Welcome to Michelle Garcia Yoga!
Updated: Aug 21, 2019
Welcome to Michelle Garcia Yoga! I’ve been working on revamping my website and updating it to have a new look which of course takes time (which I don’t seem to have much of lately), money (always money) and work (working for yourself is not for sissies). I’m excited to get out some updates and more content to share the importance of the benefits of yoga for veterans and first responders.
A little re-cap and why this took a little while to update. My parents were in a horrible car accident, and I had to go to Denver to help them for two months. When I came back to my life, I moved and changed some relationships in my life. Went back to teaching and the other jobs that I have that are non-yoga related (the ones that pay the bills and allow me to live in northern California) took priority for some time.
Here’s what I did learn during this time. Every single time I teach a yoga class to firefighters, police officers, or veterans, I never regret it. I love teaching. I love spreading the word about yoga to those that will ask a question or listen. When I see a student feel something new and the look on their faces after class makes it all worth it. I know what I do changes lives. Now that might sound a little grandiose, but it’s the absolute truth. If I can change a person’s mind about understanding the benefits of adding yoga, mindfulness, or even how to breathe differently, I know it changes their attitude, behavior, and in turn, their life.
I also did a deep dive in my own life and dealt with some things from my past that needed attention. I went back to therapy and did the work, looked at things that I had shoved deep down and brought them to the surface and worked through them. A few times when I had gone to teach, and a firefighter says to me, “You look stressed.” That’s not good to hear. I cannot come to class promoting health and mindfulness and be an example if I’m a basket case. I needed to pull it together and re-examine some things.
So after some time being absent, I’m ready to get back out there and promote what I know can make lives better and more fulfilling. What I’ve also realized when I talk to first responders, is I can speak their language. I understand the job, the stress it puts on them and their families, I get it. I’m not shy about the fact that I have been married three times, yes three. I’ve had more last names than should be allowed by law. If I go to apply for another marriage license, the clerk should say, “honey, are you sure about this?” Please, someone should stop me. I understand the stress of the job and how it can affect not just you, but your family. I learned a lot of hard lessons during my 20 years as a law enforcement officer, and I’ve had to take several years to untangle those things.
Another thing I have learned in the yoga community is there are programs out there promoting “trauma-sensitive yoga,” and they are not teaching anything close to trauma-sensitive yoga. If we are teaching first responders, veterans, people in recovery, victims of abuse, anyone that is holding trauma, (this can apply to anyone coming into a yoga class), we as yoga instructors need to teach better. We need to do better.
If you are paying your hard earned money for a workshop or training (whether you are a student or yoga instructor) if something does not sound right to you, be willing to question it/the instructor/the training. Just because you have a website and are asking people to pay a lot of money to come to your training, you better be able to explain the purpose of holding a student in plank for 10 breaths and the meaning of doing that when you teach a demographic such as first responders, veterans or anyone with trauma. I’ve seen it done. It makes no sense whatsoever.
If you want to be a personal trainer and they are coming to a boot camp or Crossfit class. That’s perfectly fine. I would expect that in that type of class, but it has no business in a yoga class, especially for compromised demographics. This topic can be its own blog post, which will be very soon, but it is a big lesson I have learned in the past year. We, as yoga teachers need to pay attention to who we are teaching and why people are coming to our classes. How do we better serve our students? It’s a question that needs a deeper dive, hence a longer post about this subject.
I am working on bringing some video content to my website, and I finally hired someone to help with my social media (which is basically dead right now) because of you know….life. I want to bring more content that is needed for first responders and veterans and how to make yoga accessible to them, how to integrate just 5 minutes a day, and many other topics. Learn more about the Simple Habits app with my meditation recordings.
I also want to address yoga instructors who are asking for more information about how to teach this very specific demographic. Most yoga instructors I know have huge hearts and want to give back and help because we know and understand the benefits of what we teach. Every single yoga instructor I know has had some transformation from the benefits of practicing yoga, and we want to spread that wealth of knowledge. But going into a firehouse, veterans group or police department is a very different animal. It’s completely different than teaching to soccer moms. I don’t mean that negatively, I love soccer moms! But teaching such a unique group of men and women requires a different mindset and a unique set of skills. I want to share that knowledge.
I’m thankful for those of you that are still here, and I hope to get more information out to you soon. If you have any questions or want to know more, please feel free to send me an email. I’m happy to answer and help.
Thank you and with much gratitude,