ADAPT & LOVE: BEN CLARK INTERVIEW

ADAPT & LOVE: BEN CLARK INTERVIEW

ADAPT & LOVE: BEN CLARK INTERVIEW

PROFILES

BEN CLARK INTERVIEW

Scrolling through IG last year, we came across Ben Clark’s Instagram account @adapttoperform where he was teaching a wheelchair adapted yoga, mobility and meditation class at the UK’s largest yoga event, OM Yoga Show. We wanted to learn more about his life, work and thoughts on LOVE. 

How were you first introduced to yoga?
I did my first yoga class when I was 19 years old, before I was a wheelchair user. At the time, I was living in Australia and training as a professional swimmer. My uncle took me along as he had mentioned the benefits he had gained from it for his surfing, so I gave it a try.

This was 2009, so before Instagram and way before influencers were a thing, meaning I had little to no knowledge of what yoga was or meant. The teacher was great though, and really helped me understand the movements.

Yoga didn’t hook me straight away. I just did a handful of classes and I didn’t return to it for a number of years. When I did, however, it was a few years after becoming disabled. This time, I took a bigger interest in it. I think the challenge of adapting the movements to my new situation provided the spark of creativity and interest needed for me to take it up long term, which I have for the past 6 years now!

Last year you led a yoga class at the UK’s largest yoga show as the first person in a wheelchair. What was that experience like?
Firstly, it was fantastic to be able to be showcasing what I do to a larger audience. Often the phrase, “Yoga is for every body” is used, but with very few people actually knowing how to adapt it for people whose bodies work differently. 

I love the challenge of adapting movements for various people, so I took the opportunity of being in front of an audience to explain my thought process and how we take the fundamentals of yoga and apply it to anyone in a safe, simple, and fun way.

You are the founder of an online platform, Adapt to Perform, and are a world-leading expert on adapted fitness. For someone who is not familiar with the term “adapted fitness,” how would you define it?
When it comes to adaptation, it’s all very individual. Much like water changes to the shape of its container, exercise must change to the abilities and goals of the individual. I have worked with over 100 different people with a very wide range of abilities and different desired outcomes. If I came with the same plan with no room for adjustment, I would fail them as a coach. Therefore, I would have a base plan for an individual that I can adjust and change easily on the go. At the end, the program might look completely different, but we are still achieving the goals we set out to do.

It can be easy to just focus on doing things the “right way,” but this way of thinking stops creativity and may not be suitable for the individual. When it comes to adapting a movement, I like to ask: “What is the purpose of this movement?” From there, I ask: “How can I achieve the same purpose but within the limitations of the individual?” Keep it simple, think of the fundamentals, and make it fun!

The theme of this issue is LOVE, can you share with us what you have learned about love?
Well, having recently got married, love is a big topic for myself, lately! I’ve found that the more pure the love, the easier it is. Loving my wife Alice is never a chore, and neither is eating a pizza! And with that, it’s important to recognise that some things/people we will love more than others, but that doesn’t make them less or more important. Although if Alice reads this, she’s definitely the most important 😉

Learn more: adapttoperform.co.uk

BEN CLARK INTERVIEW
BEN CLARK INTERVIEW
LOVE SPOTLIGHT: Come to Life Yoga

LOVE SPOTLIGHT: Come to Life Yoga

LOVE SPOTLIGHT: Come to Life Yoga

PROFILES

BIG BEAR YOGA FESTIVAL

To celebrate the release of our print issue themed LOVE, we reached out to our amazing community to share with us a few thoughts on love. This week we celebrate Come to Life Yoga  located in Fort Myers, FLA and founder Kimberly: “Kimberly has been practicing Yoga since 2009. She is an E-RYT 200/ RYT 500 yoga teacher and a certified sound healer. She has a passion for teaching as yoga saved her life. She shares her story frequently. She found yoga is a great way to improve endurance in other physical activities. Before or after any workout, yoga will help your body relax while stretching, strengthening, and lengthening the muscles. Kimberly chose to become a teacher and open Come To Life Yoga in Fort Myers, Florida in 2014 so others can enjoy the amazing benefits and overall health through yoga. She takes pride in small group sessions and individual sessions to make sure the students get full knowledge of the yoga benefits and how to maintain overall health. The Hatha/Vinyasa yoga combination she teaches is for all levels and beginners. She also teaches power, heated vinyasa, Yoga Nidra, restorative yoga, yin yoga , adaptive yoga, chair yoga and sound bowl classes. She has a registered yoga  school with the Yoga Alliance and teaches a 200 hour yoga teacher training and an YACEP sound healing course. She also focuses on helping other local small businesses by doing events together, yoga retreats and teaches at other yoga studios while she travels.” Pick up your free copy of Yoga Love Magazine at Come to Life Yoga today!

Share with us what you love about what you do:
When I opened in 2014, it was to share love with others through the practice of yoga. You will see signs everywhere in the studio about love as reminders. It is because of the love and support of yogis that Come To Life Yoga and Sound Healing still exists after a pandemic and two major hurricanes that damaged the studio. I tell students to remember to love who they are first so they can love others. We find in yoga that it is a union of love. I have learned that unity and community provides us love. 

