Native Yoga Toddcast

Saskia Bolscher - Body Positive Yoga

November 06, 2022 Todd Mclaughlin / Saskia Bolscher Season 1 Episode 89
Native Yoga Toddcast
Saskia Bolscher - Body Positive Yoga
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Show Notes Transcript

Join this Body Positive Yoga podcast discussion I had the pleasure of having with Saskia Bolscher.

Please visit Saskia on her website
You can also find her on Instagram at @yogawithsaskia_
And also on TikTok here @yogawithsaskia

Saki's bio:
I’m Saskia, a curvy yoga teacher who’s passionate about making yoga accessible to anyone, regardless of ability, size or background. 

As someone who has continually experienced being the largest person in yoga classes and teacher training courses, I know how difficult it can be to step into a studio class. But believe me, yoga is not just for flexible and thin people. I strongly believe that yoga is for everyone and so I will make you feel welcome in my classes. I encourage modifying poses and the use of props to make poses work for your body, not the other way around.

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LinkedIn: Todd McLaughlin

Welcome to Native Yoga Toddcast. So happy you are here. My goal with this channel is to bring inspirational speakers to the mic in the field of yoga, massage bodywork and beyond. Follow us @nativeyoga and check us out at All right, let's begin. Well, I'm so happy to bring Saskia Bolscher on to the podcast today. Please check Saskia out on her website, which is Also you can find her on Instagram@yogawithSaskia_ and also on Tik Tok, same handle@yogawithSaskia, no underscore. You don't you have to remember all that! Because I will have the links in the description below to make it easy for you to connect with Saskia. I found Saskia by through Instagram and I was really, I am really inspired by her post. I found that her message, I find her message to be really inspiring. And I'm just gonna read her quick intro on the homepage of her website. She writes "I'm Saskia, a curvy yoga teacher who's passionate about making yoga accessible to anyone, regardless of ability, size or background. As someone who has continually experienced being the largest person in yoga classes, and teacher training courses. I know how difficult it can be to step into a studio class. But believe me, yoga is not just for flexible and thin people. I strongly believe that yoga is for everyone. And so I will make you feel welcome in my classes. I encourage modifying poses and the use of props to make poses work for your body, not the other way around. Yoga is for you." So on that note, that's my intro. Let's bring Saskia on the channel. I'm so happy to have Saskia here with me today and Saskia. You're joining me from London or England. Is that correct? Yes, that's correct. Thank you for having me. Of course, I'm I saw you on Instagram and I love your message. So I really am excited for or thankful for you to take some time out of your day to speak with me. And when we were getting connected, I realized that I only put in put my timezone in and then I got when it took us a second to actually connect that that Oh, no, maybe I wasn't clear about what time we were supposed to meet that. So I'm so glad that it worked out for you. What time is it over there?

Actually, it's a 6:

45 evening.

Oh, that's not so bad. It's 1:

45 here. Perfect. That's pretty reasonable. All right, cool. Thank you so much. And I'm curious if you can just get us started in the direction of what you're passionate about? In your your teaching? Yes. Thank you very much for asking Todd. Um, so I have been a yoga teacher for almost four years now. And I have practiced yoga for much, much longer than that. I've always been sort of in a bigger body of, I've always been curvy. And so I've always found that I've had to adapt my practice a little bit to fit my body. And I've always been quite conscious that I've often been, you know, the biggest person in a yoga class in my yoga teacher training. And for a long time, I felt that as a yoga teacher, I wasn't I wasn't good enough. Because I thought you know, you have to be thin, right? Because you see all these other yoga teachers, they're all thin and flexible. And I was like, oh, you know, if I'm really want to make it then that's, that's that needs to be my goal. But along the way, I've sort of come to realize that it's good to have representation of different ranges of bodies. So I've actually Twisted that around and sort of made it my goal to show that anyone can do yoga. And if you're in a bigger body, you can absolutely do yoga you may have along the way and use props. But I'm all for it. And I, I show that in the classes that I teach, and I show that on Instagram on tick tock. I make videos to show people how they can make yoga work for their body rather than the other way around. That's cool. What type of response are you receiving? Very positive. Yeah, actually, only almost only positive. Yeah. People are very grateful to, to see how they can adapt poses by using a block or a bolster, or strap or whatnot. And also, I'm getting lots of messages from people similar similar to me or, you know, yogi's, in a similar size body, saying, Oh, it's so nice to see someone else who's also bigger, who's practicing yoga, who is a teacher. I've had a student in the studio, where I teach you locally come up to me and say, you know, I'm so amazed, and I'm inspired. And now I'm gonna take a teacher training, because I know now that I, you know, I can also do it. So yeah, it's been really, really cool. That is cool. How did you first get involved in yoga? Oh, that's a good question. I get this question a lot. And I don't really have a good answer to it. I think in I started going to yoga classes at the gym, I think like a lot of people and I think it's a long time ago, and I just I enjoyed it. I mean, I enjoy moving my body I enjoy different types of exercise like dance and, and other things I was never into into sports really. So yoga worked very well. I'm fairly flexible. Not super, super flexible. But enough. So to that, that yoga felt good. Yeah. And yeah, I just I just kept kept going. And over time, I got more and more into it started practicing more, took it a bit more seriously went on some retreats, etc, etc. Cool. Yeah. What style Did you gravitate toward? I mean, you mentioned in the gym, but do you remember the teacher that you had at that time? Or maybe there was multiple teachers, but was there like a specific style or arrangement of posture that stuck out in your mind? Or sticks out? It was hatha yoga. First, first tried. And I really I vividly remember practicing with Jai breath, you know, in those first few classes, and I thought it was really cool. And it really added to the to the practice. And I hope as well that, you know, when I teach