships and relationships? How have your friends and/or family members’ attitudes about race affected your friendships and romantic relationships? Where do you think their attitudes about race come from? How do you think your family’s racial or ethnic background influences other family members’ views about race?
  6. How is white supremacy present in the media that you consume? Who is included or excluded? How are Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) people portrayed? How do you think this influences your attitudes about race?
  7. What is your relationship to the criminal punishment system? How has this criminal justice system affected your life directly or indirectly? How do you think your race has influenced your relationship with the criminal punishment system?
  8. Where do we go from here? What is the future of race relations in the United States? Globally? What are have you learned about yourself from this process? If you are a White person what is something you are willing to do to challenge white supremacy in your life? What is something you are willing to give up?

In my experience, students from all racial/ethnic backgrounds have benefitted from this process, but White folks and non-white folks will likely have different responses to this exercise. As always, I encourage you to practice self-care and to be aware of your edge and mindful not to fall over. Remember, the path to liberation isn’t easy and it’s often quite messy. In my opinion, it’s better to be messy on paper or in your own head. Hopefully, this practice helps you to find your own humanity and to begin to recognize the humanity in others.

Marc

May all beings be happy and free.
And may my thoughts, words, and actions contribute to the happiness and freedom of all beings.

Learn more about the niyamas here:  https://yogainternational.com/article/view/yoga-philosophy-basics-the-5-niyamas

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Blog

Racial Justice and Police/Prison Abolition

In the United States, the police and prisons have always been used to harass, intimidate, and abuse Black people. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Although there are many books on the topic, here are a few that I regularly assign or recommend for my students. 

Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis – If you only have time to read one book, make it this one. (It’s also the shortest on the list).

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness By Michelle Alexander

Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America by Kristian Williams

Separated: Family and Community in the Aftermath of an Immigration Raid by William D. Lopez

When the Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú

Bad Boys: Public Schools and the Making of Black Masculinity by Ann Arnett Ferguson

Categories
Blog Fat Kid Yoga Club Yoga

Equity Pricing for Livestream Practices

I believe that everyone deserves to access the benefits of yoga, regardless of their ability to pay for it. To eliminate financial barriers to community participation in yoga, equity pricing models ask those who can afford to pay more to offset costs for those experiencing economic hardship. Beginning June 1, 2020, I will reorient live stream class prices towards equity. 

Equity Price = $10 – Equity membership is intended for BIPOC, trans/queer people, people living with disabilities, and those experiencing economic hardship. 

Standard Price = $15 – Standard price is intended for folks who can afford to pay the full price.

Supporter Price = $20 – Supporter price is for folks who have the ability to “pay it forward” and create opportunities for those who are experiencing hardships. 

Ultimately, this is an honor system approach. I ask that you pay what you can, when you can, no questions asked.

Fat Kid Yoga Club members receive a discount code for $5 off each class, which can be applied to any price level.

Categories
Blog Fat Kid Yoga Club Yoga

Fat Kid Yoga Club is Turning One

Time flies when you’re having fun!

Last year, I launched Fat Kid Yoga Club via Patreon to supplement my face-to-face teaching in New Orleans and offer some continuity while I was out of town. I’m truly humbled by how quickly it took off and how many people have joined!

One year later, I’ve got a better idea about what I want to offer to the world, and for better or for worse, Miss Rona seems to be giving me the time and space to do it. In that sense, I’m excited to share with you some changes that are coming to Fat Kid Yoga Club.

Equity Pricing – I believe that everyone deserves to access the benefits of yoga, regardless of their ability to pay for. This is why originally set basic membership at $1 and have encouraged folks to pay what you can. However, I offered additional perks to folks who could pay more. That approach only reifies class stratification contributes to the marginalization of BIPOC, trans/queer folks, and people living with disabilities (to name a few) who could not access these perks due to historical and contemporary economic violence. Therefore, beginning May 30, 2020 I will reorient the current membership tiers towards equity. 

The new membership tiers are:

Equity Membership = $1 – Equity membership is intended for marginalized people and those experiencing economic hardship. 

Standard Membership = $10 – Standard membership is intended for folks who can afford to pay the suggested monthly contribution. (This is currently the “Sustainer” level and helps to cover the costs of running a virtual yoga community)

Equity Supporter Membership = $19+ – Supporter membership is for folks who have the ability to “pay it forward” and offset equity memberships. 

The following benefits are available to ALL tiers:

  • Access to the Facebook Group
  • On-Demand Streaming of pre-recorded practice videos (one new practice added each month)
  • Invitation to Weekly Community chats (more on this later)
  • Discounts on FKYC Merchandise
  • Discounts on LIVE classes and workshops offered via Zoom

Ultimately, I continue to ask that you “pay what you can” to help keep this community thriving.

Equity pricing will also be implement for all LIVE classes.

Fostering Community – Isolation has reminded of the importance of community. I’m disappointed in myself for not doing more of the last twelve months to hold space for the Fat Kid Yoga Club community. Personally, I’m not a fan of Facebook and I haven’t done much to cultivate the Facebook group. I also know that many folks are limiting social media consumption these days. Therefore, I will begin hosting weekly community chats via Zoom. The day and time are TBD – please keep an eye out for an upcoming poll to help select the best time for most of us. Community chats will be informal and will mostly be a chance for me to see and connect with YOU the amazing humans who make Fat Kid Yoga Club possible.

Member Spotlights  – We have some really badass members of our crew: stay-at-home parents, programmers and artists, plus-size beauty gurus, body love coaches, podcasters, and accessible yoga teachers from around the world. I want to start highlighting the incredible work that you do. So keep an eye out for your opportunity to share your work with the rest of the club.

More Opportunities to Practice with me Live – I’ve decided that I won’t be offering in-person instruction for the foreseeable future. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is that I will lose the income from two studios I used to teach at. I’ve got a full-time job that meets my survival needs, but the money I make from teaching yoga allows me to take additional trainings (which aren’t cheap) which empower me to be a better instructor and continue to enhance my presence in the yoga world. The opportunity is that since I’m not teaching in studios, I’ll have more time to offer live online instruction

As of now, I plan to continue to offer Fat Kid Yoga Club practices on Saturday mornings at 10:00 am US Central Time, and Big Fat Queer Dude* Yoga practices on Sundays at 10:00 am US Central Time. 

I’ll be adding additional practice times/days based on interests – if there’s something you want, don’t be shy! As always, thank you for your continued support. I am so glad that you are here and that you continue to trust me to be part of your yoga practice.

<3 Marc

PS – If you haven’t already joined Fat Kid Yoga Club, you can do so here.

Categories
Blog Fat Kid Yoga Club Yoga

Grounding Meditation (with Cosmo)

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Blog You Should Be Resting

Boundaries are Self-Care

Do you know your limits?

The Cult of Productivity is powerful and if you don’t set strong boundaries you’ll end up burnt-out. But how do we set boundaries when the expectations for getting a job and earning tenure are constantly growing?

The first step in setting boundaries is to start with yourself. You have to know your limits. How many hours can you devote to your dissertation in a day and still be a functional human being? How many coffee meetings with colleagues can you really afford? Do you really want to review this article, or are you doing it out of obligation?

I became a professor in part because I wanted to help people and be a positive force through my teaching and research. If you’re like me, you can probably relate to that feeling and you probably struggle with feeling guilty or selfish when you have to say no to someone or an opportunity. But if you’re going to organize your life in a way that supports your mind, body, and spirit – you have to learn to prioritize yourself. Your time and energy are valuable. Setting boundaries can help you conserve both.

Schedule and Defend Self-Care

A good place to start is by looking at your weekly schedule. What’s on it? What’s missing? If you’re like me it probably includes a bunch of work-related tasks with a few personal items interspersed (I will go to the grocery store today). If you’re going to get good at self-care, you need to include it in your schedule. Many academics fiercely guard our writing time, but we get flimsy when it comes to self-care.

This week, you’re going to start small. Add one self-care item to your weekly schedule and defend it. It may be something that you’re already doing – the important thing is to get it on your schedule. It could be a walk around campus, an afternoon coffee break, or 10 minutes of listening to music before your next meeting. Whatever it is, write it down and do your best to stick to it.

Join the conversation on your favorite social network!

Each week I share self-care tips, practices, and inspiration for academics on this blog and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’d love for you to join the conversation!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shouldberesting

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shouldberesting

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shouldberesting/

Categories
Blog Fat Kid Yoga Club Yoga

Fat Kid Yoga Club on Great Day Louisiana

Make it a Great Day with Fat Kid Yoga Club!

Jaclyn and I had a blast filming a segment about Fat Kid Yoga Club for Great Day Louisiana. If you don’t know Jaclyn, you should! She’s the owner of Jaci Blue – New Orleans’ only plus-size boutique, a self-love coach, and a curvy community organizer.

We know it can be intimidating to try something new – especially if you are in a bigger body. That’s why Jaclyn and I began offering accessible yoga for plus-size people in her shop last year. We quickly outgrew her space and that’s when we moved to Balance Yoga and Wellness.

At Fat Kid Yoga Club, we offer a fun, body-positive environment where you can feel good in your body in a truly judgment-free zone. It’s really healing to take time to be in your body – especially when the whole world is telling you that your body is wrong.

I have always been a fat kid and it wasn’t until recently that I got comfortable calling myself the F-word. For me, it’s been an important step in repairing my relationship with my body. I believe that EVERY body is a yoga body. Everyone, regardless of their age, size, or strength can practice yoga right now. In Fat Kid Yoga Club, we explore what’s possible in the bodies we have today.

Self-care is an important part of our practices. I encourage you to take water breaks and to ask questions. This is truly your practice and you are in control. I hope that by participating in Fat Kid Yoga Club you’ll feel confident to take other mainstream yoga or fitness classes without having to wrestle with your inner critic.

In the segment, I offer some really great tips on how you can make downward-facing dog feel better in your body – regardless of your size, strength, or level of flexibility.

I offer Fat Kid Yoga Classes Sundays at 5:30pm at Balance Yoga and Wellness located at 120 S. Cortez Street in New Orleans. Don’t live in New Orleans or can’t make it to the studio! No problem – I also offer Fat Kid Yoga Club Online!