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Yoga, Graduation, and Body Positivity

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Allison is well-spoken, kind, and a real life success story. Her business, Peace Bound Yoga, has a lot to offer. I hope you enjoy learning more about her, her take on body positivity, graduating, and yoga in general.

How has body positivity affected you personally?

Like most people, I have been extremely self-conscious of my body and how I look. When I first started teaching yoga, I was self-conscious of being a plus-sized woman in the health and wellness field. I am very grateful to those who have embraced me. But I have also encountered those who have chastised me for "promoting" being unhealthy. In my mind, all I was doing was living my life with the body that I have. I was not making a statement. However, I have since realized that being a plus-sized yoga instructor that promotes body positivity is the statement I need to make. Increasing visibility for different body types in yoga is important. Our bodies are our homes and the only consistent thing we have in life, so we deserve to be comfortable and love the bodies that we have.

How has it affected your business?

I was inspired to create a body-positive yoga program for beginners for many different reasons. Firstly, with the pandemic, people are seeking outlets for coping with stress and anxiety and yoga is perfect for that. However, Zoom classes are hard for beginner yogis and instructors alike because it is not easy to give the one-on-one support that beginners need. I remembered how I felt as a beginner. I had a DVD that I was practicing at home, and the first pose was "Mountain," which is a standing position. The instructor had their feet together and when I tried to do that, I just fell over. I felt like a failure in the first pose because I couldn't stand correctly. I've since learned that there are different ways to modify poses and how to use props to make positions more comfortable. However, beginners don't have all of that knowledge from the start. So in my program, I break down each yoga pose and demonstrate different modifications so that you find your own personal way to express that pose. Going forward, should you attend a yoga class, you will be comfortable in how to make yoga suit your body, and not the other way around.

How has the pandemic shifted your business?

My original intent for my business was to practice yoga in beautiful places. I'm going on my fourth year of teaching outdoor yoga at Hilltop Farm in Suffield, George Hendee of Indian Motorcycles gentleman's farm. I also ran my first yoga retreat in October 2019 and the goal was to run more but the pandemic put a pause on that. The pandemic shifting my business ended up being a gift. I have since created two online courses, one that is a body-positive beginner yoga program and another for women with PCOS to manage their symptoms with yoga. I am also working on another course for beginner chair yoga. I have found a creative flow zone working on these online courses as well as making myself of service in the pandemic.

Do you feel that Bay Path provided you with tools that have helped you sustain your business?

Bay Path, the Communications program, and Professor Fondon have been incredibly helpful to me. Professional Writing taught me how to tailor my business bio and copy to different audiences. Using Canva and Zoom at Bay Path helped me to build my confidence with these tools and transfer that knowledge to my business. Bay Path has provided many opportunities for public speaking which has been extremely helpful because I have always been afraid of it. I've gotten comfortable enough with public speaking that I was approached to give a seminar on self-care for mothers on International Women's Day and enjoyed it! I also learned a lot about networking by watching Professor Fondon model it. And knowing that the Bay Path community wants me to succeed means so much.

You graduated just a few months ago! Do you have any advice for the graduating seniors?

My advice is to take that dream or idea that feels too big and figure out how to make it happen. The pandemic has taught us that there are ways to modify just about everything. Our small world was made even smaller. There are many resources available and ways to educate yourself.

People will tell you to take the "dependable" job even if it isn't your goal or of interest to you. I disagree wholeheartedly with that advice. Your time is so valuable.

Lastly, do you have any advice for people who are looking to get into yoga?

I truly believe there is a yoga practice for every person. I don't think that flexibility or any other physical goals are the purposes of yoga. It's about creating a mind-body connection. There are ways to modify poses and use props to help practice poses for your body. And there are also yoga practices that are not reliant on any type of physical ability like yoga Nidra or restorative yoga. There really is yoga for everybody.





This article is also featured in the April 2021 issue of the Network News Student Magazine.