What a true delight it is to introduce you to this year’s Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training scholarship winner, Jessica del Rosso. She’s a gifted writer, so I’ll leave it to her to tell you all about herself below.
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Growing up in the foster care system made me no stranger to counsellors and therapy. The experience would always be the same. I would go over my childhood, talk about how I ended up in foster care and would eventually hit a wall. As I got older and went to University for social work, I found myself attending therapy and knowing what the next question would be. I knew what the symptoms of PTSD and trauma were. And while talking and feeling was important, I wanted to walk away from therapy with solutions – something concrete, and felt I wasn’t getting that. Some of my counsellors would casually mention exercises to do with what I now know to be mindfulness. But I did not fully understand it. In fact, it made me angry when counsellors told me to breathe through my anxiety/ panic attacks and to “ground myself”. What the did that even mean?
I wanted to walk away from therapy with solutions – something concrete, and felt I wasn’t getting that. Some of my counsellors would casually mention exercises to do with what I now know to be mindfulness. But I did not fully understand it. In fact, it made me angry when counsellors told me to breathe through my anxiety/ panic attacks and to “ground myself”. What the did that even mean?
Over the last few years, my personal path has gone in a huge direction change. I started volunteering at Queen Street Yoga, and began practicing yoga 1-3x a week. As a youth who was often in the spotlight advocating for foster care system change, I had always thought that I would continue as a local public speaker and a provincial advocate for children and youth in care. I thought that I would work at Children’s Aid for 3-5 years, apply for my Masters of Social Work and then work in Toronto as a Provincial Advocate. However, after a year and a half working as a front-line CAS worker, my plan seemed to crumble. The job was too close to home and I found myself spiralling into depression. I made one of the most difficult and bravest decisions a person may find themselves needing to make. I had to start over.
I made one of the most difficult and bravest decisions a person may find themselves needing to make. I had to start over.
I decided that despite the reliable income and benefits, I needed to leave CAS. I didn’t want to spend anymore additional years on top of the 10 I had already spent, advocating and fighting against a system that wasn’t changing anywhere near as fast as it needed to. I did not want to add to people’s trauma, but help guide them through it as a holistic therapist, like my amazing counsellor now. In order to do this, I feel I need to be able to explain to future clients the connection between healing from trauma and body mindfulness. I want to be able to apply mindfulness into my therapy style, as opposed to just talking to my clients about it, which may leave them not knowing where to start, like I felt.
I did not want to add to people’s trauma, but help guide them through it as a holistic therapist … I want to be able to apply mindfulness into my therapy style, as opposed to just talking to my clients about it, which may leave them not knowing where to start, like I felt.
Although in my heart I know I did the right thing, it has been a very difficult couple of months as I find myself understanding why so many people do not leave their secure, well paying jobs to follow their passion. However, I have never been one to follow the crowd. I dance to the beat of my own drum. Receiving the scholarship will help me pay for the books needed for this course and relieve some of the debt that is quickly adding up.
Year after year, this training fills with amazing people taking these bold steps. And year after year, they find their tribe, fill their empty cups, and emerge with newfound inspiration, energy, knowledge, skills, and excitement.
It’s pretty much the best job in the world to lead this training, and it would be even better with YOU in it. SAY YES.
You’ve waited long enough. Seriously. You’ve taken the ‘right’ job that was practical – but not your passion. You’ve given your time to other people’s needs first, while your goals sat on the back burner. You’ve done all the ‘right’ things to be a good person for the people you love.
That’s amazing! You made choices that were right for you, and you’ve done great things along the way. But now, there’s something stirring inside you, something you can finally do, you want to do, you just need a little fire under your ass to do it.
It’s time to step up, face your fears, and create the life you want now.
Does that idea freak you out a little (let’s be honest: maybe a lot)? Well, I have good news: You don’t need to do this alone. You can take every step with other brave, change-making souls like you who are also making big changes in their own lives.