that people, you know, people in my classes are experiencing the same, the same thing, but yeah, mostly Hatha Yoga. But I experienced I experimented with different styles, going to different different teachers, different styles of classes. I've tried Kundalini. I've tried Bikram wasn't a fan. It's a tough one. For various reasons. We won't go into that. Yeah, vinyasa. astanga. Yeah. All different styles. And then further along the line, I discovered the in yoga and this is one of my one of my favorite styles. Now. That's really cool to practice and to teach. That's how I found you. Because I was I thought, let me know do the hashtag in Instagram and and you popped up, so Oh, cool. Yeah, I know, right? Sometimes when I do when I do hashtags, I wonder like, what the heck am I doing? I mean, is anybody even like, Does this do anything? And it does, actually, I think, yeah, I know, it's kind of fun to just go into one and see where you know what, you know, just, I guess, catalog everything. Or that's really cool. I want to make mention early on in the conversation so that people can find you and so it's really easy. Of course the links are gonna be in the description below, but your website is yoga with And on Instagram, your handle is yoga with Saskia with an underscore at the end. And on Tik Tok. It's, you got yoga with Saskia no underscore cool. Yeah, yeah. Oh, correct. Awesome. Yeah, you can find me there. You do a great job with your videos. I like the one that you did the most recent on Instagram that, you know, we're just kind of showing like how to use a blog to be able to sit on a blog to be able to get your spine straight. If you're practicing. Yes, sitting. Cross legs. I'm curious. You've had a chance to practice in multiple styles and try different classes out and that you've grabbed and gravitated toward yen Is there a Um, is there a specific like, block or model or use of props or modifications that is your favorite? Something that like you go to every single time that you dislike? Yeah, yeah. So definitely when sitting in meditation, as you've seen in my latest Real World Tech Talk, video, I always set up either on blocks or on a bolster, because it just allows you to sit, you know, up straight, and more comfortably, and it doesn't take any effort. And you can actually be in the polls with ease as we're meant to be, right. Yeah. So yeah. So cumbersome. Yeah, stable and comfortable. But I think the main thing for me in making yoga work for my for my body and for other people who are in a bigger body is to make space for the body. So like in a child's pose, taking the knees wide. Over the fold, taking the feet a little bit wider, so that there's space for the belly to go in between the legs. And in twists. You know, you can't sometimes twist that far. So maybe like opening arms or, or things. Yeah, things like that. That's, that's the main thing. I would say. That's yeah, I always use props in all of my, one of my practices, you know, if in a forward fold, if the floor feels far away, you know, put a block underneath Nice. Things like that. Was the teacher training that you took? Was it geared around accessibility? Or is that something that you've had to kind of evolve and create in the moment as you practice? Yeah, the latter. It wasn't necessarily accessible. It was a very classic Hatha Ashtanga teacher training. But before I took that training, I had already done two Yin teacher trainings. So as you know, again, uses a lot of props. So that, so that was already, you know, introduced to me the use of the use of props and how to close the gaps, you know, between body parts or between your body and the floor with those with those props. So I already knew about that. So that definitely helped me when I took my my 200 hour teacher training. Yeah, so I kind of had to figure that out for myself a little bit. But I quite I quite enjoyed doing that. You know, it's like a puzzle. And then when you when you get it, it's, it's quite cool. Agreed. Yeah, I think like just having the open mind that it's okay to do that. I have, you know, originally studying in the Bikram method and the Ashtanga method, both of those schools and traditions were extremely opposed to the use of props. And yeah, and now I'm so in love with props, if they're, you know, if it's needed, it seems like such a logical thing to employ. Do you have any other motivations or people of inspiration that you look to to learn different ways about going about practice? Um, yeah, that's what there's, there's a few. There's quite a few actually, other yoga teachers, who I follow online, there's Diane Bondi, I think she's great. There's Donna Noble, who's yoga here in London, who's just written a book called Teaching Body Positive Yoga. And she's fantastic. She's not in a curvy body herself, but she's gone out of her way to make her classes. Body Positive, accessible to a wide range of people, which is amazing. And there's so many, there's so many more people who I look up to, but I think, mainly what it's, it's been sort of a lockdown project for me to, to make all these poses work, you know, and, and figure out a way to make them more accessible. And like what you said as well, you know, it's not using props is not a sign of weakness. I think I think it shows strength that you know, your body and you know, what you need? And, yeah, sometimes props can be used to make poses more advanced as well, you know, so there's, there's all sorts of different ways and reasons to use props. Good point. I use the term this has been a lock down project. Can you define that for him? Because when he said that, first I thought like, oh, actually, I've been teaching for four years. And you were in London at some point. You, you probably were doing more online teaching, but maybe that wasn't what you were talking about when you said, is that what you meant when you sit down? Right? Yeah. Like, yeah, does that make sense? So I don't know how strict it was. Over where you're in Florida, right? Yes. I don't know how strict it was. Were you But, but we had a pretty serious lockdown where we were only allowed to leave the house like once a day. So we were all working from home sitting in our houses. And you know, what do you eat? What do you do you eat, you know, so I ended up gaining more weight. And then I found that a lot of these poses that normally worked quite well for my body didn't work anymore. So I had to, I had to adapt because I wanted to keep practicing. It was frustrating at first, but but then I realized, you know, I can I can actually make this work, and I can show it to other people as well. So that was kind of my, you know, lockdown project, to share these videos on Tiktok and on Instagram, and to show how you know how you can make yoga work for everyone. Really? That's really cool. Yeah, so I'm thinking so four years ago, so then if we're in 2022, you started teaching in 2018. Ish around there. Did you start? 2019 20? No, it's almost it's almost four years. Yeah. Did you start teaching in a studio right away? Or were you implementing? Yeah, yeah. And that's cool that when you started teaching, do you start teaching a yang class right away? Is that what you gravitated towards, since that was what you felt that you enjoyed the most? Is that where you started? Or do you start with a hottie Hatha class or? Yeah, my first the first few classes that I taught in studios were yen yoga classes. As I felt most equipped to teach those classes I felt most drawn to that style. And yeah, definitely felt the most comfortable teaching teaching a yen class. But as I got more comfortable teaching a yoga class because you know, we've all had to do it for the first time. Yes, yes. It can be very nerve wracking. So as I got more comfortable, I started to, you know, teach hatha yoga classes and like slow flow classes. So, so now I do kind of a mix of things. Yeah. Cool. Were you tech savvy prior to the pandemic? I so I actually, it teaching yoga for me is like a side hustle. So I work a corporate job. The rest of the week. Yes, it so yeah, I'm familiar. Gotcha. No, you're with tech. When I when I looked at your link tree, you did an amazing, you have a great setup. And I like the way like you have a free offer. And I noticed that you have some videos or things available online. And yes, I also noticed that you are promoting, I believe it's a yen training with Cassandra. Is that correct? Yes. Is that like an affiliate link where I directed people toward her? That's cool. Yeah, everything that you're doing, as I keep studying how to do all this, I was like, wow, you have all that set up. John. Thank you all that came relatively easy, or have you been studying all that to try to figure that out? Um, I guess that has come relatively easily. Just suppose also following other people seeing what they do. And yeah, doing a similar thing, but but making it my own? Yeah. Very cool. Yeah. Nice. And this yen teacher training that you that you mentioned. That was? Yeah, with Cassandra Reinhardt. And she is yoga with Cassandra on YouTube. I think most people know her. Yeah, I've seen her as well. It's a big name. But yeah, she has an online yoga teacher training. And I took that training. And I thought it was amazing. It's a really, really good teacher training. It's a really nice add on, you've already done your 200 or 300, or how many 100 hours. So yeah, that's why I want to do want to do, you know, become an affiliate for that. That's helped me a lot. That's awesome. I had seen it before. So when I saw it again on yours, you know, when you when you see the same thing multiple times you start to go, oh, maybe maybe there's something to this, you know, maybe this sounds a good program or yeah, yes. So currently, currently, how often are you teaching? What's your typical? Because I know you're working. It sounds like you're working full time. When do you have time to fit in teaching? Good question. So I teach in the evenings and weekend, and I currently teach 12345 classes a week. Three in the evenings and then two on the weekend. Cool. Yeah. So you're saying, enjoy that. It sounds like you're pretty busy then to hold down a full time job and do Do you have dreams, apps aspirations of teaching full time? Or are you happy with being able to Step away have the security of a solid job and not have to worry about how is my yoga teaching gonna support me? Yeah, I love that question. And it's something that I'm still searching in. I, I have I have dreams, or I would say I had dreams to make this a career. But I've come to realize that it is tough to, you know, to make a living out of teaching yoga. And I do like the security of, you know, a job and a monthly income. And it allows me to do all the things that I love to do. And so for now, I think this, this works for me, you know, my bills are paid. And I teach yoga, because I love it. Not so much. Not so much for the pay. But yeah, really just because I want I want to share it, share it with with people, and the fact that I could pay for it is an added bonus. That's really cool. We, my wife, and I run a teacher training here at our studio in Florida. And sometimes I feel like the advice I give people is don't quit your day job, right off the bat, you know, and do what the way you're doing it, of slowly building it and really enjoying it and doing it because you love it. Because sometimes when you have to do it. And it's not easy, that can be really challenging. So that's actually I think, a really great way to explore. Being a teacher and having fun enjoying it. I remember before I did a teacher training or took part in a teacher training, I remember reading in a Yoga Journal magazine that there was an article someone had written about and how they loved yoga. And then once they went and did a teacher training and started teach started teaching that they did not enjoy yoga anymore. And I was kind of flabbergasted when I heard that I was like, How could that be like, What do you mean, but but I guess I can understand to the stress of it maybe is like, wow, I was doing this because I love it. And now that it's my profession. Now I don't like it as much anymore, which is a really interesting catch 22 That, I guess can happen sometimes. So Exactly. And that's kind of what I'm afraid of would happen if I if I was doing this full time. And I really had to hustle to you know, to pay my bills. And yeah, that's cool. So when you teach in, do you like to read out of a book, read poetry play music? Do do predominantly like a silent practice with them? Or do you try to keep talking the whole time to attempt to keep people's attention on a, like a? Have you ever noticed where sometimes where if you're teaching it and you go quiet for too long, and people start moving around? Like it's a little bit awkward? Like, you know, they're struggling a little bit, and it's probably good to be in silence, but sometimes it feels like I should like, distract them a little just so it's not so intense. What what do you think about all that? Yeah, so my style is very much I would say minimalist in that way. I talk a little bit about yoga in the beginning. But after I would say the first two, three poses, I tend to not speak very much at all, but I tell people that I will, you know, be talking so that they know that it's going to be quiet. And then you know, every every few minutes, I will, I will remind them to you know, stay in the moment and to stay present with their breath and their body. Because as we know, our thoughts are all over the place. Even you know, even in the in practice. So it's good to it's good to stay present. But yeah, that's that's really it's I like my classes to be