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Meet the Yogamatters Pride Tribe

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At Yogamatters, we believe that yoga is for everyone. Just as we promote diversity on the mat, we believe in celebrating diversity in the whole of life. Throughout the UK and across the world this summer, Pride parades, festivals, fun runs and other events will be taking place to raise awareness of and show support for the global LGBT+ community. To celebrate Pride 2019, we are introducing Yogamatters Organic Cotton Pride Socks, £2 from each pair of socks sold will be donated to the LGBT+ charity Just Like Us. We started our Pride celebrations early with a photoshoot with some incredible people a couple of months ago! Get to know them better here:

Le Fil:

le-fil-yogamatters-pride

What do you personally love about PRIDE and what does it mean to you?

Every year, Pride gets bigger and bigger with more and more allies each celebration, which I love! Pride is about the LGBTQ+ community being visible and I think anyone who can help normalise that needs to join in with the community. It’s not just about preaching to the converted, it’s about reaching all the people who are still ignorant to the plights of our community. With all the increased level of homophobia, transphobia and racism, even in the recent weeks, it shows there’s still so much to go before we have equal rights. Until we reach the same level as our heterosexual counterparts, where a simple union of love can be legal in all countries, we still have much to fight for.

How has yoga helped you grow or overcome challenges in life?

Yoga really helped me be confident in my body. It allowed me to move into positions with care and love for my body. In doing so, it made me more comfortable to try new movements, new things with my body and to be proud to show it off in my work.

Where do you see the link between celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community and living yoga off the mat?

Both are about self-love which is different from arrogance. It’s about being able to love and respect your own presence and body, and in doing so gives you a sense of happiness and fulfilment in being you.

Do you feel encouraged and supported by the yoga community?

Yes! There’s spaces for everyone to explore the type of yoga that’s right for them. I’ve even tried naked yoga and love it!! So there’s lots of different places, especially in London, where you can do things like that and at different levels. And if you’re in a town where there isn’t many choices, luckily there’s an online community now where you can talk to people and maybe you can help set up something informal. Either way, there’s a lot of Yoga community out there. Everyone should try yoga at least once because you’re always going to be going back to it, I swear I am!

How do you think the yoga community could do more to support inclusion?

I think we all have a part to play in being more kind, loving and accepting. In doing that, it also means we each have a part to play in picking up on any discrimination, racism, homophobia etc and making sure that everyone feels actively welcome, not just passively supported. We’ve got to keep on going until these reactions become instinctive, rather than just intellectual.

Matt:

matt-pride-yoga-shoot

What do you personally love about PRIDE and what does it mean to you?

Daytime drinking, dancing in the street. But mostly the ability to live life without fear of retribution, due to those we fall in love with.

How has yoga helped you grow or overcome challenges in life?

Yoga has allowed me to understand my body in both strength and movement that I never knew or believed I had. Coming from a background with obesity and body dysmorphia, it’s been exceptional in helping me to deal with a lot of stuff.

Where do you see the link between celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community and living yoga off the mat?

Treat others with the respect with which you wish to treat yourself.

Do you feel encouraged and supported by the yoga community?

As someone that bucks the trend as a suspiciously large yoga instructor, it’s been great to have people both surprised and supportive to find a teacher so different from their expectations.

How do you think the yoga community could do more to support inclusion?

There are still gaps in the understanding of different body types and also the creation of different ‘styles’ of yoga to pander to current trends and gimmicks. Yoga by design is inclusive and should perhaps be left to do its thing on the students without too much input from external forces.
Craig

craig-yogamatters-pride

What do you personally love about PRIDE and what does it mean to you?

I love the fact that everyone comes together, it’s all about integration so what’s not to be proud about?

How has yoga helped you grow or overcome challenges in life?

Yoga has helped me stop rushing. In a city like London, it can be difficult to not get wrapped up in the ‘rat race’. I suffered from anxiety at one point and it really helped me take control of that, the Asana side of yoga is an effective moving meditation for me that really homes in my focus, and reminds me that I am a small part of something so much bigger. Feeling gnarly and inflexible in a posture may be more than just tight hamstrings; it could be some old feelings holding you back. Unexpressed emotions become stored and held in the body and, over time, create physical tightness, stress, tension, and sometimes pain. It’s not just a work out, but also a ‘work in’.

Where do you see the link between celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community and living yoga off the mat?

It’s about unification. Just like for Pride, we encourage integration and acceptance. Yoga is that for your body. The more you practise, the more self love you develop. We then stop pushing our bodies too hard and respect our boundaries.

Do you feel encouraged and supported by the yoga community?

Yes I do. My teaching qualification is recognised by the Yoga Alliance and I have access to a unique portal full of useful information worldwide. In particular, I’ve had some great opportunities through Instagram, working with some cool brands such as Sternitz based in Madrid and then Yogamatters in London, which has helped me find students and keep me up to date with the Yoga world.

How do you think the yoga community could do more to support inclusion?

I think we could do more events, like a huge Yoga Pride event in Hyde Park, Royal Park permissions pending of course!  Maybe create a special tag encouraging everyone to hit their mats and with that, donate to Pride, make it trend for a day helping spread the message, with over 1 billion users, I’m sure we’d get a pretty decent engagement rate!

The post Meet the Yogamatters Pride Tribe appeared first on Yogamatters Blog.

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