Every year I get to create a space where people like you come together to learn, connect, practice, and change the course of their lives. For nearly ten years, brilliant, kind, generous, kickass people have committed to 12 weeks of intense and powerful growth. It’s so much more than another yoga teacher training program: It’s an immersion into tapping your personal strength, improving your mindset and habits, and gaining the best skills to empower others.
Imagine: By the end of next year you could be creating your own sacred space for brilliant, kind, generous, kickass people to grow with you. You could be doing meaningful work that supports you and the new community you inspire. You could be that confident, compassionate person you are, in a career YOU create.
Your next opportunity begins NOW.
“When I started Pranalife training I didn’t know, I was hoping that I would be good enough, that I could let go of my imposter syndrome complex, and that it would be help me grow spiritually. It’s been so much more than all of that. I’m so grateful for the mutual support of other members, the opportunities to push through fear time and time again but in small digestible steps, and your humble guidance through it all, Asia.”~ Amanda Lee, Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training 2017
The shadow side of freedom is fatigue.
The past few weeks have felt heavy, full of long, dark hours and extreme cold. I assumed my own lulling mood was being influenced by these winter lows. I bumped up my vitamin D, got to the gym more, and went on with my life.
But I kept seeing it in the people around me: Sisters who usually dive enthusiastically into new things uncharacteristically shaken by change. Friends building mighty passion empires pining for a break from it all. Where optimism used to guide a conversation, a kind of hardened self-drive seems to have taken over.
My soul sister Jennifer Gough said it best the last time we met for brunch:
I don’t laugh very much anymore.
Amen, my sister.
In many ways my life has never been better. I’m so in love with my partner Matt I could burst. Reviewing the effort the 2017 Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training crew put into building themselves, their practices, and their lives in this recent yoga teacher training brings me to tears with pride and love for each of these brilliant people. I’m healthy, growing and learning. Life is good.
And thank goodness, because if it weren’t it would be even tougher to move with the weight of life lately. This human flow has always been there, but it feels like the waves of it are beating strong against our personal seawalls. The sombre catharsis of the #metoo movement and sickeningly unsurprising movie star revelations, the relentless tug-o-war of resentment from down south, global bickering, pain and wars. Much of it is well overdue, and a lot of it is outworn. This entire species and so much of what we do feels sick and tired.
Even in the allegedly enlightened world of yoga there’s a reckoning. Outdated practices are wearing thin and the dirty underbelly of guru worship is, unsurprisingly, disappointing and destroying the paradigms of many in its wake. Many are upset that others haven’t known how to handle it, as if we’re not all children in adult bodies still doing what we’ve been taught/observed, feeling the pangs of childhood failures and re-enacting them by infantilizing, chastising, and projecting our expectations onto others.
It’s like many of us are re-living that moment as children when we ‘realized’ our parents lied to us about Santa Clause (in my case it was Jesus, but the outcome was much the same). This strange, what, ‘rite of passage’? where we came to realize we’d been foolish to believe blindly, our trusted guides and caretakers lied to us, and we were supposed to take it all in stride as though this was all kind of, fun?, no big deal, just move on – with a newly learned distrust and self-protection. I suspect that was the point: to keep training our offspring like we were, not to misunderstand. People, even people you love, will hurt and fail you, and they’ll act like it’s fine, even fun, while you process these phases of your loss of innocence quietly.
Only this isn’t an imaginary old white dude sneaking into our homes and threatening not to give us what we want if we’re not “good” and don’t do as we’re told. These are actual dudes, actually breaking into our save havens and threatening to hold the keys to our gifts and punishments. Santa Claus gone wrong (what, exactly, ‘Santa Clause gone right’ would have looked like I truly couldn’t tell you; what a fucking horrific little story we for some reason love to perpetuate, such weird little monkeys we are). And for so long we were all just told – by people, by others’ actions, by the status quo, by all the ways life ‘just is’ – to continue to row, row, row our boats. Life is but … well, a bit of a nightmare, really.
It’s a big question. To start, I’m looking at this sense of fatigue …
I think I want to trade my tiredness. Lately, I’m fatigued by old human habits. I’m fatigued by repeating trauma. I’m so very tired of the boring stories we’ve been told and re-telling ourselves forever – stories not written by or for us but by and for purposes that perpetuate these boring, tired, oft horrifying life experiences we see repeating in our news, in our lives, in all of our silly distractions, in what are supposed to be our dreams.
I want to trade that tiredness for a good kind of fatigue. I’m more focused, driven, and inspired than ever to create things that matter, and maybe this is why I’m feeling all of this more lately. Freedom – the ostensible goal of a yoga practice – isn’t a gift handed to us by some all-knowing, white-bearded man who lives “up there” with helpers – angels, elves, what have you – working to make sure we get what we just ask for and then assume will ‘appear’ – always only as long as we’re deemed “good”.
In my yoga teacher training program, we start with weeks of exploring movement. People who never thought biomechanics or anatomy could be interesting, or as YTT17 peep Joanne said, “Asia made bones seem fucking FUN!!” (we appreciate the value of well-placed profanity in Pranalife) feel empowered by knowing what to do instead of just doing what they’re told. It’s a lot of change, letting go of things we’re good at to adapt to movements that make us feel like nubes. It’s tiring – a good, fun, hard, rewarding kind of tiring. We re-learn what we can do.
And we start asking why – why do we do what we do? This is the heart of yoga, this truth-seeking ability to examine not just our physical actions but ALL actions. Throughout the training I suggest setting down categories of right/wrong, like/dislike, good/bad in favour of asking, “Is it useful?” which leads to “Useful for what?” which leads to people really thinking about why they’re doing what they’re doing. In yoga we call it “intention-setting” or “vinyasa krama” – not just to move but to move in a certain way to reach a certain goal. This is even more tiring, this process of putting down our rocks, letting go of burdensome complexity (as one of my faves, Pavel Tsatsouline, would say: “Stop your complicated weakness and get strong in the traditional sense of the word”) to realign with simple, efficient action – on and off our mats. We learn why we do what we do, and how to do it better.
By the end of the training, we’re tired. And we’re better. We’re freer, kinder, more capable, stronger, smarter. It’s a good kind of tired, borne of doing good work.
by not doing things that fatigue us in useless way; by doing things that tire us in good ways; by paying attention to the outcomes of our actions and asking, “Why am I doing this?”; by working with people who have the same good goals as us and learning collectively; by laughing more; and by listening to the truth, our truth, that speaks to power by saying we don’t give a shit about those outdated stories of their strength and how we ‘should’ be if we want our freedom from them.
Fuck that. If I’m going to be tired, I want it to be because I’m full-out pursuing my OWN freedom. And I want that for you, too. The stronger and freer I am, the better I can support you. And vice versa.
My friend – I want you to be happy, free, truthful, strong, and good-tired. Let’s do this together.
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I’m feeling about 70% right now after spending the past few days out – like many of us in this Subzero Arcticgeddon – with a brutal flu. As I get back to normal on this last day of 2017, I’m thinking – like you probably are – about the coming year. Despite being a dragon lunging into the year of the dog (which seems to unanimously mean struggle and financial ruin for me, F, so now I have to fight against the stars; good thing I’m a badass fire dragon), I’m ready to take bigger chances, feel more deeply, learn like it’s my job, and not let fear of the black dog’s return keep me from living my life.
“A light seen suddenly in the storm, snow
Coming from all sides, like flakes
Of sleep, and myself
On the road to the dark barn,
Halfway there, a black dog near me.”
– Robert Bly, from “Melancholia” in The Light Around the Body (1967)
The black dog of depression, for me, has roots in an essential experience; namely, healing.
When I’m depressed, I slow to an almost stop. I find it nearly impossible to get the simplest things like washing my hair done. Connecting is difficult. Life feels like something happening on the other side of a rain-laced window. I become isolated, my brain slows, and I feel forcibly detached from my life.
Which means depression quiets my life. It strips away everything but the essentials and I become present, because it’s difficult to think beyond the moment. I listen. I notice the quietest of mantras whispering in the back of my busy mind. My dynamic movement practice slows down to the gentlest of actions needed to stay functional. I notice the accumulating weight of the ‘rocks’ of my past that I’m still carrying, rocks that I can put down. When I’m depressed, I clear.
For me, the worst part of depression is the transition out of it back into regular life. Resting can easily become hiding. Letting go can easily become giving up. Becoming okay with only being able to navigate the simplest things becomes a fear of re-engaging with the harder, bigger, important things in life. If I let it, going through a depressive experience can become living life as a depressed person.
I am fortunate that, despite having had multiple major depressive episodes, I am what my doctor calls “high-functioning”. That means I’m able to pull myself out of episodes and self-regulate. Not everyone who struggles with this black dog can, and to all of you I give a huge hug of support and two thumbs up to do whatever you need to do that’s right for you. I recognize your struggle is different from mine. So much love to you, because this shit is hard.
2017 was a year full of great wins above the surface and an undercurrent of constant struggle below. My forties have been a transition into feeling more confident and myself than ever, as well as feeling the effects of age eroding some of my most deeply-held ways of being in the world. I am tired more often. I work harder for less return. My “laugh” lines don’t go away when I stop laughing and I can no longer eat anything without my gut complaining. It’s cumulative, these little things that become constant reminders that I’m turning a corner to a new, unfamiliar path in my life. None of these things is surprising, but they’re difficult to metabolize en masse. I am older. A lot older than some of my former goals can span.
“Downhill” used to be the fun part of tobogganing; now it’s like an extra gravitational force, accelerating the shite slipping out from under me. How do I find my feet again? What kind of goals and energy and action makes sense for me now?
Aging feels a lot like depression.
Which means getting older is an opportunity for me to clear, and to heal. I’m moving into a phase of life that will encourage me to go quiet, become present, listen, slow down, let go, pay attention. Instead of sliding into a kind of living sadness about the loss of my younger life or some kind of mad panicked striving to ‘stay young’, I can rest without going into hiding, release what doesn’t support me without giving up on having bigger, scarier goals, embrace the wisdom that comes with years of experience without succumbing to the folly of thinking the best years of my life are behind me. I can mourn the loss of me as a young woman, and now create space to become older, wiser – and maybe even better.
In 2018 I want to shift from a focus on me (a younger person’s goal) to a focus on my legacy. I want to connect to more of my tribe and create things that make those tribe members’ lives better. In so doing, I’ll do a lot of (terrifyingly) new things this year. Running my yoga teacher training program year after year has shown me that the best way to transform fear into confidence and passion is to add regular doses of challenge and vulnerability.
So, I will take my cue from those brave souls who transform their lives in Pranalife Yoga & Yoga Teacher Training every year and transition to 2018 with my own regular doses of challenge and vulnerability. I can’t stop getting older (nor would I want to; as my dad says, “It’s better than the alternative!”), but I can keep getting better in ways that make sense for me. This year, that means translating my hard-earned wisdom into new content for you to move and live better. Look for videos (yes, finally!) on moving better and taking yoga into your daily life, more writing, and the best Yoga Teacher Training program yet, with new and updated material for living your best life.
May 2018 be exactly what YOU need it to be. May you be brave in your best way. May this be a year of transformation that makes you stronger and safer. May you love well, move well, live well, be well.
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What we get when we turn pro is we find our power. We find our will and our voice and we find our self-respect. We become who we always were but had, until then, been afraid to embrace and live out.
~ Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro
I have a challenge for you:
Run with me on this. I’m not suggesting you start wearing a suit to dinner or demanding payment for walking your dog (though these might be cool experiments to run to screw productively with your life’s status quo – who knows). I mean take on the mindset of a pro in all areas of your life. Think about it –
Going pro means committing. It means risk, hustle, caring about what you do. It means you make it matter, so what you do is rewarding, fair, enriching. When you go pro, you value your time and actions, and you’re clear about what outcomes you expect. You take pride in your efforts and set consistent goals. Going pro means you don’t pass the blame, sit and bitch, quit, or not show up. You learn to say no, so you can say HELL YES to the life YOU want.
Staying in shape right now might look like the occasional gym visit and a lapsed yoga studio membership. If you approached it like a pro, you’d get clear on your goals, set budgets for your time, finances, and attention (what you’ll do, how much it’ll cost, and how much of your life you’re willing to dedicate to it), and you’d quit treating it like something you can skip whenever you want. You’d create a strategy for how to get where you want to be. If you’re not getting there, you change strategies until you do.
If you thought of how you feed yourself like a pro, you’d learn great cooking habits, plan ahead, buy quality produce, and stay creative so your food stays delicious, satisfying, and healthy. You’d require anyone involved in your kitchen to respect your standards. You’d make the hard choices to create good food even when you’re tired or lazy or when no one else might see you eating a bag of cookies for dinner. And when you occasionally eat a bag of cookies for dinner, you’d own it, brush the crumbs off your shirt, and get back to doing better.
What would you as a relationship pro look like? Your focus would shift to the success, health and viability of your connection with others. You’d shed any dynamic you wouldn’t advise someone else to keep. You’d choose what roles you’re willing to fill and get better at them. You’d be a problem-solving master. You’d invest in the value of each committed relationship. You’d expect a rich return on your investments (and divest your assets if you’re not getting what you need). You’d stop being ignored or dismissed because you’re the boss and you don’t have time for that shit.
It’s easy to become complacent in our own lives. We drift off course and sometimes it takes a major life event before we wake up and realize how far we are from where we want to be. What keeps us from saying WTF and immediately taking the helm of our own lives? For many, we just don’t know our value. Who cares, right? This is fine. I’m ok. It could be worse.
It could also be a FUCK of a lot better.
I’ve worked with many people over the years in my yoga teacher training who’ve broken me open with how powerful they are. When they start they’re doing ‘fine’, maybe a bit lost or struggling, usually they’ve lost sight of what they want for themselves. Often they’re wives, moms, daughters, fathers – people who’ve spent so much of their time taking care of others they’ve learned to put themselves last over and over until it feels “normal” or “right”. They’ve placed their own goals and desires to the back of the line and hardly feel anyone would care if they pursued them.
But when they get in this training and finally devote time to their passions, when they’re heard, asked, encouraged, and given tools, they SHOW UP LIKE A PRO. The transformation is inspiring. They stop being amateurs in their own lives and start committing to themselves. They take risks, they get focused, they hustle – and they start to care again about their own dreams. They prioritize themselves again. They invest in themselves, and they see big returns.
My challenge to you is really this: No more blaming others, no more bitching about what was lost, no more letting another day go by while you’re too busy, distracted, or making everyone else’s dreams and goals matter more than your own. Go pro in your own life and find your power, your will, your voice, your self-respect. Find yourself again.
This morning I read that 17,000 people had signed up for Sadie Nardini’s latest course:
A few initial thoughts. First, I like Sadie Nardini. She does Sadie. She’s a brilliant business person, she’s been asking good questions and being how she wants to be, whether people like it or not, for a lot longer than most people would have the tits to do. Good on her. This isn’t about her. This is about that, up there – that image and message, and everything that’s confusing about it.
Can women look like that outstandingly fit woman in the photo above? Of course. I mean, that is a real woman. I’ve been that woman, I know lots of women who work out constantly and watch what they eat and sculpt their lives around their fitness goals in order to maintain that kind of body. And I say GREAT. Anything that gets people moving and healthy and happy and isn’t causing harm is great in my books. So you go, Sadie. Congrats on a successful course that’s addressing a market. You go, badass model in that photo. I know exactly how hard it is to get a body like that, and I admire your dedication.
Here’s what I really want to talk about, though: Why do women want to be younger, youthful, toned, tightened, to “transform” our bodies? Really, though – why?
Let’s first parse out the idea of healthy movement and lifestyle from the deeper, more insidious issue here. Clearly, I support movement. I dedicate my life to encouraging people to move, be present, feel great, embrace life, take risks, try new things, play, learn, grow, challenge themselves – you know, LIVE. Wanting to move and be healthy and happy is awesome.
Why do women want to be “younger”? What does that mean? Where is that desire coming from, and how is it being fed?
I asked myself this question recently: What does it mean to want to be “younger”? Younger than what? I’m 41, and I’ve wasted a lot of energy the past few years anxiously watching laugh lines no longer disappear when I’m done laughing, or seeing my hard-earned toned butt get lost under increasingly ‘stretchier’ ass skin. All my life people have communicated to me what they notice and value by saying things to me like, “You don’t look [my age]; you look way younger” (and they mean it as a compliment). For 20 years I’ve heard that and thought, “Oh WHEW. Good! That’s good.” And now I’m thinking, Is it, though? What happens now? Now that my wrinkles and my grey hair and my ‘relaxed’ skin are part of how I look. If I don’t look “younger”, then what?
It seems trivial, and in the face of most of the world’s problems it is of course. But women spend an exorbitant amount of time on this issue, and an even more exorbitant amount of money and energy chasing after this youthful ideal. For that reason alone it’s time we sat down and took a good, hard look at what this is about, what we’re doing, and how we can change our minds.
There’s a male equivalent to this anxiety around youth in terms of virility, ability, strength. But a glance at photos of the Fortune 500 CEOs will tell you that being “youthful” and “looking young” aren’t priorities for men when it comes to their success, recognition, power, or ambition. When men are in shape past 30, it’s usually admired without being required.
But women? Well, don’t get me started on how a glance at the photos of the current Fortune 500 CEOs will reveal only 6.4% of them are women (and Fortune will tout that as an accomplishment, because it’s the highest number in the “63-year history of the Fortune 500.” Yay? But that is another post.). When women cease to be youthful, what happens? If you listen to the verbal drool of society, women who age “let themselves go” (blame), aren’t “taking care of themselves” (shame, blame), get fat, frumpy, lazy, past their prime, unattractive … all labels that might just encourage a woman to not want to do this aging thing. And what do we as women learn will happen when we cease to be youthful?
Well, I call bullshit.
On all of it.
You know what “younger” is? Superficially, it’s an artificial, well-marketed opinion about what “beautiful” is: tight (usually white) skin, perky breasts, a toned ass, no belly fat, lots of energy for running around with flowing (usually blonde) long hair in the sunlight (which you are actually avoiding in real life, of course, because you want to keep all of the above and your beautiful wine-grape self will turn into a California raisin in that blistering sunlight). Youth is beautiful – apparently.
I recently tried a meditation technique where I was able to distance myself from this filter of alleged “beauty” standards. And you know what? All of that negativity around my own body WENT AWAY. I actually like my hands’ landscape. I like my strong legs wrapped in softer skin. I don’t actually care at all that the baby fat has left my face.
In fact, once I was able to see myself the way *I* see myself (and not how I’ve learned to scrutinize myself against this alleged “ideal” of “beauty and youth”), it seemed creepy to me that anyone would want to make me younger. It’s infantilizing. It’s dismissive of my intelligence. It’s disrespectful to me as a human who has experience and value to bring to the table.
Why would I give a shit about someone who would rather evaluate the tone of my ass than the thoughts in my mind?
Why would I allow that kind of script to run in my own head?
Well, I don’t. Not anymore.
What would happen if you lost all of these alleged markers of “beauty” that come with youth? Think about it. Would your partner stop loving you? Then I’d suggest you’ve got some serious thinking to do about why your partner loves you, and how that’s going to go as you get older. Would you lose power? Then, love, you’ve got a problem because this is an investment with diminishing returns. You’re only going to get older. You’d better start thinking about your own power, how you attain it, whether you have it or it has you, and how you can change your relationship to it so you become empowered. Because if you only have power from your beauty – you’re in a very precarious position. If you say you’re “empowered” but you’re terrified of losing your youth, you aren’t empowered. You’re letting an external judgement rule your life.
