Hello, friends! There are a lot of ways I could serve this up, but I think the best is by practicing radical honesty, and simply sharing.
After the month of May I am taking a break from teaching live classes. This is not a “goodbye” by any means, but a ~ l o o o o n g ~ overdue time of rest and easeful transition that I’ve owed to myself. The last two years have been challenging for me in many ways, some of which I’ve shared a few details about: healing from a traumatic birth (still working on this), finding routine and rhythm amidst Covid and other life stuff, adding a new member to our family, and never-ending changes in my partner’s work shifts/hours, to name a few.
Want to take a live class with me before my break? Sign up here.
In a world that constantly tells us to “go, go, go!”, pressing pause is an act of rebellion –
Over the last two months I’ve felt like everything imaginable was screeching “STOP!”, yet I continued largely ignoring the signs until an old and painful injury reared its ugly head about two weeks ago. Turns out, I have a lot of stored trauma in my body from the birth of my second-born. This has been manifesting in aches and limited range of mobility on a good day, and searing pain on bad days – impacting my sleep, mental health, ability to play with my kiddos, and overall wellbeing.
It is my duty to myself, our sweet little community and beyond, to push pause. Rest is radical, my friends! In a world that constantly tells us to “go, go, go!”, pressing pause is an act of rebellion – choosing your rest and joy is of utmost importance.
I am far removed from the South Asian source culture where yoga comes from. To better honor the roots of yoga and dismantle oppressive systems, I must take this break to interrupt the patterns that aim to hold us to the unsustainable goals of grind culture, perfectionism, urgency, individualism, and the false narrative of there being “one right way”. I’m calling to mind many of the characteristics of white supremacy culture, in this original work by Tema Okun. Resting, appreciating, setting realistic timeframes, and understanding that there are several paths to the same destination, are all revolutionary ways to build community, trust, and to start healing the wounds of white supremacy.
I’d also like to speak of the immense privilege I have here: I am financially stable enough to take this break with minimal impact to me or my family. Not everyone has the ability to step away from a job or project even when a break is desperately needed. I acknowledge this. Exciting things: my partner just accepted a new fully remote job! This will allow our family to settle into a rhythm that best supports each of us for the first time in years. I cannot tell you how much of a relief it is knowing that in just a few short weeks I’ll have my adventure partner around even more.
Some Questions You Might Have About All This Jazz
How long are you planning on being on break?
For right now I am leaving it open-ended. Why? I know myself! I’m a Capricorn – a self-dubbed “chronic planner”, and I know if I pick an end date I’ll stick to it like glue, even if I know in my heart I should extend or shorten this time. This will help me stay true to the nudge I feel from the universe, and true to this commitment to myself.
What happens to my membership?
All current members will have their memberships temporarily suspended starting 5/31, and will receive a free one-month unlimited membership to the On-Demand Studio, featuring over 50 full-length classes, including pranayama, meditation, and a variety of asana styles (restorative, vinyasa, all-levels, and more).
What about those of us who aren’t members, have class packs, or drop-in on occasion?
Not to worry, you can get an On-Demand membership! The On-Demand membership will have the same equitable pricing levels available for all of my offerings – every level receives the same benefits: $45, $30, or $15 per month for unlimited access to a growing on-demand video library.
What if we still want to continue a live practice with a teacher?
I’ve got you. I created this document featuring my absolute favorite teachers - folks I’ve learned from, taken classes with, or have been in cohort with, who have impacted my personal practice and teaching. I center and uplift queer, trans, South Asian, and other BIPOC practitioners. If you can’t join one of my faves for a class, and you consume their content (via social media, their websites, etc.), I encourage you to send them a few bucks, likes, and shares for their wisdom and time.
Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare. –Audre Lorde
So What Does This Mean for Me?
It can feel *real weird* to simply imagine taking a break. You may also not be able to take an indefinite interruption from your daily grind. Where does this leave us?
Audre Lorde said "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” She wasn't talking about self-care as eating a smoothie for lunch and tossing a bath bomb into the tub. For Lorde, self-care was much more than buying a new scented candle or engaging in other materialistic consumption; it was both the nourishment that supported her ability to effect change and a radical act in and of itself. This is about giving yourself the care necessary to resource yourself, to build yourself back up, so you can do the work.
Some really big things were telling me to slow down: I won a giveaway for a 6-week caregiver support group, and the facilitator cancelled the group because she needed to take a break. One of my favourite teachers rescheduled a class I was signed up to take, because she needed to tend to something else. One of my friends shut down her business because she needed to regain that spaciousness and clarity for whatever the future holds. Small things were communicating the same message, too: my sleep schedule feeling more and more out of whack, getting sick more often and staying sick longer than usual, headaches that were just enough of a nuisance to throw off my whole day.
The lesson there? It doesn't take a "really big thing" for you to deserve rest. You deserve rest, simply because you exist.
How to Disrupt the Seemingly Unending Grind
Read (or reread) the characteristics and antidotes to white supremacy culture by Tema Okun, then explore the following questions:
How do you feel or observe any aspects of white supremacy culture in your life (personal, work, relationships, etc.)?
What antidotes are already present in your individual and community practices?
What could you expand on or improve?
Take a break for yourself.
In any capacity. This could look like sitting for 5 minutes at the middle of the day, and looking out a window, or noticing your breath. It could also look like pressing pause on a project, or extending a timeline you've set for yourself so you can invite more spaciousness, and less urgency.
Give someone else permission to take a break (even though they don't need permission from anyone, it can help to hear that affirmation from someone you trust).
See a friend who needs to slow down? Lovingly call them in, and tell them you see their hard work and think they could benefit from taking a break.
Feeling Stuck or Unsure? Invite Reconnection.
Spend a few moments with my Niyamas: Reconnect to Rest guide to help you connect back to yourself. Try an On-Demand class, or check out the live offerings from my favorite teachers. Take a look out a window, and breathe it in. Ask for help when you need it – you are so loved, and deserving of joy, rest, and connection.
Thank you, everyone, for your love, care, encouragement, and support.
May you find rest, and may you be well, ~alison