... that I have been on one of my absolute favorite islands, and in one of the most beautiful
parts of the world. To be fair, I had been planning it all year long. Which was maybe not the
smartest idea, because a gazillion things that I had planned this year haven’t worked out.
But this did. Manolito and I came to the Aegean, and began to shed lockdown as we knew
it. No body was here for the first two weeks, it has been a few days, now where I see that in
fact yes, people are traveling, tourism is happening.
I have been coming here since 2005 and it is already Manolito’s 5th time, so it feels very
familiar, if not like a fourth home....Being half Greek, and also working here teaching Yoga
and giving Thai Yoga massages at the most beautiful wellness center in the Aegean, Anemi
Hotel, makes me feel like I am not a tourist. But I guess I am...sort of.
I HAD TO LEAVE BRNO, AND CZECH REPUBLIC,
JUST TO REMEMBER HOW I AM IN OTHER
PLACES, THE PARTS OF ME THAT SHINE HERE,
DON’T ALWAYS GET TO SHINE IN CZECH... OR
But these aspects, are still me, and I can help bring them out by transporting myself
here. Being a co owner of Yoga Garden, and leaving when the doors opened was maybe
a controversial move, but I risked it. I knew I needed to fill my batteries because the
lockdown wore me down.
DO YOU TOO HAVE THIS EXPERIENCE? WITH PLACES? PEOPLE? ELEMENTS OF NATURE?
We have a new staff member on board, her name is Natalka Kratochvila and she is
awesome. I am taking her feedback and changing our format, this will now be our blog,
and our newsletter will come in your mailbox.
I work in an industry that promotes it, and exploits women too.
If there was a HOT topic during Corona lockdowns, well I would place
Body Shaming up high on the list of topics. I don’t want to make this
an essay, nor an article. I want to illustrate, that in order to change
traditions, we have to also change language, we have to include more
images, more perspectives, stories, and be much more supportive,
loving and compassionate.In fact, we ought to share the microphone
much more frequently, and mix it up.
If the images we sell and promote daily are not reflective of your
experience then we aren’t going to have you come, and practice with
us. If we are always wanting to start from a place where we aren’t...
then we ARE NOT DOING
YOGA. If we aren’t going
to step on our mats
because we gained
weight, feel out of
shape, and or are busy
shaming ourselves, then
we are doing ourselves
A MAJOR DISERVICE
The wellness industry
likes to promote beauty,
health, and skinny all
in one image. Beauty is
not always skinny, but it
sure sells a lot. Healthy
is for sure not always
skinny. Skinny sells.
Healthy equals skinny.
I don’t know about you,
but when I was skinny,
I was always sick. My
normal body size is
ut I have been on the skinny and very thin spectrum for decades.
And naturally this too changes, as do my habits, and desires. So, yes,
I choose to stay active, I choose to keep moving, and working out,
while, well if you know me, you know my love of chips and popcorn
is solid. Yet, I eat healthy salads, and soups, and greens always....
because I love it, and am privileged and can. Add to the mix carbs,
and yes, dairy(I am not a vegan)... and if I were a vegan it would be
politically, and environmentally so, not because I don’t love eggs, or
some cheese. And here we are... a person that eats, someone that
loves to share food, make food for others, loves cooking, and planning
and making it all colorful, and special. I realize this is a very first world
privilege, and I know I will always share and invite more and more
people to the table. So much eating during Corona Lockdown, I made
three meals a day. I snacked all day and night long...I became an
The conversation behind all the food I bought, and swallowed, was
this self loathing a really negative, unkind, and fully awful tone. I kept
putting myself down. This is a reality that women are presented with (men too). It is so toxic. It kills us. It celebrates the worst in our society.
How can someone with so much knowledge and compassion for
others, be so preoccupied with psychologically damaging themself
everyday? Well, it is nothing to be proud of, but it is happening. I have
a partner, who celebrates every single inch of me, I have a (knock on
wood) strong and flexible body. And yes, I have cellulite, and dimples,
and now, I have some love handles....does this mean it’s OVER?
No more Yoga? No more tights? Bikini? Shall I wrap it all up? Do I have
to look like I did before? Fact is some of us spend this lifetime severely
hurting ourselves. I would like to clarify here, that I am not talking
about eating disorders. I am talking about IMAGE disorders. When
instead of accepting ourselves as beautiful and healthy, the tune
is negative, and mean...
This is SO disturbingly
painful. It is so genuinely
challenging to heal, and
alter this vision. It starts at
home(our first institution),
then spreads like wildfire
in school, and just comes
with you your entire life at
work, in movies, at the gym,
on social media....
HOW DO WE CHANGE
THIS TRADITION? HOW DO
WE RISE AND EMBRACE
OURSELVES AS WE ARE?
HOW DO WE CELEBRATE
ALL THE THINGS THAT
Well, in my experience, it always helps when we have support.
When we stick together, and we raise our voices, and sometimes
our fists, and and we reclaim our bodies! We owe it to younger
generations, to know better, to feel better. If we spend time eating
healthy food and implementing it into institutions from hospitals,
to jails, school cafeterias, making sure that inner city or poorer
neighborhoods also have the same access to healthy local food.
If we spend time demonstrating all bodies as beautiful, all shapes,
sizes, then we can slowly begin to change the tradition of what is
beautiful. Who is beautiful. What is healthy. Who is beautiful and
I believe as long as we are alive, it is such a tremendous opportunity
to keep walking, dancing, climbing, and biking, swimming, running,
skipping, and MOVING. As long as that is happening, we can
collectively change the idea that if you do Yoga you will be skinny,
and if you work out you will be skinny. Skinny might not happen. But
healthy most likely will.
Being here, on the island of Folegandros, one is exposed to all sorts
of bodies, young, middle aged, older, and old. All these people chilling
in the water doing their thing, some walking like goats on the cliffs.
I have this privilege to work with people and I am so blessed to be
able to do it here too! I was petrified of putting on my bikini, of putting
shorts on, in fact I didn’t even bring shorts. But a friend here gave
me some, and I had to get over all of my insecurities if i wanted my
legs to get a tan too...i would have to expose them. I am sharing this,
because the beauty industry has been so loud, and so invasive in my
psyche. I am 46 years old, and instead of embracing all the wrinkles,
and white hair, and cellulite, and kilos I put on, I spend so many hours
putting myself down. I am not doing the YOGA. The minute I am
dressed, the tune changes. I am much more confident.
I want to invite all bodies, shapes and sizes to Yoga Garden. To all
the beaches, parks, events, fountains, streets and outdoors spaces.
We need to stand together and face our demons, our insecurities,
and let our light shine. We are all worthy of the privilege to grow old.
Let’s be kind at all phases and stages. I am interested in changing
the narrative. I am so happy to see that some people are really active
on social media and in their yoga studios and truly are changing the
paradigm. Our bodies are beautiful, and are so resilient and full of
memories. Be kind to yourself, and to each other.
Let’s try to change the vision, and just keep moving, and helping
create inclusive spaces, so that no BODY is left behind.
I AM REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO TEACHING AGAIN TO RETURNING
TO YOGA GARDEN, TO RUNNING RETREATS, AND SHARING STORIES!
See you in your shorts, in your tights, on your mats, in the park!
BIG SWEATY HUGS