Women, hear me –
Youth is what you are when you don’t know anything. Youth is when you’re naive and innocent, easily influenced. You know – kind of dumb. Youth is when you’re full of enthusiasm and you think older men know shit and are fun and love to ‘help’ you! Youth is when you’re trying to suss out your sexuality so you’re trying all kinds of dumbass shit to see what it feels like and what reaction it garners. Youth is when you don’t feel powerful, so you’re easily intimidated. Youth is when you don’t have power, so you want get close to it to learn it, learn from it, benefit from it, the way a child hugs the leg of an adult to feel their strength and safety. Youth is when you don’t have a good job, you don’t have YOUR career yet, you’re not yet taking care of yourself so you’re relying on banks for loans, credit cards, and sometimes other adults for lunch or rent or new shoes the way your parents took care of you as a child. Youth is when you think there’s something called a “free ride” that’s actually free.
Youth is when you don’t yet know who you are, what value you can bring, or what the fuck you’re doing that’s got any meaning.
Youth is what you should grow out of in your twenties. Because it’s fun, for a while. It’s adorable, for a while. It’s an important learning phase, for a while.
And then it’s just infantilizing.
When society, when men want you to be “youthful”, what do you think they mean? Just “beautiful”? Well, that’s already troubling; why the fuck do they have the power to tell you how they want you to look? Fuck that. And youthful as a state of high energy? Sure, ok. Again, that’s really got more to do with being healthy. You can be any age and have great energy.
Beyond beauty, then, what does being “youthful” mean? It means you’re being valued for being devoid of thought or position or wisdom – you know, for being NICE and AGREEABLE and SWEET. You’re more “fun” when you leave the hard stuff up to big daddy and just giggle at his jokes and let him have his way with you. Relax, daddy’s in charge. Be sexy!! Be great in bed!! You’re beautiful when you let a man “be a man” and you expend your incredible, powerful energy on being thinner, cuter, quieter, sweeter, more helpful, supportive of his/their needs – on being less, on being there *for others* rather than fill your rightful space as ambitious, self-driven, powerful, and self-centred (you know – what men are encouraged to be and what we’re supposed to love them for yet despise in ourselves as negative?). You’re youthful when you don’t have your own agency, so you rely on (usually) a man to pay your bills and give you an allowance. Why get grey hair stressing about silly little finances, right? It’s all “too hard” for a little thing like me! Youth is when you’re expendable for the next young little thing.
Consider what it is you really want, who it is you really want to be. And then I hope you begin to embrace your age, not in some kind of resignation but as a deeply-felt freedom and long-awaited relief. Free from the shackles of “youth”, you can finally say what you want to say, stand up for yourself, earn your own way, reclaim your inherent agency over your life, stop playing into the empty fantasies of people who are holding you – and themselves – back with regressive wishes and insecurities. You can finally be the hero, complete with all of the struggles and strength-building challenges that make heroes worthy. You will finally be comfortable in your own skin. You will finally like yourself. You’ll understand your value, and take up the space you’re entitled to in the world. You’ll be able to influence others in positive ways, as an empowered role model. People will love you for more than what you do for them. You will love you.
I for one can’t wait. I want you to be fully you. There are a lot of people in the world who long for you to stop trying to be something you’re increasingly not, to let go of this outdated way of being, and get on with being your fabulous self. I can’t wait to meet you – the real you.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get an om-grey to finally rid myself of the artificial blonde in my naturally silver-streaked hair, and book a photo shoot with my amazing Pranalife Yoga community and Mirror Form Photography, to replace the photos on this website with ones that represent more of what I’m talking about here: beautiful diversity, ranges in age/size/colour/ability, and inclusive of the incredible community I’ve built over the past decade. Over the next few months you’ll see this website transform into one full of authentic yogis whom I hope give less and less shits about being youthful.
