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Episode 5: Andrea Ferretti on Self-Acceptance in Yoga

Edited to add: I’ve been at a loss for words since the tragic shooting in Orlando over the weekend. I want to extend our deepest sympathies to the victims, their families, and friends.

I created this podcast long before these events. I don’t pretend to have the answers to our nation’s problems, but I think we can all agree that the amount of hatred teeming around the country right now is overwhelming and terrifying. You often hear the expression, “Love conquers hate.” If only it were that easy. I believe that the only way to truly love others is to love ourselves first. And in order to love yourself, you have to, on a basic, foundational level, accept yourself. You have to be willing to see yourself clearly and accept all of your flaws and perceived failings. Once you can accept your own missteps and still love yourself, you will more naturally accept others whether or not you agree with their opinions and choices. Self-acceptance, then, isn’t a selfish practice — it’s a vital practice that requires courage and honesty and practice. Most importantly, it can be of benefit to all beings.

This week’s episode is just a quick 5-minute listen — it’s an essay I wrote when I was dreaming up the podcast. It’s my intention and it’s inspired by Roxanne Gay’s book, Bad Feminist. Scroll down to listen. I’ve also written it out below the player. Hope it speaks to you.

“I may consciously or unconsciously stray from yoga’s principles from time to time but I’m learning to be OK with that. Because, after 20 years of practice, it’s still my guiding light. It’s a vital part of who I am and how I live.”

— Andrea Ferretti


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I started this show to celebrate yoga in all of its forms, to introduce you to people who have studied yoga deeply, who live their yoga, and who bring yoga into the current cultural landscape. These are people who live with passion.

But make no mistake, this podcast is not going to focus on how to live a “perfectly serene yogic life so that we can all do Handstands on the beach.” Because I spent more than 10 years talking to renowned yogis everyday – as an editor at Yoga Journal and, as we all know but often forget, that perfect life doesn’t exist and we don’t really want it to.

One of the biggest gifts of yoga in my mind is how it helps us understand that we’re all so similar, it helps us to remember our humanity. After all if you want to take the definition of yoga literally – yoga means to yoke or join and it’s a state that provokes a sense of union with all things.

But the shadow of the yoga community is that in our passion for the practice, for the asanas, for following the philosophy, we start to become obsessed with achieving, with this whole idea of self-improvement and with putting yoga teachers on a pedestal. I think this can actually make us a little self-involved and disconnected from each other – which is the opposite of the yogic state.

I think the solution to that is to be vulnerable with each other. So. I’ll start. Sometimes I’m a bad yogi. I have a hard time remembering all of the yoga texts I’ve studied – and I haven’t studied enough of them. At night, when my daughter is sweetly sleeping, I’m not re-reading the Bhagavad Gita, I’m more likely watching Broad City or Downton Abbey.

I curse too often. I say “like” and “kind of” and “dude” too often. I loved my hair extensions more than I’d like to admit. And despite being an absolute believer and partaker in natural forms of medicine I ended up with a C-section. For a long time, I felt subtly or overtly disappointed in myself about these things. Simply put, I don’t anymore. And I don’t want you to, either.

Yoga has helped me with this. Yoga offers a container for all of the seeming contradictions of who we are. As Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa says, “Yoga is not a practice of self-improvement at all, it’s a practice of self-acceptance.”

So. I may consciously or unconsciously stray from yoga’s principles from time to time but I’m learning to be OK with that. Because, after 20 years of practice, it’s still my guiding light. It’s a vital part of who I am and how I live.

When I talked with renowned yoga teachers over the years, I often wished I could share these conversations directly with the audience instead of having to filter them through the editorial and magazine process. I always felt inspired by the realness of the conversations – much moreso than when I saw them in print.

So, I’m hoping to bring you those conversations, the real ones, that ones that get into life issues we care about. I’m hoping to make Yogaland a place that’s helpful, that speaks to many, and that’s uplifting. I know that you won’t agree with everything we say or think. That’s OK with me.

