We are now at the historic Vasa Hall!

Nothing ever is as hard as keeping good news to myself so when I tell you I have been BURSTING AT THE SEAMS trying to contain myself!

As of February, Little Switch Yoga will be operating at the historic Vasa Hall in Hoquiam.

Not to sound trite, but –

This is a dream come true for me!

I was very, very particular about the space I would take on.

The Vasa Hall is an incredible historic space in Hoquiam that has a long history – not just in regards to the original Swedish Vasa oganization, but in later iterations as a significant music venue.

It’s almost a hundred years old!

And yes, I went to high school dances there in its tenure as a Moose Hall! 

I am sad to say that so many historic buildings here are left to rot and die – not because we locals do not love our history but because we are an economically-depressed area, and it costs a lot of money to keep these buildings up.

Fortunately, a local construction group acquired the Vasa and has restored and upgraded it beautifully – absolutely beautifully! I am in good company next to the Red Cedar, Solid Coffee, and The Hive –  and we have another business taking up residence soon!

***

As for me?

My family goes deep, here in Hoquiam. My great grandparents settled here to start a family. Great-grandpa was an entrepreneur who lived and worked just a few blocks away from this very Hall. He was a titan of (tiny little) Hoquiam and flew the first mail plane to the Harbor!

I am a fourth-generation Hoquiam entrepreneur and I’m so proud of this.

I am also proud of the TYPE of enterprise I am bringing.

It’s different than anything we’ve previously had.

[gulp!]

My yoga space will prioritize constructive community effort, mental, emotional and physical strength-building, JOY, and the sacred space of interpersonal connection.

I will also host the only sliding-scale yoga business in the whole Harbor.

This is a big leap for me.

And I will be honest: I’m kind of nervous!

But it’s time for me to make a move!

Please keep your eyes peeled and your ears pricked –

Because I’m canvasing the community (survey below)! –

And one of the best ways you can help, is to fill out that survey and check “yes” to staying on my email list!

***

A few more words.

Just last night after Sunday group I talked to two of my students. One of them said she almost started crying at the way I gave each student “permission” to stop pushing themselves in a certain pose.

We talked for a while – it felt so good to talk about something I love so much! – and I finally said:

“It takes time to overcome fitspo culture.”

I’ve talked about fitspo before. I’m not here to go on at length now.

But what I will say is this:

The reason people know yoga is good for them – but don’t make time to practice – is because we’ve been squeezed out of our own life.

We don’t deeply believe we deserve good things.

Maybe we know – IN THEORY – that we deserve good things.

But our actions show that we don’t make time for them.

Now – 

I can’t change someone’s mind, or someone’s priorities.

All I can do is offer up the absolutely best-engineered space possible for this wholesomeness, this blooming, this joy and electricity to flourish!

And that’s my commitment.

I hope I succeed.

I hope I can pay rent.

By the end of the year, I hope to pay myself even a little.

But.

I can only do my best.

Can I count on you for your support?

***

Another note: I simply cannot overstate my gratitude to Maija Nordin and Gayle Russell for letting Little Switch have a home in 2023. Without business owners helping me rent at a low price-point, I could not have built a practice that let me step into Big Boy rent.

As for Big Boy rent!

My expenses have gone UP, and within the next few weeks you’ll see my class offerings going up, as well.

I’ve been studying, crafting, and modeling several options AND I now have a survey!

Please trust I have worked very hard and put a lot of thought AND taken professional advice.

What I could use from YOU, is your feedback.

So please please, take time to fill out the survey!

You can do so, here!

This will help us all so much.

***

Finally:

I am so, so grateful for everyone who attended class in my studio in 2023! Each of you has a special surprise coming your way before the month is up! Make sure to stay on my email list and keep your eyes open!

I am so excited about this new move. It’s a BIG move and I know I’m bringing my best self. It’s time to let the community come together in a bigger way!

Little Switch Yoga historic Vasa Hall in Hoquiam, Washington

profit & loss, little switch yoga 2023

I am so proud to say – and so glad to UNIQUELY say it! – that I am sharing my Profit & Loss report for little switch yoga here at year end.

To be honest, I have never seen another yoga teacher or studio do this.

As usual, I’m a bit of a trailblazer!

Now.

I am not sharing this to receive business or financial advice.

I am sharing this, to give you further insights as to what I’m building!

Little Switch will turn one year old, in about a month and a half.

Even though I’m not yet making a living wage, I am very happy with how it’s going.

Please do read on, as this will orient you well to my vision!

***

2023

REVENUE for little switch yoga:
$2,674.00

YOGA EXPENSES
Rent, props (including a large investment for blankets and blocks), insurance, registration, print materials, and professional development:
$1,850.96

TIPS
$117.00

NET PROFIT BEFORE TAXES (my wages including tips): $940.04

# of classes taught for little switch (57)
+
# admin hours (85.5)
=

hours worked: 142.5
number of student-hours served: 250

—————

$ per hour: $6.60


(I did not include gas, my yoga clothes, tea and food in my Expenses this year)

I know what some of you might be thinking.

“If you aren’t yet making a living wage yet, why are you offering free yoga*?”

First you should know: in my work for Ompractice, I DO in fact get paid a living wage. The numbers above, are reflective of my LOCAL yoga group. What this means is, my total yoga earnings are helping keep my spirits up as I try to build something self-sustaining here in the Harbor.

But it’s true, when it comes to my local practice I’m not paying myself first. 

Not yet!

I am giving yoga scholarships, and it is also true that I am purchasing props as well (rather than paying myself).

You may have also noticed I am not purchasing the cheapest props out there.

For instance, instead of buying polyester blankets (like you’ll find in most studios), I bought 100% cotton. I am using cloths I made myself, instead of disposable wipes. That kind of thing.

THIS IS ALL BY DESIGN, BY INTENTION.

I am creating a sustainable, joyful community.

It takes money and time but it really, REALLY takes a lot of thinking, designing, and polling of my students, that kind of thing.

I’m proud of myself (and grateful to my partner) for keeping these records through 2023.

And I am REALLY proud of what I’ve built for the funds I’ve had.

In fact, most entrepreneurs don’t make ANY hourly wage in their first year!

I’ve done this WHILE building something fantastic. You only have to come to class – or share tea afterwards – to see what I mean.

I have a stellar reputation, a wonderful community, and in 2023 I always have had at least one student in my class (whew!) – 

and I have carefully created an amazing prop library, WHILE paying rent to a local, independent business owner!

That said –

It’s time to move into 2024!

How you can help:

At this time, I don’t need advice on how to market, or how to price, or what types of yoga to host and when.

I could use THREE things from you – and all three will help me a great deal!

1. Please sign up for my emails (and make sure to opt in)! This is one of the best ways you can help me. (Make sure to READ your emails, too!)

2. Share about me to local press and in local Facebook groups!

3. keep your eye out for a space for me to rent. I am looking for a large room (NOT looking to build a whole studio). I love the space I am in, but the hours available to me are very limited.

***

Thank you – so much – for reading!

And thank you for supporting Little Switch Yoga!

***

* Just so you know – I call classes either no-cost, or scholarship. I do not like the use of “free” because unfortunately, this tends to devalue the practitioner and the expertise. Nothing against anyone who uses that word “free” – it certainly is far, far more eye-catching! – but I just don’t. Thank you for understanding!

what if a yoga class is too hard?

If you are reading here you probably already know that not every yoga class is meant to be one of exertion: vigorous, sweaty, challenging, et cetera.

There are so many modalities of yoga – including Yin, Restorative, and Nidra for instance – that don’t really have what we might consider a “workout” type component.

However – many yoga classes – which are really asana classes, that is the Third Limb of Yoga, the poses – many yoga classes engage in these physical postures, whether moving slowly and holding asana or moving swiftly (sometimes called flow, vinyasa, or “power yoga” – more on why I don’t love that latter phrase, at a later date).

People who’ve gone to a yoga class or two, generally know that yoga is harder than it looks.

For example:

Last Monday’s class was a bit vigorous – to be honest, my go-to favorite style of class – and afterwards I noticed several students were sweating and saying – while SMILING, I might add – that the class was challenging. “I almost died!”  – followed by good-natured laughter.

Okay.

That’s fine. And fun!

But.

I think I want to touch on this because it’s kind of a personal thing and it’s worth saying.

***

Yoga can be hard or not-hard and YOU are the boss of that.

One of the goals with yoga, is to make yoga a regular thing that fits in with your life.

Maybe that means once a year you take a de-stressing workshop, using yoga pranayama.

Maybe that means three times a week you go to a sweaty hatha and vinyasa flow: building strength and mobility.

Or anything in between.

Remember: yoga is here for YOU. You don’t owe a dang thing to any particular teacher, studio, school, or yoga modality.

Yoga is here for YOU.

So when it comes to a class that’s “too hard” – or a class that stretches your limit –

that may, in fact, work for you.

It works for me!

Let me elaborate – again, speaking just for ME, personally:

I love classes that are a challenge, and I love watching my body become stronger, more mobile, more flexible, more open.

I love that I can lift my arms above my shoulders to reach things on high shelves.

I love how strong and open my back and neck feel, since practicing yoga.

And the truth is, I wouldn’t have these results if I wasn’t challenging myself in difficult classes.

But:

There is another – perhaps deeper – reason I love challenging classes.

When I take a difficult class, my mind is forced into the present moment.

I can’t possibly bring my mental baggage, my fears, my grievances, my upsets – 

Maybe they’re with me when I’m driving to class, or even while I roll out my mat. 

Maybe even while I’m trying to compose myself in our first restful pose.

But my mental preoccupations won’t last long in a challenging class.

In a challenging class, very soon I am focusing on my body, tuning into both my interoception and proprioception (those are real and scientific concepts), I am sweating a little or even shaking, I am feeling frustration and elation in turns, I am feeling SO amazed by my own body, I am feeling various emotions about the instructor 🙂 – 

In short, in a challenging class I am GUARANTEED to get “out of my head” and into my body, in a very big way.

The benefits I experience from this physical, mental and emotional reset cannot be overstated.

So while I do also love Yin, Restorative, Nidra – or just a good old fashioned gentle stretching class –

For me, strength-building classes, and especially those that involve creativity, mobility work and laughter – 

these are going to be CORE in my life for a long time to come.

***

But here’s the thing.

YOU are not ME.

YOU have your own needs.

Perhaps you are recovering from illness, surgery, or any kind of difficult situation – and you just aren’t ready to vigorously engage.

Maybe you’ve been traumatized by the world of fitspo, orthorexia, fatphobia and fitness worship.

Perhaps you live with chronic illness, or any kind of situation that means your resources are extra low – right now, or for a while.

And while maybe a vigorous class is JUST the right medicine for someone in those situations –

maybe it’s not right for YOU.

I encourage YOU to find a yoga class – in person, online, with a friend, from a book or a YouTube channel – 

that works for YOU and where you are today.

I encourage you – do not try to compare, or “keep up” with someone else, or any of that.

It can be scary to not only be honest about your needs – but to accept your needs, and move forward with self-compassion.

It can be scary sometimes because sometimes we don’t know what we want, or what we need.

But I’ll tell you something I know for sure:

You won’t know, until you try something new.

***

Now coming up here in November, I have a gratitude series.

If this is something you’d like to try – 

well, please sign up!

We’d love to see you.

And above all I’d like to to find whatever modality – yoga or otherwise – 

gives you that sense of play, that foundation of purpose.

I wish that for you, very much.

yoga didn’t heal my body image, but teaching yoga did

Goddess pose, Little Switch Yoga Aberdeen Washington

I didn’t want to write a post about my body image – ever, really! – but here we are.

My terms of reluctance are legion: first, the cultural conversation seems over-saturated, often surface-level, full of the same platitudes and (increasingly) commercialized languaging.

Secondly, as a white American voices like mine are over-represented in health and wellness spaces. Why should I add my thoughts? Who would be interested in hearing them, anyway?

But it goes deeper than that.

I’m tired of the body image conversation. 

A conversation I haven’t even dipped my toe in!

I’m tired.

Let’s be real: I’m exhausted from watching the Diet and Wellness Industrial Complex shoehorn the sacred constructs of self-care and self-love into programs selling weight-loss subscriptions, quack remedies, diet programs and foodstuffs, and flat tummy teas.

In fact the other day Facebook so kindly showed me a fat loss ad using the phraseology: “I’ve learned my inability to release weight is a trauma response.”

Reader, that headline alone made me feel D-O-N-E.

Nothing more disgusting than telling a trauma victim it’s their own fault they can’t be smaller.

***

But here’s the thing.

Under Capitalism – and its little red rover buddies White Supremacy and the Patriarchy – all our bodies are under assault, being sold and sold to, up for grabs. All human and non-human animals are served up, sliced and diced (for billions, literally), commodified in every way and marketed to relentlessly.

Now: I didn’t set that up.

But I have to survive it.

And so do you!

And just because I’m Tired –

Doesn’t mean I have nothing of value to add.

I deserve to have my say, in the chance maybe – just maybe – I could help someone reading here.

Because I know my interests and my goals are far more wholesome than those of Capitalism.

***

Some day I’ll tell my story of what I am up against.

What it was like growing up in my maternal family lineage – surrounded by the women who sang duets and trios with one another about how they needed to lose weight, or how they were “bad” for eating that cheesecake, or how their asses were too fat and their features too unlovely –

and the men who encouraged these women to care about this stuff. The men (including my beloved Grandfather) who wanted these women to make themselves smaller, the men who took pains to compliment women when they shrank (physically or socially).

Some day I’ll tell my story what it was like growing up, crammed into the wrong gender. Because if you think you know how it feels to have your body shape and size policed, growing up trans is a whole ‘nother Level. My whole childhood it was “girls” or “boys” and which one was I, har har. I was complimented for any “femininity” of figure and form – I was never given space for my own gender autonomy. “Look at you here,” my mother says to me, jabbing a finger at a photo of me on the dock, at the lake. I’m thirteen, here. “You’ve a wasp waist,” she flushes, beaming with pride.

No, I didn’t.

I did not, and have never, had a wasp waist.

Nor did I want or need one.

This was my mother’s jam: she wanted to eat up my mind, my body to serve her own dreams.

I grew up in this battlefield, to say nothing of the larger culture in which I was indoctrinated.

It wasn’t healthy – to put it mildly.

***

I’ve practiced yoga twenty one years.

And practicing yoga didn’t change my mind about my body very much.

I didn’t suddenly start experiencing an empowered nonbinary state. I didn’t lose weight – or any of those weight loss-attendant dreams so many chase! I didn’t achieve that body, those accomplishments that had been sold to me my whole life.

None of that happened.

Now yoga didn’t change my MIND about my body –

but it certainly changed my body itself!

Because it’s impossible to practice yoga regularly and properly (properly: don’t push yourself and listen to your body!) without change.

When you practice, you get stronger.

And so did I.

So in those early years I was creaky. I felt a pain behind my knee when I’d practice trikonasana, shortness of breath when I held ananda balasana. I couldn’t hold myself up in a plank for more than a few breath cycles – trembling and (silently) cursing the teacher! And headstand, handstand? No way!

That pain is long gone. That body is stronger, more flexible, more mobile.

I really do feel better!

I can do things today (at forty-six) I couldn’t even do as a child.

And it wasn’t just my body that began to change.

I also began to experience more peace of mind, more honest endorphins, an hour at least of less self-absorption, less anxiety, less obsession.

I’ve always felt better after getting off the mat. Always!

***

Oddly though, my changing body and mind didn’t make me love my body more.

I still felt the same – really, as I had all my life.

And while I’d rejected the more harmful familial and cultural narratives – I still hadn’t formed my own.

Until.

***

Teaching gave me a breakthrough.

Now listen: teaching yoga is an impressive skillset. And while I’m pretty new, I take it seriously.

First, I had to acquire (and continue to deepen) a yoga education – we’re talking about studying a multitude of traditions 5,000 years old!

Second, I had to learn how to actually practice asana – as well as the other seven limbs of yoga: the yamas, niyamas, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi – and begin to transmit this knowledge to students.

Then I had to get in front of a class and demonstrate how to move through practice. I have to run physical practice and provide verbal cues all while watching my students and adjusting my teaching style and aims depending on what I observe.

I’ve gotta deal with the practical aspects of running a business. Even though I’m not yet making a wage – I still have to show up as a professional (and that’s fair)!

Now: there are plenty of yoga teachers who get to a degree of competency here, and can end up on autopilot pretty fast.

But if you know me, you know I’ve never been on autopilot a moment of my life!

***

In my first few weeks of teaching regularly, I had the benefit of a huge studio mirror in the space we worked.

I had the privilege of seeing my body – clear as day! – in a multitude of asana, contortions, silly little sweaty shapes.

I got to see my body how it really is, and WHILE my body was being observed by others.

We’re talking: trembling limbs, shaky voice (at times), saying “left” when I meant “right”. We’re talking having my physical form on display for an hour straight to a room of people – sometimes, complete strangers!

I lost the anonymity of the mat – because all eyes were now on me!

And it didn’t take long for what remained of my reservations about my body, to burn right out of my body.

In a deep revolved lunge, to see my t-shirt cling to every fat roll on my back and to my sweaty face in the mirror and – to be forced to see it, and to know everyone else was looking too.

But –

Honestly, it was only a little bit jarring at first. 

In fact I felt a great friendliness with myself, in a way I hadn’t ever before!

I had work to do, after all. And I was doing it!

Because just like my students look beautiful when they’re exerting Right Effort in asana

So do I!

Because Right Effort is beautiful.

Always.

And Right Effort almost never, ever looks like the heavily-doctored, artfully posed moments in a glossy yoga magazine or brochure.

Since I see yoga as beautiful, I see myself in practice – not my idea or imaginings of self, but my actual Self – as beautiful.

And since I see myself that way on the regular now,

I’ve changed.

The way I feel about myself, has changed.

***

Listen, I’m as surprised as anyone that this developed out of teaching.

Like I said: I practiced two decades without my body image budging an inch.

So I’d long ago given up the idea I could really change it.

But: it changed.

And it continues to change!

I love teaching. So much!

The practice is also neither a competition, or a series of pretty shapes to make or strain towards.

The Practice is there for us every minute of every day. 

If you can breathe, you can do yoga!

And I sincerely hope to get more people to see it the way I do.

They might be surprised to discover how they see themselves, over time.

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