“If you want confusion and heartache, ask vague questions. If you want uncommon clarity and results, ask uncommonly clear questions.” ~ Tim Ferriss
You’ll always feel like you don’t have enough information to answer it – because you don’t. Your entire life is way too long a trajectory, and hopefully you want to do A LOT of things. When you ask yourself this question, your brain tends to give you that screen we used to see when the programming ended on tv (that’s right, kids, there was a time when the program would just *stop*).
Or for the younger crowd, it prompts your brain to give you the spinning beachball of death a l’Apple.
“What excites me?” (thanks: Tim Ferriss) Break it down into doable steps. What excites you right now? What excites you to think about doing over the next year? How about five years from now? Don’t try to connect the dots, just imagine, let your brain expand and explore.
“What kind of person do I want to be?” (thanks: Marie Forleo) This gives you more of a moment-by-moment manual for living and de-emphasizes trying to control so much of what’s outside of your circle of influence; namely, the events of the future that all have to play nice with your plans for them to work out. Instead, get an idea of how you would BE in a number of different situations and see which ones seem to bring out/support your Best Self.
“How do I want to feel?” (thanks: Danielle LaPorte) This question is brilliant because it gets to the “why” behind the “what”. If you think you want to be a Yoga Teacher, this allows you to tap into *why* you want that. If you follow that rabbit down the hole you’ll likely find that you end with a feeling. You want to do what you want to do because you WANT. You have desires to fulfill. It’s not selfish; it’s your ‘destiny’ and the source of what drives you. Own your feelings and desires and let them work *with* your head.
“What’s the very next thing I could do to move in the right direction?” (this one’s mine) I’ve often found that a “start anywhere” approach works for me because being stuck is pretty much the worst. Just get started, get moving, and course-correct as you go. I find that sitting down and free-writing at the beginning of my work day is exactly what I need to overcome the inertia of stuckness and get me moving toward my goals. That ALWAYS feels better than procrastinating, avoiding, or panicking.
Almost every time I feel confused, I’m asking questions that aren’t useful. Clarity comes from better questions. And don’t be discouraged if it takes a bit of practice before you know how to answer. Be patient and practice Santosa: Be content to start where you are, as who you are, and do what you’re able right now (thanks: Rolf Gates).
Try these on and let us know in the comments what kinds of insights you get!!
Are you ready to create the change you’ve been craving in your life? Check out Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training.
I’ve had a lot of opportunities with Pranalife Yoga that could’ve satisfied me: globe-trotting retreats, dedicated private clients, bigger and better classes and workshops … But I poured my blood, sweat, and creative energy into Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training. It takes a lot of work to build a credible, successful, quality yoga teacher training program, and you’ve got to really want to do it. Here’s why I really wanted to (and did) do it:
YTT was a pivotal experience in my life. I knew it was going to be massive, but it affected me in more ways than I anticipated.
That style of deep exploration into our physical practices continued through the training into all aspects of our lives. The process was insightful, practical, revealing, sometimes hilarious, and there were so many ah-ha moments. I had to be willing to lean into discomfort, doubt, attachment – I had to have the courage to look directly into who I am. It wasn’t always easy, but it felt safe because Asia’s calm, confident support was there throughout. Thanks to that work, I came out with a deep knowledge of myself, a completely renewed approach to life, to yoga, to how I am with others. I came out transformed.
What makes Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training different? Asia. She’s a strong, fierce, fearless, wise leader who sees people and masterfully connects with their higher selves. Asia knows how to uncover potential in people, even when it’s been denied, overlooked, and/or undervalued.
Through this monumental journey of YTT that Asia leads people through year after year, she embodies freedom, strength and resilience, and gives people the sense that they, too, can step into their truth. She’s a true guide, a strong mentor who challenges others with love and determination to become not just “good enough” but better, stronger, to wade through the bullshit to rediscover and reclaim their power, their right to speak up, stand up and be powerful.
Meet Sarah DePoray:
You can get a lot of the nuts and bolts details about Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) from the website, or use these quick links: