Friday, October 10, 2014

Set fire to the snake oil stands

"Showy" sells. It's also bullshit.

There's heaps of showy yoga out there. This is also true of CrossFit. Considering these two things changed my life drastically, I get real ragey towards those that make these wonderful ways of connecting to yourself unsafe and a mockery.

Do not go to a CrossFit that doesn't have a beginner program of some sort. Do not get offended when you show up to a yoga class above your level and the instructor asks you to modify your movement. Anyone worth their salt will do these things. Those that aren't will ignore you and collect their paycheck.

"But, Katy, handstands and muscle-ups are so fun!" First, I wouldn't know because I'm not proficient at either of these things. Second, of course these are fun - fun for your friends to like on Instagram. Are these things fun for your body if you don't have the requisite strength and ability to engage the correct muscles and the solid base to get you there? Hell no. And, both of these things are crazy advanced. You're asking for your shoulder to pitch a fit. Lemme know if all your Instagram friends pony up for the surgery you'll surely need if you don't set yourself up properly for success. Run screaming from a yoga teacher that instructs a "basics" level class to hop into handstand. Neck punch the CrossFit trainer that has you kip your life away into your first muscle-up.

It takes time, application, and discipline to become a true student of any avocation. This is not sexy for the immediate gratification crowd. If you're in that crowd, contemplate who you're truly living your life for.

It's easy to sell rhinestones. It's damn hard to mold yourself into a diamond.

Invest your money in an instructor who takes you on as a whole being - someone who gives you the tools to adjust your movement in a way that makes you strong and ready for when you can tackle something tougher. Write checks to those who are honest in their communication with you, take your goals seriously, and don't allow you to do anything stupid on their watch.

And, please, for the love, don't be stupid. It may take some time, but you will eventually realize that "showy" is just that - superficial nonsense. Hallelujah to that always fading.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ain't nobody got time for Walmart yoga

We occasionally need to be smacked in the face with what we already know. This happened to me in grand fashion yesterday after reading this editorial from Breaking Muscle.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have offered an Amazon Local deal twice at YogaVerve. I knew after I talked to a marketing guy from Amazon this wasn't really a route I wanted to take. He was all salesman. It made me feel dirty (in a bad way). And, for a chick that never does anything she doesn't want to, I'm still surprised I agreed to the deal - $35 for 10 yoga classes, and Amazon keeps half. Eep. It pained me to made my classes worth $1.75, and, newsflash, that is not an accurate representation of what my classes are worth. I was told to go with Amazon because unlike Groupon and Living Social, Amazon advertises to a target group (those interested in what you're selling), and only goes within the immediate geographical zone around your studio. Sounded good, and I will say, some very quality folks have come into my studio from that deal. And, true to Amazon's word, several have stayed and bought regular packages. Yet, I still felt sick about the offer. And, here's why - it's not fair for either side. I'm not getting what I'm worth, and the client isn't paying accurately for the service. Neither of us can really feel good about the exchange.

I adore my clients, and not because they pay my bills, but because they are rad humans. They make teaching fun, they get stronger and braver right in front of my eyes (which is why my job kicks ass), and they truly want me to succeed. That's because we like each other. We come from different socioeconomic, cultural, and religious backgrounds; and, we like each other. Being a grown-up with independent thought is pretty cool sometimes. My point here - I want to keep it this way. I want to keep the mutual respect. If I continue to offer discounted classes, that line is blurred because you get what you pay for. It may not be an intentional thing, but I've seen it happen, and it's why I've avoided Groupon completely and always will.

Groupon (and any other company like it) purchasers want a deal. Nothing wrong with that. The problem occurs when you associate what you're paying with the service you're getting. If your mind says, "I only paid $2 for this class," it's not far to travel to, "This class is only worth $2." I've seen it - deal comes out, studio space gets overcrowded, old school clientele gets pissed, instructor gets flustered, Groupon people don't know anything about etiquette and forgot to look up beginner class times, and boom - it all comes together as a pretty shitty experience for everyone involved.

I am an attorney. My student loan debt is a damn nice house (that I'm not living in). I have also dropped close to $10,000 on yoga teacher training. I have certifications from CorePower for hot and power Yoga, Veteran's Yoga Project, Prison Yoga Project, and Yoga for Amputees. I've attended workshops, festivals, and countless classes to improve my practice and teaching. I teach yoga, and I am a professional. This is no different from when I worked as an attorney and was also a professional in that realm. Just like your job, I constantly study to be better at mine. And, it shows. Because of this, I will not subject myself and my incredible staff to any more discount programs. I'm happy to offer incentives for my loyal clients and referral perks, but I'm done with any outside anything telling me what my prices should be and how to run my business.

My gut feeling has been right so far with this business, and I will never ignore it again. One more Amazon Local deal that comes out on June 17 (I know, I know - agreed to it months ago - no takebacks, apparently), and then I'm done.

I'm not worried about any other studio offering a deal or moving in close to me. They are nothing I can control. What I can control is providing the best experience possible for my clients and fostering a community of growth for them at my studio. If you keep your focus on your people and being the type of teacher you'd pay good money for, you simply can't fail. Sure, you can go out of business, but that's not always failing. And, I'll take my chances with that type of "failure" over becoming the Walmart of yoga studios any day. [Credit to the above referenced column and my beautiful friend, MC, for the Walmart line.]

Take a deep breath, and support as many local businesses as you can today, my friends. We are the backbone of what makes a community thrive. And, we are worth every penny you spend with us.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Full stop on whiny little tit syndrome

I frikkin' hate social media. I don't like promoting on it, looking at it, making sure my posts for businesses show up correctly, so on and so forth. I don't buy the argument that it's done tons of good, either...for any good it's done of reconnecting a lost puppy with an owner, it's ruined roughly 9,873 relationships and reputations. It's an icky Dear Diary with small amounts of entertainment thrown in the mix (see #conversationswithmomma).

I am, however, quite guilty of sharing inspirational quotes on social media because hey, I dig inspirational people. At this moment, I'm clicking back and forth on the CrossFit Games site because little Chris Spealler is about to qualify for his 7th Games out of the South West Regional, and he outweighs me by about 15 pounds. I like heart. I like to share heart. Paul Coelho is good for this; Rumi is good for this. Some whiny little tit who just got dumped is not good for this.

And here comes the point: it's time to retire the victim card, folks. If what you're putting out to the world has more to do with "woe is me" and "someone should be great to me when I'm being a twat because we're in love," well, guess what? You're a twat.

Stop making excuses for your shitty behavior, and FFS, definitely stop making excuses for someone else's behavior. Remember your worth and what you're capable of - it's not using Google images to make your ex feel bad.

Less of this:
More of go the fuck outside and be productive.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Worry bout your damn self

Back in my days of teaching little kids, there was a common theme - they'd come over and let me know that Maria was not, in fact, on her carpet square, or that James did not wash his hands after he went to the bathroom. For anything not a major offense, my answer was the same, "Worry about yourself."

I was sitting at dinner the other night with a table full of people I didn't know. After talking for a bit, a guy and I realized we both knew someone who went to my CrossFit.

Me: "Oh yeah; she's great. Quiet, hard worker."

Him: "She does CrossFit? She's not that fit though, right?"

Cue my face that has produced the nice set of wrinkles I have in my forehead.

"Not everyone in CrossFit is superfit...but, everyone there tries hard, and it's a great community. She's strong."

"But she could be fitter. She could try harder."

Defensive me: "Yeah, so could I. So could you. She works her tail off."

It's possible I had consumed a few beers and didn't say this in the most kindhearted of tones, but seriously, who the fuck says that about another human that's working to be better? And not only that, one of my humans. A lovely lady that comes to my classes and trusts me and puts in the time to improve. I don't think there's a person in the world that sits back and says, "Ya know what? I'm at the peak of human performance. I'm good." Not so much. Everyone can be a better version of themselves.

He then muttered something (because I think he wanted to hammer in the fact that he was, indeed, a self conscious douche) about him being fitter than most of my CrossFit. I just laughed. "No, dude. You're not." And hell, who knows, he may be (this part's a joke, but I'm leaving it open...I've been wrong about men before - see previous post). But, I do know this - I watch very regular people work out with amazing intensity day to day - they do things that are abnormal as hell when it comes to strength and fortitude. And anyone with that kind of toughness does not have to say aloud how tough they are.

Heed your second grade teacher's advice, folks. Mockery is for assholes.   

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dearest men,

Ya don't even have to worry about it anymore. It's not you, it's me. We're done. And I'm not making some grand move to the other side; I'm just finished.

Blame it on John Legend. Blame it on Dustin Kensrue. Blame it on my idiot heart that thought I could handle it all. Nah, wait...blame it on you. It's you, not me. You told me to trust. You told me you felt the same. I bared it all and let you see it, gave you honesty, gave you generosity, gave you more than you deserved.

And you gave me back exactly what, deep down, I knew you would. And it's not the first time you've done it to me, but it will be the last. It took this one...this one after roughly 16 years of relationships for me to nail on the head exactly how I will never feel again.

I may slip up. It's possible you may get my naked body at a moment of weakness in the future. But trust, dearest men, that I will never "mean it" with you again.

One of you may have been the iceberg sticking out of the water, but the whole of you under the surface sunk the fucking ship. I learned my lesson. It took me an embarrassingly long time, but I learned. It took a divorce. It took hearing, "I don't care enough about you to try." It took tears and trips across the world and empty bank accounts.

There's a reason I never trusted you. Being right has done got old.

It took the lot of you, and I will not take another.

And please, dear men, don't patronize me with saying this is fresh and I'll love again and all the other bullshit you can conjure. I gave you that countless times, and I am done giving my life away.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Reset button

I'm having a bit of a rough time lately. Mind you, I've got first world problems out the wazoo, but it's quite scary not being able to pay your bills, eating like ya shouldn't, and sleeping about half the amount you require. These things screw with your hormones and kinda mess up your life. And this being consistent over several months' time, well, that just sorta turns one into an asshole.

And today, I was feeling particularly assholish. I was spent. There was a raccoon's nest in my unkempt hair, and I had on the same clothes from yesterday...and, my friends, I do a lot of the fitness...

My last yoga class of the day was at Kate Barnard Correctional Center. I forced myself to drive to the east side. I wasn't into it. I feel like my nonprofit has been neglected at the expense of having to focus on for profit endeavors lately, and it pisses me off. I spilled my coffee on myself getting out of the truck. I pulled out our mat box and realized some random incarcerated bitch had stolen my mat cleaner.

I really wasn't into it.

I let my class know I was a little tired. I managed not to tell a student I was going to write an L and an R on her hands if she didn't get the left/right business together. Remember - "assholish." And then, about 3/4 of the way through class, an older lady tells me her knee hurts.


"Yeah, it just pops in and out and that hurts. I've been doing a lot of squatting since I got put in here, and it hurts more."

"What kind of squatting?" asks the slowly perking up me.

"Well, I use that machine in there..."

I stopped class. "Stand up. Show me what you're doing."

It was not a good thing. Her knees were together, her torso was on top of her thighs, her face was all squinty.

"Hold up - stop that. Everybody, we're gonna learn how to squat."

I taught them a proper squat. CrossFit HQ woulda been proud. "Now, does that hurt your knee?"

" feels fine." She looked damn surprised to be pain free. I grinned.

"Do 150 of those a day - air squats - and don't get back on that silly machine."

"Yes ma'am."

My mood immediately changed when all the ladies squatted correctly...they looked strong; they looked motivated. I stopped feeling tired and started feeling like I needed to work my tail off to get CrossFit methodology in our prison system.

And just like that, I was back to the old me. Time for a steak and bed.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Will work for equality

A friend's recent Facebook status update has stuck with me since Christmastime. It was short, to the point, and bothersome. He wrote that his young daughter was in the car with him when they saw a panhandler on the side of the road. She said to her dad that the man should go get a job because those are free. His response was "Enough said!" And, then, naturally, a bunch of likes and "Way to go kid!" comments and such.

The problem here isn't the kid, because ya know, she's a kid. Of course her views are shaped by her parents. It's that the dad never had a thought in his mind to let his child know that just maybe things weren't so easy and free for that human. It's starting her on the path to already looking down on another group of people, and the homeless are just so dang easy to look down on.

I won't debate the argument of whether the panhandler was homeless or not. I'm sure some are not. The vast majority, however, are. It blows my mind that there are folks out there that think people would make the choice to stand on the side of the road with a sign had they any other options. Anyway, back to the dad...

Homeless people do have some resources to help them get a job. Those come in the form of understaffed shelters with limited space and abilities. But, they can't just go to the local library and look up jobs on the Internet - you have to have a driver's license or a utilities bill to get a library card. They can't walk into a 7-11 to fill out an application for employment looking like dirty, hammered, dog shit either. I mean they could, they just wouldn't get hired.

And lest we forget, many of these people are homeless because of addiction or mental health issues. This is where society really loves to turn it into class warfare, because if you are poor and become homeless because of drugs or alcohol, it is your fault. If you are wealthy and dependent on drugs or alcohol, you have an addiction, and you can go to rehab, and it's a disease. We rarely look down on those who can afford rehabilitation in these instances. In fact, we celebrate them for getting out of the situation...when the only reason they can really get out is because they had the funds and support to make that happen.

I wish my friend's daughter had been told that maybe that man on the corner had a lot working against him when it came to employment and a life as privileged as she lives. I wish he had told her not everyone is allowed the same circumstances, but we can all help each other out.