We don’t have to all believe in the same yoga – we just have to respect each other, to remain open, and to listen.

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER!
You can follow me on Twitter @yogalandpodcast for yoga, meditation, and health inspiration all week long. Next up on the podcast I talk to Kathryn Budig, Taylor Harkness, and Jason and I will be talking about injuries. The fun never stops around here people! You want to be the first to know about it!

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Episode 4: Sally Kempton – Ideas, Insights, & Self-Inquiry Practices for Fear

I have a distinct memory of the very first time I meditated. It wasn’t my first attempt, rather it was the first time I felt surrender and contentment that I hadn’t yet experienced. It was in a decidedly unglamorous setting — I was sitting in a folding chair in an overly air-conditioned hotel ballroom. What enabled my experience of meditation was the teacher — Sally Kempton. Sally is a uniquely powerful meditation teacher who has a deep understanding of the human experience and offers loving, practical, doable practices for the emotional states we all face.

This week Sally (@sally_kempton) shares her insights and self-inquiry practices for coping with an emotion we all face from time to time — fear. During our conversation, she shared so many great ideas, among them:

* The simple power of exploring challenging emotions during meditation to help you cope and feel happier in daily life
* How to find fear in your body and create space around it
* A practice for holding and comforting yourself
* The importance of finding a meditation teacher or, at least, friends who you can talk to about the obstacles and fears that come up during meditation
* The power of mantra when you’re facing fear

“Asking yourself the question, ‘How can I serve something higher than my own ego?’ is a really powerful way to overcome fear as you walk through life.”  SALLY KEMPTON


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SALLY’S BOOKS AND GUIDED MEDITATIONS
Meditation for the Love of It
Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddesses in Yoga
Doorways to the Infinite: The Art and Practice of Tantric Meditation
Sally’s Chakra Meditation on Yogaglo (I mentioned in the episode): Align Your Chakras (30 Minutes, Level 1)

SALLY’S ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING LIST
The Fine Arts of Relaxation, Concentration, and Meditation by Joel Levey
Meditation: The First and Last Freedom by Osho
Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Shunruyu Suzuki
Meditate by Swami Muktananda
Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield

MUSIC IN THIS EPISODE
Jahzzar – Redhead
ABSRDST — Chakra Reset Button
Josh Spacek — Dharma

THANK YOU FOR LISTENING!
If you like what you hear, please feel free to write a review on iTunes! If you share your URL, I’ll be able to get back to you and say thanks. You can also follow me on Twitter @yogalandpodcast.

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Episode 3: Jason Crandell on Navigating Life as a Modern Yoga Teacher

Hello peoples!

In this week’s episode, you’ll get to hear the dulcet tones of my husband and I talking yoga. We had a great time and we covered everything from the concept of “yogalebrity,” to common misconceptions created by social media to navigating the life and work as a new yoga teacher.

Plus! Jason created some bonus content related to the episode, 5 Tips to Support New Yoga Teachers.

Enjoy it and let us know what you think in the comments. AND, if you have questions related to this episode that you’d like to ask Jason, please follow us on Twitter and tweet at us @yogalandpodcast.

“My concern is that we may think that social media is a more accurate reflection of an actual life than it is. It’s not a reflection of an actual life. It’s a very orchestrated reflection of someone’s life. We can’t expect our lives to be a reflection of this thing that is a curated, only partially real phenomenon.”
— Jason Crandell


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Episode 2: Stacy Meyrowitz – How Yoga Saved My Life

My guest on this episode is the incredible (and hilarious) Stacy Meyrowitz. Fourteen years ago, Stacy survived a massive brain hemorrhage. The trauma of long hospital stays, countless scans, and three brain surgeries left Stacy feeling completely out of whack and depressed. A full two years after the hemorrhage, Stacy quit her job and lost touch with her old social life.

Somehow Stacy got the idea to find a yoga class and she credits yoga with helping her piece her life back together. She’d never done yoga before the hemorrhage, but she found it utterly comforting. It challenged her brain to relearn lost skills and it helped bring her into a community of friends. You will absolutely enjoy listening to this incredibly powerful story of yoga’s transformative power.

“I remember being in my first Warrior II and thinking, ‘I could be here for the rest of my life. In this pose. And be very happy.'”
Stacy Meyrowitz


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RECOMMENDED AND RELATED LINKS
What Happens to Your Brain During Meditation
Big Brain Benefits of Meditation
The Healing Power of Yoga for Brain Injuries

LOTS OF GRATITUDE
Thank you so much, Stacy, for sharing your story with us. A special thanks to Ali Zeigler for designing my logo and to DJ Bhakti Styler who helped me with the music for this episode. You can listen to him on soundcloud or, if you happen to be in Aspen, CO, you can check him out at Aspen Shakti Shala.

AND…THANK YOU FOR LISTENING!
If you like what you hear, please feel free to write a review on iTunes! If you share your URL, I’ll be able to get back to you and say thanks.

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Episode 1: Amy Ippoliti – Meditating with a Manta Ray

I am so thrilled to launch the very first episode of Yogaland! I’ve been wanting to do this since I was interviewing well-known yoga teachers almost daily as an editor at Yoga Journal. I would often get off the phone buzzing with excitement and wishing I could share the raw conversations.

So, here it is! And, it’s the first one — the first time my “ums” and “likes” can’t be erased the way they are in print. But I’ve decided not to wait until I get this perfect — I’m learning as I go and trust that you will practice compassion!

In honor of Earth Day this week, I talked to well-known yoga teacher and environmental activist Amy Ippoliti (@amyippoliti) about her project to raise awareness for marine life. Amy is known for bringing yoga to modern-day life in a genuine way through her clear instruction, intelligent sequencing, and engaging sense of humor. Amy’s writing has appeared in Yoga Journal, Mantra Magazine, Mind Body Green, prAna Life, and Elephant Journal. She has appeared on the covers of Yoga Journal and Fit Yoga and the underwater yoga images with marine animals that you see below have been featured on Yahoo.com and GrindTv.com. She is a pioneer of yoga education, cofounding 90 Monkeys, a school that’s enhanced the skills of yoga teachers in 64 countries. Since the age of 14 she has been a champion of earth, ocean, and animal conservation.

“It’s not about getting on my mat and getting a yoga butt. I do my yoga practice to benefit others—so that I’m a better person and a better leader. Ultimately, this is for something so much bigger. We need to stop the destruction and start getting people to appreciate the planet. That’s why I’m on my mat and that’s why I’m in the water right now.”
Amy Ippoliti


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Amy Ippoliti swimming with a bottlenose dolphin

Amy Ippoliti in Lotus with a whale shark

Amy Ippoliti swimming with a manta ray

MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE
Amy and I talked about a few documentaries in this episode that are worth checking out:

Blackfish
The Cove
Racing Extinction

We also talk about her soon-to-be-released book:

The Art and Practice of Teaching Yoga: The Yoga Professional’s Guide to a Fulfilling Career

PEOPLE MENTIONED
Taro Smith
Shawn Heinrichs

RECOMMENDED AND RELATED LINKS
90monkeys.com
yogaglo.com
Six Ways Amy Wants You to Help with Our Oceans
Amy Ippoliti: Ocean Conservation and My Encounter with a 1500 pound Manta Ray
More photos of Amy on YogaJournal.com

LOTS OF GRATITUDE
Thank you to Amy and Taro Smith for permission to include these photos. A special thanks to Ali Zeigler for designing my logo and to DJ Bhakti Styler who helped me with the music for this episode. You can listen to him on soundcloud or, if you happen to be in Aspen, CO, you can check him out at Aspen Shakti Shala.

AND…THANK YOU FOR LISTENING!
If you like what you hear, please feel free to write a review on iTunes! If you share your URL, I’ll be able to get back to you and say thanks.

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