FIRST THOUGHT: Optimize Your Fitness Feed
I’m going to say something that needs to be said: Fitness culture is intimidating. If your goal this year is to increase your physical activity and you’re on social media, I bet you’ve started following some influencers who post perfect backbends and Lululemon garb. It seems perfect and easy and you wonder what’s wrong with you that you can’t look like that.
If you feel that way, unfollow. Photos of bodies that don’t look like yours aren’t going to give you inspiration. Follow women like Mirna Valerio who hikes and looks like she’s genuinely having fun. Or my fave, Adriene Mishler, whose captions are as soulful as her pictures. Whomever you follow or unfollow, remember that your journey in health and wellness is your journey. Don’t let comparison be the thief of joy.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 6,000
As yoga has become increasingly popular, so have yoga studios. They’re the serene little places of escape, featuring a Buddha in the corner and a gong at the front. Then, there’s usually a pile of Mexican blankets made of cotton and wool, bolsters, and a guy named Thad wearing a macramé bracelet and showing off. There are 6,000 yoga studios in the United States alone, each with its own chill vibe. Do you have a go-to yoga spot?
WOMAN TO WATCH: Jordan Ashley, Founder of Souljourn Yoga
Attending a yoga class in a studio is a privilege. It’s something not everyone can afford, and if you’re going to your first one, you’re probably nervous as hell. But remember: Everyone was a newbie at one point, right? Jordan Ashley started Souljourn Yoga as a way to, of course, provide yoga classes. But Souljourn Yoga is a little different than your average yoga studio.
Jordan says Souljourn Yoga was inspired by the Sanskrit word seva, meaning acts of service. By partnering with both local and international non-profits, Jordan offers service-based yoga to raise awareness and funds for girls around the world. She does this by hosting retreats in countries like Peru and China. Participants meet with girls in the area, teach them yoga and engage with them along the way.
Souljourn Yoga’s latest retreat was held in Morocco, where women rode camels on the beach, created dyed totes with local girls, and came to understand culture in between downward dogs. A portion of the price for each retreat is directly donated to the local organizations that Souljourn partners with. In January of next year, they’re headed to South Africa.
Jordan finished her yoga teacher training in New York before heading to Southeast Asia to work as a journalist covering NGO topics. But really, her awareness of global issues came from completing a couple of study abroad programs. In Cambodia, Jordan taught women’s empowerment through a foundation, and in India, she lived with a Tibetan family.
This yogi’s story emulates the idea that leads to a fulfilling career: combine your favorite things. For Jordan, that means launching a traveling yoga business that makes a global impact. Because no matter where you’re at or where you’re from, you can always use a peaceful Savasana.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Did you know the yoga pose Savasana is also known as “corpse pose?” Yeah, there’s a reason we don’t say that. Words matter, so here are some wise words from Rosa Parks:
"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear."