So, you may or may not have heard about what's been going on in Georgia.
So, I'll do my best to sum it up. An organization, which claims to be concerned about the childhood obesity rate in Georgia, has released an onslaught of negative, shaming, scare-tactic filled advertisements on billboards and in bus depots around the state. The type of advertisements they're running are distressing to say the least. If you want to see what I mean, here are some examples.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out, that if the goal is to encourage a healthier lifestyle, shame doesn't work!! Self-conscious kids are more likely to hide, play video games, and lead quiet, sedentary lives than confident kids. If we raise our kids to be confident, then maybe they won't second guess themselves if they want to try out for a sports team or start up a fun physical hobby like cycling, jogging, hooping, dancing, or martial arts. The more our kids hate their bodies and themselves, the LESS likely they are to step out and do something new and different. I was a chubby kid and then a fat adult, and I'll tell you that I didn't start leading a more active lifestyle until I began to LIKE my body. I can't say enough how important this is. So, in response to S4L's icky tactics, a number of folks in the fat acceptance and body positive communities have taken action. Here's a couple of my favourites:
Marilyn Wann (author of the book FAT!SO?) began an online counter-campaign to S4L's shaming ads by editing submitted photos of individuals to include their own "I STAND" statement meant to inspire and encourage (NOT shame). You can see the photo and statement I submitted above. You can read more about this project here. And keep an eye on new STANDards (as they have been named) via her tumblr page.
Ragen Chastain (professional level dancer and author of the popular blog Dances with Fat) began raising money for a campaign to compete with S4L. She raised the money needed, including a matching donation from More of Me to Love and will be putting up POSITIVE message billboards and advertisments to send the kids of Georgia a more body-loving message. Read more about her progress here.
I support both of these projects wholeheartedly and am so grateful to all of those involved in them for their hard work and their efforts in addressing the issue of fat shaming in Georgia.
Happy New Year!
Wow, how time flies!!
I began this year, not with resolutions, but with determination to complete several goals I have set for myself. The most exciting, of course, is to complete my training and receive my Yoga Teacher 200 hour certification.
There's been a lot of studying, and I found myself getting absorbed in lots of extra materials that I acquired, which have been so helpful. But, the time has come for me to complete my first stage of training. My practical exam will be completed by Saturday and, once it and my other materials have been marked - I will be officially certified at the 200 hour level. Hooray!! This is a huge milestone and I am so excited to see it happen.
But that's not all I've been up to! Since October, I've been leading a gentle Hatha Yoga class called Yoga Bears, designed especially for a wonderful group of men from Vancouver's Gay Bear community. They are a warm and accepting group who never fails to amaze and delight me every week with their enthusiasm and growth in their practice. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with them, and hope to continue working with them for a long time to come.
But, now that my training is coming to a close, I am finally making plans for the first Body Positivity Yoga™ Gentle Hatha Yoga Class Series (all genders). I've put a poll up on my Facebook Wall to see what days and times work best for those who are interested. Please do go there, like the page, and leave your feedback on the poll! Right now, Wednesday early evenings (6-7 or 7-8pm) are leading with Saturday mornings (10-11am or 11am-12pm) a close second. Once I have a clear idea of the most popular time slots, I'll work on nailing down the location, but it will most likely be Vancouver or Burnaby.
2011 was a big year for me. In the spring, a teeny tiny dream was born - to become a Yoga Teacher who specializes in leading classes for the OTHER people: people who have been curious or interested or even passionate about yoga but have not felt comfortable attending the classes available in their communities - either for fear of fitting in or concerns that the class material would be too intense or advanced for their level of ability. With care, I've grown that teeny, tiny dream into a reality. Launching the Body Positivity Yoga™ classes will be the result of a gigantic leap of faith in myself, and the continued determination to see my dream become a reality. And I have to tell you, it feels pretty amazing.
What I want is for my future students to see themselves mirrored in me and the other students in every class. Teaching the class as an out and proud queer fat femme Yoga Teacher, I hope to create an environment that is welcoming to all, so that no one has to fear "not fitting in". This yoga is about YOU. And YOU are beautiful and amazing - exactly as you are.
Looking forward to seeing you in all your fabulousness on the mat, very soon.