04 September 2023

An Unabridged Review | Yoga w/ @Journey2Antoinette

I quit yoga for reasons that I've already discussed in the past and that I would rather not re-hash at this particular moment in time, because this is not about that. Instead, my task is an attempt to make others see someone the way that I see them, and that someone is Antoinette aka @Journey2Antoinette, my yoga teacher. 

I could easily droll on about the banal, but that's boring. 

[DISCLAIMER: I do not hope to define Antoinette as a yoga teacher, I am merely sharing my perception of her as a yoga teacher, and yes, I am human, and humans are flawed, and so, my perception may be very flawed. Nevertheless, this is the way that I see her, not who she is. Please remember this when reading this review.]

In short, Antoinette is an outlier; she's different; she's special. Mainstream yoga does not include people like her, and as much as they give lip service to diversity, the diversity is lacking. And so, Antoinette has been watching the yoga world from the outside. 

For me, this is Antoinette's greatest gift. She is, obviously, very intelligent, and so, because yoga is what she thinks about, what she has decided to put her mind to, her unique perspective has shaped her into a type of yoga teacher that is the greatest gift that any of us could hope to receive. Maybe she won't be a yoga teacher forever (I do not know her life's goals/plans/dreams), but that hardly matters as long as she continues to share her mind with us. 

In my opinion, that's what a teacher does. They share their minds with us. They use their minds to think about stuff, and then they teach everyone else who doesn't use their minds to figure stuff out. I use my mind for other things, and I pretty much never think about yoga. This is why Antoinette is my teacher. She thinks about yoga, and I pay to have access to her thoughts about yoga. 

Through her classes, she shares her ideology by coming up with sequences through which we can flow, and as we are flowing, we are given insight into her mind and what she thinks about when she's flowing, and how she thinks about yoga, in general. 

Her perspective is what I appreciate the most about her classes. Every yoga teacher from whom I've taken class has a way about them, a patter, a stream of consciousness that is expressed verbally while they guide us through a flow. Antoinette, to me, is the type of guide who creates safety. She doesn't make you feel bad about yourself or your body. She's creative and creates a fluid space where you can be whatever kind of you you are.

Her classes may not seem physically challenging or totally extreme, because her classes are not about the shapes. Her classes are about the way that the shapes make you feel. She effortlessly connects you to your mind and to your body. I honestly do not know how she accomplishes this, especially when considering that I am taking her classes through a computer screen, across the distance of the internet. 

If you're looking for a way to get your body into a particular shape, Antoinette's class isn't really that type of class, and I really hope that this is not misconstrued as a bad thing. This is a great thing, in my opinion. 

And so, if you're like me and you're seeking a yoga teacher who guides you through class with the purpose of connecting you to yourself so that you can feel, so that you can have space to heal, so that you can have room to grow, then Antoinette is the class for you. You will also sweat. So I do not mean to make it sound like her class is not physically challenging. It is still physically challenging, if you allow her to be your guide. But the point is to use the physical motions to create a connection with your internal self, as opposed to mainstream yoga, which feels, to me, more like a means to an outward ends. 

After a month of classes with Antoinette, I have, undoubtedly, returned to my yoga practice, and she is fully to blame for bringing me back to a practice wherein the goal is not for the world, but rather, the goal has shifted to be about me bettering myself through the wisdom that she has gained by being an outlier. 

Every single person who has changed the world has been an outlier. I imagine that Antoinette is no exception.

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