fairly silent. That's the way I like to practice as well. So it's the way I teach. Nice. Have you taken any retreats and or classes and or sessions in meditation? I'm not specifically well actually, that's not true. I've taken a yoga nidra course in India. That was that was very helpful, but that's very, that was quite specific, focusing on yoga nidra and the scripts and what the science is behind it. But one of my Yin teacher trainings, because I did one you know, one was online and the other one was in London that was very much focused on mindfulness and meditation as well. But that was the very first training I ever did. So it was all very new and yeah, it was a little bit overwhelming, but but I do I do have a I remember bits and pieces from that. And it does help me when I, when I teach your classes, where did you go in India. So I've been to India three times now. First time I went was Rishikesh. And I stayed in an ashram. This was before I became a teacher. But it's kind of where the idea of going to teacher training started from. And, and then the second time I went to India, I went, I went on my teacher training and that was in Goa. Cool. And, and then, just before the pandemic started in March 2020, I took that yoga nidra training in Rishikesh again, so, where were you in Rishikesh when everyone was getting the alert to say you have to get home immediately. No, I, I had just about flown flown back by then. So yeah, I got out just in time. It's amazing. I heard, I heard a story of somebody that was taking a group on a retreat to India, and they were all somewhere but quite far away from Delhi where they had all flown into and they all their phones started lighting up kind of like, okay, you have 24 hours to get out of the country or you have to stay and I was like, hearing that story. I was like, Whoa, like, you know, because then of course, you tried to buy an airplane ticket and there's only Yeah, X amount of tickets so the price for the tickets go up like 20 times and so everyone's like in that really strange predicament of what do we do? You know, is this for real? What's going on? So yeah, that sounds like pretty good timing. At least you got to enjoy amazing India and then you got home safe and sound and then okay, I guess I'm staying home now for a while. Yeah. Well, yeah, it was good. It was good timing. I was I was very lucky. I have not been to Russia cash, but I really want to go can you tell me about it? What some of your some of the your favorites and not so favorite parts of it were? Yeah. Have you been to India at all? I have been to South in Mysore and then to go as well. Okay, cool. Yeah. I guess all the yogi's go to the same places. Right. Yeah, we should probably branch out a little bit. But I should do a huge, huge country, right. It's a huge country. So I mean, it would take a lifetime to explore. Yes, but I've heard Rishikesh looks incredible. That's why I really would like to go there. The time that we went to Goa, we went during monsoon season. And it was rough. It was challenging. All it did was raining every all the shops were boarded up and they were like why are you here? You should be up in Rishikesh right now. That's where everyone else is. So now I know. Now I know. But I'm curious what your thoughts are. Rishikesh is beautiful. I am. I think for me, the main difference is in in Goa, everything is a little bit freer. And like you can walk around in shorts and the in bikini, but in Rishikesh. And maybe this doesn't make a big difference for men but in Rishikesh as a woman you have to kind of cover up. Yeah, you're not really meant to wear like tight leggings, unless you know you've got like a long dress or something over it. And yeah, so that was that was a big difference. I didn't I didn't mind. It wasn't so hot that it was uncomfortable. Yeah. And you've got the beautiful, you know, the river, the Ganga River, which is stunning. You know, it's this super fast flowing, like almost magical River and everything happens there. You know, it's like, yeah, people people wash and there's offerings. And yeah, it's just, it's just beautiful. The colors in the water. I don't know, it's hard to describe, but it just sort of cuts the city in to, and then there's a few bridges across that. And, you know, and just there's cows and monkeys and, and everything cross and people and scooters crossing those bridges is like a crazy city, but it's beautiful. Oh, wow. It sounds cool. Yeah, it is. Do you have dreams aspirations of returning to India? I have and I'm actually I'm planning to go to go live again. Again. I should I should really branch out and see a bit more of the country. But yeah, I'm going in December for another teacher training to India. Nice. And I'm really excited. Which which training are you going to study with? So it's a 300 hour vinyasa training this time because my initial training was Hatha Ashtanga. And so I've chosen this vinyasa training to try a different style because I practice vinyasa, but I don't. Don't really teach it so much. I teach like a slow slow flow, which is, I guess can be seen as as vinyasa but slower. Yeah. So I'd like to I'd like to try that. And I'm going to train with some Pune yoga in canacona. The reason I chose this school? Well, one of the reasons is that my, my teacher at 200, our philosophy and meditation and pranayama teacher, he teaches at this at this school now, so yeah, and I'm excited to train with him again, because he's, he's incredible. So nice. Very cool. In the weather in December and go was pretty ideal. From what I hear. That's yeah. And yeah, and go is pretty. I mean, go has fun and quite busy as well, like, there's a lot going on and go up. But I had heard I had heard people say that go was like, the freest part of India, in terms of like, what you mentioned, where Western culture is, you know, like, just, it's not frowned upon as much maybe in other parts of India where, yeah, like you said, it's interesting in Mysore, I had people tell me, so when I went, I just brought like, board shorts, like my, my surfing shorts and T shirts. And so I said, Todd, if you just put on long pants and get like a button up shirt, people are gonna really respect you, and, or just treat you differently. And I just went and got some classic slacks and a couple of like button up shirts. And it was amazing how people started to talk to me differently. And then someone explained that, well, if you're wearing shorts, it's like you're still in adolescence that the transition from adolescence to manhood is represented in wearing pants. And so I thought, Well, no wonder no one could look at me seriously, because I was like, This man and boys clothing, but um, it's yeah, it's interesting. They just those cultural differences that takes a little time to catch on and get hip to. Yeah, yeah, definitely. Yeah. I