Yoga teacher Dana Falsetti has been advocating for body positivity for quite some time. She's previously opened up about why it's important that women stop picking out their flaws and proved time and time again that yoga is indeed for every body.
So it comes as no surprise that the self-love yogi is continuing to remove barriers when it comes to yoga by teaming up with body-positive lifestyle brand Superfit Hero, to launch an inclusive, accessible, pay-what-you-can online yoga studio.
Big bodies are capable. Many big bodies love to move. Many are strong. When given the chance many of us will gladly show you your assumptions about us have been planted and are false. I'm not mad at you for having those assumptions about me and my body or others, I had the same ones about myself because I was brainwashed too. And yet... many are runners, lifters, dancers, yoga practitioners, and everything in between just like anybody else. You might not see us on that clothing site, on that brand's social media, in your favorite yoga magazine or wherever else. You might only see us in before and after photos, in ads for weight loss, in articles about health concern, as tokens, but we are out here for ourselves and deserving of this space. Your eye is trained to see us in these spaces and find us out of place. But we belong. We are capable. I never pursued strength or movement because I thought it wasn't for me or was shamed and ridiculed for attempting either at essentially every point in life from grade school on. I saw and see the looks and hear the laughter. Of course people always change their tune when they see what I'm capable of - and doesn't that just reiterate my point? Only valid if I can shock you out of your assumptions... but you know what? That's alright. I'll keep doing my thing and being shocking with my body, with my words, with my fire, and that's exactly why I'm here. Literally here on instagram, and here as in existence. To live for me and never hold myself back. If I can give any insight to ignorance by existing, that's cool. When I move and breathe I get to be fully connected to this amazing body I disassociated from for so long and it's true peace. I don't feel drawn to posting much asana these days, but when I look at this photo I smile because I feel peace. I see my path and how much work I've done for myself against many odds. I get to keep that no matter what anybody thinks and that's the beauty of inner validation. Don't underestimate those of us in big bodies just as we shouldn't underestimate ourselves, and don't judge or shame the ones that don't impress you either. It's our time and it's been a long time coming @michelesuits
"Over the last couple of years as I've worked in the corporate yoga and wellness space, there's a lot I've wanted to see change," Dana tells Shape exclusively. "Most of all, I've felt a lack of accessibility in yoga when it comes to cost, both online and in studios, and a lack of content on spaces like social media for those looking for simple yet powerful moves."
"Unfortunately, you're just not going to see a lot of chair yoga classes or simple balance moves that aren't flashy on the internet because they don't grab people's eyes, but there is so much more to yoga than that and there are so many people who need that content and just aren't getting it." (Related: Affordable Wellness Retreats That Won't Break the Bank)
That's why Dana's online yoga studio will keep things simple and include 13 yoga asana classes, where most of the moves will be performed from a seated position. These flows and tutorials will range from chair yoga and beginning standing postures to inversion and arm balance prep, restorative moves, and more.
"By incorporating everyday items like chairs and desks, the goal is to reach people who might be unfamiliar with, or intimidated by yoga," says Falsetti, who also shared an exclusive clip of one of her videos with us. The five-minute video will walk you through a series of morning stretches that Dana says are helpful when it comes to setting your intention for the day.
Thank you. Just the biggest most enormous thank you ever. . You can now practice with me online at studio.danafalsetti.com / @practicewithdana. . Pay what you can monthly for unlimited access to accessible and diverse content. . All video content is fully captioned. . This launch is #sponsored by @superfithero - new members get an exclusive code for 25% off. Superfit is woman owned. They are genuinely inclusive in their marketing and sizing/fit. A company you can feel good about supporting. . I could not have done this without an incredible team: @quartermoonco, @malindawatt, @wellstruck, @cheyennegil, @purposeprgroup, @dianahmua, @artichokeclams my lawyers (lol), and all of you!! Thank you.
"Inviting any kind of movement or mindfulness into your morning is a good place to start," Falsetti says of the flow. "A lot of times we jump right to our phones or we are hectic in the morning, heading to office jobs where we're sitting all day. It's so easy to flow into the pattern of not inviting much movement, so I always encourage people to introduce a few minutes of stretching in the mornings to help start your day stress-free." (Related: Is Your Morning More Chaotic Than Average?)
Like the rest of her program, the stretches in the video are applicable to anyone regardless of their level of experience, shape, or body type. "The movements are simple," says Falsetti. "More than anything it's about body awareness and mindfulness as opposed to anything super physical. You'll also hear me focus a lot on breathing in because I believe your breath helps enhance that mind-body connection. I think a lot of times people tend to forget how powerful that can be whether it's used to help you focus, recenter, or make sure you're positive as you get ready to tackle all the stresses that come with everyday life." (Related: 8 Wake-Up-Your-Body Moves Anyone Can Do In the Morning)
To access more of her content, head over to Falsetti's website. The pay-what-you-can option starts at $5 a month, with a suggested average price of $25. Seriously, you guys, practicing yoga has never been easier (or cheaper).