think it's, it's showing respect to the culture as well. You know, to weather where appropriate, appropriate clothing. Yes. That's cool. And 300 hours. I'm thinking that's a fairly long training. How long are you going to be there for a month? Nice? Yeah, sounds amazing. Yeah, I'm really looking forward to it. Very cool. Yeah. It'll be nice to be in India again. Awesome. Well, I'm so happy to hear that. Saskia. I'm curious. What? What other sort of dreams and goals? Do you have like in the near future? Apart from teacher training? Like, do you do have plans for doing more online coaching and training? Do? Are you still focused on maintaining connection that community and like, the real time Are you enjoying teaching in person? Or more so than online? Or where do you fall with all that? Yeah, um, while I am teaching online, during the pandemic, I, I think I enjoy it more to be in the studio with, you know, people, yeah, physically there. It's just a different vibe. And it's funny, because when I, my, my own practice has always been very much on my own or with, you know, YouTube video. So just, you know, going through my own practice, I never had a real yoga studio routine going for myself. But I really enjoy teaching in the studio and being with the students and seeing them come back to classes and, and getting to know them. And it's just this, uh, your I mean, your experience as well. It's just this, this whole vibe of being together in a room and moving together and breathing together and the energy changes, you know, from like, the start of the class to the end of the class, and it is just magical, I think, agreed. Are you seeing an England full return to everybody in studios? Or is there still a mixture of people that are maybe got comfortable with just practicing at home via the online medium? What are you noticing over there? I think very much people like going back to studios, the studios are busy. But I think there's always going to be some people who are more comfortable practicing online. And also, I think maybe some styles are quite suitable for practicing online like yin and restorative. Because especially if you do like an evening class after that, you just want to roll into bed. You don't really want to have to travel back home from the studio and especially if you got all of your props then, during the you know, taking an online restorative or yin yoga class at homes can be quite comfortable. Yeah, good point. I just taught a gentle class right before the podcast and when people came out there, so I think I just want to take a nap now. Yeah, I'd like me to it is a compliment. Yeah, I agree. I, I'm loving more and more gentle Indian style practice. And I wasn't teaching that before. I was mostly just doing the young style. And now I'm gravitating more and more toward the restorative and the yen at least imbalance with some of the challenging vinyasa style classes. So I'm so thankful I finally turned the corner. Do you just it's beautiful. What do you feel like by going like, say down the direction of vinyasa? Do you see yourself ever turning a corner where you're only practicing vinyasa? Or do you feel at this phase of the game? If you had a crystal ball, look into the future that you'll always have a nice chill, gentle again, style at your core? Yeah. I think my preference is to practice more gentler styles of yoga. And even though it is, even though I might, you know, take a flow class or teacher flow class, it will. It won't be it won't be super young, it will still be slow. And holding poses for longer. But not necessarily all the way to yen. But I think, oh, it's hard to say because you never know, right, what the future may bring but, but for now, I enjoy the gender styles, definitely to teach. But I also think that it would be good for me to practice a little bit more Yang styles here in there. I think it makes us good. Yeah. Be honest for most people, because we need both right? We need Yang and Yang, we need to be imbalanced. Yeah. Do you feel like the body positive movement is gaining momentum? And is something like when you were growing when you were younger? And growing up school days, that type of thing? Do you feel like this is something that's evolved a bit to where it's easier to be positive? about body image? Or is it something that you've just worked really hard at to cultivate? Um, or maybe it just comes totally natural? Yeah, probably both, probably both. I think one thing is growing, you know, getting older and becoming more more comfortable in my own skin and more comfortable with who I am not caring so much about what other people think. That's one thing, definitely, but I also see that the media is changing. You know, now we've got an artist like Lizzo, you know, who's, like, she's so super successful, and, and popular. And I don't feel like we had that so much when, you know, when I was when I was younger. And that's just one example. But I think there's a lot. There's a lot more diversity now. And I'm here for it. Yeah, I love I love to see it. Yeah, I think it's definitely changing. Because, you know, our society is not just thin white people, you know, we need to see all sorts of people we all deserve to do exist. We're all worthy. So I think that's that's a message that we need to keep spreading. Agreed. Do you find that the you meet people that had you? Do you ever have people give you like bad vibes? I mean, do you ever get like say you come in to teach class? Have you ever had anybody? Like, throw shade your way that? Yeah, does that ever happen? Thankfully, not really. I guess the only slightly negative thing is one time I went, I went to teach a class and then someone was like, Oh, I think it was a teacher who was teaching a class before me. And you know, she assumed that I was I was a I was a student in the class. And, you know, because I didn't I didn't look like a typical yoga teacher. But, but really, I mean, if that's the worst thing that's happened, and I can't complain, it's been pretty positive. Yeah, that's good to hear. That is really good. That is good to hear. Yeah. And actually, I find that people who you know, who don't have the typical Yogi body, and I don't really want to use that word, but I mean, we don't you know, we're not in like a very slim flexible body. I find that they they come back to Michael losses, you know, often because I'm just drawing that conclusion, because I think I might make my classes accessible and, and more inclusive. Yeah. And I think for me as well, if I had, if I had had a teacher who was sort of my size or just, you know, non non slim, I think I would have I would have felt more inspired. Maybe I would have started my teaching journey earlier. Who knows? Yes, good point. Do I come across people that have the wall, we're on video so we can see each other but like, quote, air quote, um, Yogi body yogini, body yoga body, like slim body? Like he said, I think that's a good term to say that way that don't feel positive about themselves, even though like maybe from the magazine angle. Okay, wow, look how they've achieved that body. And then, of course, to use the word perfection, I know is not a reasonable word for yoga. But um, you know, it might look like, wow, they've achieved that bodily perfection that I should be striving toward with my yoga practice. But then you analyze where they're coming from mentally, and they still feel like, I'm not there yet. I'm not there yet. Eventually, I'm going to be there. But I'm not there yet. And I think that that almost exists for I don't want to say everybody, because I can't I don't know what everyone's thinking. But I know personally, like, even when I look back at pictures of myself when I, you know, years ago, and I can remember thinking, oh, man, one day I'm going to I'm going to get a little bit better. And when I look at the pictures, I'm like, Oh, my gosh, what was I thinking? You know that that's crazy. So it is a really, it's a pretty big issue. I think in terms of, I think a lot of people are even attracted to yoga purely because they see this like, really like sculpted out situation and go, Oh, God, if I could just have that, then I wouldn't be happy. Like that would be the answer to happiness. And and it's not that simple. Obviously. I know I keep kind of going on that thing. But any other thoughts around that? Have you come across that too? Like, has anyone ever? Yeah. Yeah, even even people who, you know, seemingly have a more ideal kind of kind of body. Everyone has hang ups about about their body? Nobody is I think almost nobody is 100% happy with their body. People always want something that they don't have, right? Yeah. So yeah, like you say, I suppose, you know, being more inclusive, and body positive can be can be for everyone, even though the body positive movement, very much grew from people in bigger bodies. And people of color. But yeah, it's, it should be everyone should feel, you know, good or even neutral, you know, about about their bodies. Even if you don't, if you don't feel feel good about your body, at least, let's not feel negative. About our bodies, they're, you know, they're just functional. Yeah, that's, that's really all it is. We all have a body, there's not, there's no need to be judging how we how we look, I really appreciate that. I still, I still catch myself all the time. You know, being hard on myself. So I that's one thing when I saw your, your profile, I just felt so inspired by your message. And I feel, you know, it's uplifting, and I really appreciate. Thank you so much. You're welcome. And I appreciate you saying that. I mean, that's, that's why that's why I do it. You know, that's why I try to do my best to spread this message. That's cool. If there's, if there's somebody that perhaps is listening, that maybe is like in high school age or you know, kind of in that younger phase where it's there's the peer pressure is just outrageous. I have a teenage son and nine year old daughter so I hear and see and kind of watching from their angle now. And I'm curious, what types of tidbits of advice would you offer? And everybody I guess I would say because I don't think it just comes from like our body size, shape or our background on that level. I think like, people are kind of faced with a lot of challenges, especially from the adolescents. What What kind of advice would you offer the adolescents? Oh, that's a big one. I would say People are much less occupied with how other people look. I think we're all far too busy with how we ourselves look. So it's, it's like a myth that everyone is always watching you and judging you. I think we are the biggest judges of our own bodies. So it's yeah, it's time to let that let that go and just enjoy what your body can do and enjoy, enjoy life focus on focus on the positive things in life. That's good advice. I had someone came in for class today. And I was telling her how much I really am actually enjoying social media now. And when I've been on social media, I'm kind of old. So when it came out, I started getting my I started getting on it, and but I've gone through phases where I've been like, ah, get me off, get me off it and I catch myself like watching it. And man, you know, just judging my own life experience off of this like kind of seemingly perfect image that's created via like, oh, man, they're on vacation, or Wow, look how much money or Whoa, look at this lifestyle, or look at all these different things. And so I'm, I'm pretty good now at observing my reaction to it, and knowing when it's time to put it down. But lately, because of doing the podcast channel, I feel like what I really enjoy about being able to have conversation, like this opportunity to have conversation with you is it kind of gets like a bigger, more full story about the people that I'm seeing on the Instagram. And so to be able to go on there and find people and then have like a real conversation is causing me to actually really enjoy it. And so she had this person I had made mentioned to she had made a comment that she thinks it's kind of evolving and changing a little bit. Do what are your thoughts on, say, your comparability of posting and the evolution of that since your first foray into expressing yourself through this medium? Yeah. I have become more comfortable. But also, I've sort of let go of what people what people think. I think that's if we really want to make a difference on on social media and spread a message, you kind of need to Yeah, meet need to let go of what people think of you because it's not important. The message, the message is more important. And yeah, sure, you know, I post, I post videos or photos, and I might look at them and think, Oh, this is not my best angle. But you know, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter how my body looks in these in these pictures or videos, or it doesn't matter that my thighs look really big. Because it's about about the message that I'm that I'm putting out there. That's amazing Saskia and I think you can be you can be real in that, and I still I don't post everything of my life, you know, I post different stuff, mainly. But when it comes to when it comes to yoga and making things more accessible, I'll try to be as real as I as I can. Yeah. That is cool. That's positive. super powerful. Thank you. Yes. Well, I'm definitely trying to save myself and to not be so critical. And have you been? Have you been as bold as to? I mean, you kind of answered this question already. Because you kind of said, like, look, I'm posting most of the fun stuff. And I'm, like, really going down, like, but have you? Have you consciously taken video slash photo, you kind of said that you'd have done this before, like notice a little bit of judgment and then posted it anyway. I'm trying to get better at that. Like, I hear people actually try to, you know, they coach in that direction of like, don't judge yourself, like what you're seeing and what you're analyzing and what you're picking up on. Nobody else is really gonna pick up on that they're just not like if I'm concerned about all those little details. It's it's such a almost liberating experience to just not care and to post so in some respects, social media could potentially be a growth tool. Afraid I guess. Yes. I think it's important to start seeing it that way as well. Yeah. I think he's I think you're so right. And I it's work like that for me because coming back to my my quote unquote lockdown project, you know, I, you know, we're sitting at home and you know, I was making these Tiktok videos and and there was this whole crop top trend going on and I was like, I can't wear a crop top, you know, I'm way too big for that. But then I just started doing I just started wearing wearing it around the house, and then I started making some videos, you know, wearing a short top and I was like, Oh, actually, this isn't isn't so bad. And then it's just about sort of pushing yourself to do things that are slightly out of your comfort zone, and then all of a sudden, it becomes normal. And it's no longer it's no longer scary. And the same goes for, you know, me making making these videos, you know, showing myself from from different angles, because in pictures, you can just sort of suck your belly in and imposing a certain way that you look a bit slimmer than you are. But that's not real. So yeah, in showing showing yourself in a video, you can't really hide all of those things. So you're visible, you know, but I think I think we need we need to do that. Because if we want to inspire other people, we need to let go of those of those fears, because you want to show that yoga is for everybody. So if we're trying to airbrush ourselves into looking better and and that defeats the whole purpose of the message. Yeah, good point. What about along the lines of ageism, because I feel like, I also get really excited when I see my elders. Now, obviously, with social media, like if my elders that are that are, say, Aedes, like, they've kind of some of them, some of them are cellphone savvy. And they they're working the iPhone, and, and then some are just like, Oh, don't bother me with that, like, you know, like, I can't even figure out I'm barely having a hard time turning the coffee maker on let alone like. Um, so I mean, I totally understand why there might not be the use and the older generations, but I have to admit, I do feel inspired by the elderly folk that are posting and showing that it's okay to, to grow old to and to love ourselves as we get old and to embrace it, as opposed to feel like we have to change it and alter it to still try to look like we're a lot younger than we actually are. Yeah, so I think there's a positive there's a, there's the potential for as we keep getting older, we still have a lot of work to do, right? Like we could still kind of be hip and be at the same time. And also life doesn't end You know, when you grow old, when you when you retire, you still want to be active. You still want to enjoy life and see places, people and yeah, what are your thoughts? It is inspiring. Yeah, I want to make sure sounds good. Cuz I know we got started a little later than we'd hoped. And I don't want to take too much of your time. Are you okay, good talking about okay, cool. Yeah. I appreciate that. And what about the critique on there was, I wish I could remember the name of it. But there was an there was a show on Netflix that came out recently that was showing, say, the dark side of social media in terms of, like, you know, like, say, the dopamine element of like, the likes and the hearts and yeah, you know, and, you know, you get you get a rush, like, Whoa, I posted something, and Oh, everybody likes me, and then you post something else, and oh, my gosh, someone doesn't. So, you know, obviously, we need to be aware of that, and yet still build into the equation, this element. Like, I don't care if I get feedback, but what do you knit that that's hard to do? Do you do? Yeah. Yeah, I think it is hard. Yeah, it is hard. Isn't it something that you can't really avoid? I think, yeah, it's just part of life. Now. It's, it's not gonna go anywhere. It's here to stay. And I think for for you, and I have, you know, grown up without social media and then gotten into it later, later on, you know, it's probably easier to to not attach yourself worth to it. But I can imagine that if this is if this is the world that you that you, you know, you're born into, and there's social media has always been around for all of your life, then that's maybe a different story. Yeah. Yeah. I don't know. I can't. I'm not an expert on this. But it's it's tough. Yeah, I agree. I think that's a good answer. I'm not an expert. Are you there? I'm just watching it like Yeah, yeah. Have you ever seen that show? It's tough. It's a tough Well, this like, because social media has this like plus side but it also has the dark side. As you, as you mentioned, because it's amazing to connect with people all over the world, like without social media, I wouldn't be talking to you right now. Good points. And I think that's wonderful. But yeah, there's also that there's also the dark side. But I think one way to, to make sure you're getting, you know, you're not sort of going down, you know, the dark side to too much is to follow people who inspire you, and whose posts make you feel better about yourself and, and not be afraid to unfollow people, if you know if their posts are not making you feel good. Whether that's their intention or not. That's irrelevant. But yeah, you got you got to look after yourself. We all need to Yeah, that's a really good, I think that's a good strategy to have that as the element of okay, I'm gonna, I'm gonna go on, I'm gonna maybe just slow down a little bit event. And like, how do I feel after this? I mean, that's very similar. Obviously, if we're in a meditation practice, and we're asked to bring our attention to our knee, what is your knee feel like right now? Like, sit on your knee for a little bit and just see like, so I think we could probably teach meditation skills through healthy social media, in action, but I haven't actually thought of that before. until just now. I don't know if that's a good idea. Maybe? Yeah, maybe notation into 2022. When you see that post, close your eyes for a moment, just sit on. How do you feel? Did it work for you if it didn't? Follow? unfollow? Right, yeah, good point. All right. Yeah, I think we covered most of the bases that I was hoping to go down the track with you. Right? Did I miss anything? I'll give you a second. I don't feel like we have like, we could take a pause. Like we could stop talking for a moment and see if anything pops in. But I just want to give you a second to see if there's anything that there was one question in your, in your email. Something about how, what yoga has done for me and how it's changed my life, something that it was something along those lines, I did forget to ask you that. And I'm only bringing this up, because it's becoming more and more apparent to me what what yoga has done has done for me, and I think the main thing is, you know, all the body positive pneus aside, it's made me calmer and more tolerant person. And because I like, at my core, I'm sort of, I'm very, like, rushed kind of person, I'm very impatient. I can be quite judgy. But I feel like yoga has made me more mellow. And there's toned all of that all of that down. And I can now sort of practice non attachment, as we are taught in yoga, teacher training, and see myself separate from all the issues and everything that's going on in life. And just, you know, be be as it be as I am. Yeah, I'm struggling to, to articulate this. But I think you did. I think that I'm really glad you brought that up. Because often the question of why, why would I want to practice yoga? And what is the purpose and I like the fact that you set aside from all of the other elements like when I really investigate where I'm what the transition that's occurred from, point A to B. Sometimes this might be to thinking too much, but all think like, if if I had made it from point A to here, point B, with yoga, and then how to point A to point B without yoga, what, how would that look different? Like what would have happened? I think personally, I'm so excited. I'm still alive. Like, I don't know that I would still be alive because it really did get me to chill out and actually, like, start taking care of myself. And not Yeah, sometimes it's extreme things, but that's really cool. I think that's a good point. I do believe that yoga really like when we look at everything that's going on. I like that You said to that the issues in the world like to be able to separate separate ourselves from the issues of the world. That's a powerful statement because it's difficult to do that. Right? It's easy to get really wrapped up in Yes. The hype. Where are you at these days in relation like personally during the whole 2020 2021 going on into 2022? I never really watched news like, I mean, I wasn't opposed to news but man, I got so sucked into watching the news. And I got so like, revved up. And now lately, I saw someone recently that on the weekend, and he said, Oh, man, things are really going downhill things are really bad. And, and I and I hadn't watched any news at all all week. And it wasn't, it wasn't by like design. I guess I just been getting so excited about other things that I just got kept myself busy. And I was like, wow, what did you come across that kind of made you feel that way? Like, I'm curious, like, what's, what's going on? Because I know, there's a lot of crazy stuff going on. I'm not trying to say that the world is just a place. I mean, there's some gnarly stuff going on. So I know that. But um, I guess I had a week where I somehow separated from it a little bit. And I don't want to I don't want to be ignorant, but it was a good week. Yeah. So I'm curious. What was what is your experience lately? What do you do to manage all that? Yeah. I don't really watch the news. It's funny because my partner is a news director. So yes, they, they fill you in. Kind of Yeah, but I, I, I experienced that. Usually, the news will filter up through social media. So even being on scrolling on Tik Tok, you'll, you'll get the news. Even if you don't turn on your TV. But yeah, no, I don't. I purposely Don't, don't watch the news. Because I feel like there's so much negativity and it and it will affect me if I if I watch it. And I just I couldn't do without without that negativity. You know, we got a, maybe this sounds very ignorant as well, but we got to live our lives and try to be the best the best person that we can be. And that will mean something different for everybody. Yeah. But yeah, we can't carry all of the world's problems, you know, you got to maybe pick a cause and do something about it if you have the bandwidth. But But if not, then that should also be okay. Agreed. Saskia, good point. Seems like a balanced way to look at it. So I appreciate that. Well, I really enjoy. First of all, you being open to even doing this with me, you didn't think you know me from the man in the moon. And you very quickly wrote back and said, I'd be delighted to do that. Thank you. So first of all, that takes a lot of just trust. And I really appreciate that. Like when I reach out to people that I don't know, I'm trying to move outside of my comfort zone and do that more. Reach out to the people as well. And I just don't know, like, I'm like, What is this person gonna think like, I mean, this random person out of nowhere, saying, will you converse with me? So first of all, that this, yeah, well, thank you talking about yoga. I love talking about body positivity. So I'm here for it. Okay. And it really trade field notes. For me, I learned so much. So this medium has been like, for me just an incredible learning tool, because I just really appreciate like hearing how you how you conduct your classes and what your experience has been. So I just want to say thank you for sharing all that information, being super open, willing to converse. And I really enjoyed this conversation. Saskia. Thank you. My pleasure talks. I enjoyed it, too. All right. Well, do you have a final closing statement? Oh, God. Putting you on the spot? No, it doesn't have to be anything. It could be a moment of silence if you want. It doesn't have to be anything. Or you could just say no, thank you. I think I've said it all, but I'm just curious. I do have a closing statement. Something that I say a lot in my classes. So I will leave this message for everyone who's listening. Continue taking up space your way fit. That is awesome. That's a good one. Saskia. Thank you. All right, been a real pleasure. Thank you, Saskia. We'll do it. We'll do it again. We'll do it again. I'll stay in touch with you. All right, cool. Native yoga Todd cast is produced by myself. The theme music is dreamed up by Bryce Allen. If you liked this show, let me know. If there's room for improvement. I want to hear that too. We are curious to know what you think and what you want more of what I can improve. And if you have ideas for future guests or topics, please send us your thoughts to info at Native yoga center. You can find us at Native yoga And hey, if you did like this episode, share it with your friends, rate it and review and join us next time