Share with us what you have learned about LOVE:
Love is everything and everyone. If you love everything and everyone it brings you peace and fulfillment.

What inspired you to support Yoga Love Magazine?
When I found Yoga Love Magazine and was told the issue was about love, I knew I had to join it and help them reach others too. I am so grateful to be part of such a wonderful cause. 

BIG BEAR YOGA FESTIVAL
LOVE SPOTLIGHT: Yoga in the Adirondacks

LOVE SPOTLIGHT: Yoga in the Adirondacks

LOVE SPOTLIGHT: Yoga in the Adirondacks

PROFILES

BIG BEAR YOGA FESTIVAL
To celebrate the release of our print issue themed LOVE, we reached out to our amazing community to share with us a few thoughts on love. This week we celebrate Yoga in the Adirondacks which sits in the Adirondack State Park of New York, and founder Rhodella Hughes. Pick up your free copy of Yoga Love Magazine at Yoga in the Adirondacks  today!

Share with us what you love about what you do:
I love teaching yoga and feel extremely blessed for the opportunity in the practice. I love creating a “safe space” to embrace the practice of yoga. Our yoga shala, The Divine Acres, home to Yoga in the Adirondacks (YitA), where yoga embraces nature. We are located in upstate NY, in Bakers Mills of the Adirondack Park. Our gardens are a labor of love that source our farm to table meals at our seasonal retreats. I love working with my husband, Patrick who manages The Divine Acres farm. In addition to our miniature donkeys, sheep (most of them born here on the farm) ducks, chickens and turkeys; we have a farmstand after our morning yoga practices. I love our story and our mission. Yoga in the Adirondacks is a journey in the current moment, changing in harmony with our focus to enhance our community in the highest and greatest of good. 

Our vision is to bring positive living to light in our community and ourselves using healthy living, yoga, essential oils and more. We offer the opportunity to find the courage to seek within ourselves the seed of change for any new beginnings using our individual tool boxes.  Yoga can bring us growth, peace, and gratitude within ourselves, connecting with our beautiful and majestic Adirondack Mountains and all they have to offer. 

I love always being a student. I am currently in study for Yoga Therapy. I have initiated a 3rd grade yoga and mindfulness program in our public school and I am very excited to be delivering my first workshop at our school staff day on Yoga & Mindfulness for Educators. I love that yoga continues to grow and I love to be the witness of how the practice is beneficial for our overall health. A big piece of my heart is the love for our children, the youth, the future of our tomorrow. YitA will be offering an after school yoga program for our students. The things I love to say when I teach yoga “our palms, the extension of our own heart”, “our neck, the bridge between our heart and mind”, “softness in the strength”, “find your breath”, “find your feet.”  

I love educating and sharing essential oils and bringing them through practice along with chakra singing bowls for supporting the balance of our vibrational frequencies. I love teaching Yoga Nidra, Veterans Yoga and AromaYoga.

Share with us what you have learned about LOVE:
When we align ourselves with love the lessons speak for themselves. A lesson in LOVE is about our alignment with a full, open, strong and clear heart. A lesson of compassion, understanding, kindness and peace with the calm in a human journey knowing that love is stronger than fear. Love is Divine. Divine is here to shine. The authentic you shines love. 

What inspired you to support Yoga Love Magazine?
My initial inspiration to support Yoga Love Magazine was through the connection of trust. I was delighted to be a part of something bigger than myself. So grateful to be a studio partner and look forward to continuing

BIG BEAR YOGA FESTIVAL
YOGA ON THE ROCKS

YOGA ON THE ROCKS

YOGA ON THE ROCKS

by: Melissa Honkanen

PROFILES

Yoga on the Rocks
PHOTO BY: Tamara Montes de Oca

Waking up at 4:00 AM is not easy, especially on a Saturday. However, my niece and I knew we were up for the challenge. We didn’t hesitate to sign up for a sunrise yoga class at one of the most incredible outdoor venues in the world at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado, just 10 minutes west of Denver.

Little did we know that we would encounter not only an unforgettable yoga experience in nature, but we were able to participate in an incredible bilingual yoga class. I was fortunate to speak via Zoom with Chanty Cohen in her Miami home a few weeks after her class.

Can you tell me about your yoga discovery journey and how you decided to be a teacher?
When I started my 200-hour yoga teacher training, I didn’t know anything about yoga. The only thing I knew was that yoga is for flexibility. As a runner, I was like, well, let’s give it a try. Maybe I will be a better runner, and I will be more flexible.

How were you able to not only bring a beautiful yoga class to 2,500 participants, but to also create a class for a bilingual community? 
Creating a bilingual class was a challenge because it was my first time doing it. When I started doing my research, I couldn’t find a class that was bilingual. Every single class that said “bilingual” was mostly one language leading the other, like 60% English and 40% in Spanish or the opposite. The purpose of creating a bilingual class was to benefit fluent English and/or fluent Spanish speakers.

Another big challenge was that I practiced yoga in English, so I didn’t know the names of the poses, muscles or cues in Spanish. So it was like, how do I say “curl your toes under”? I just kept asking people that I knew that have taught yoga in Spanish along with my own research.

I didn’t want a boring class in two languages. How can we speak to people that are fluent in English and/or Spanish? It was a lot of practice and failure. My friend, yoga mentor, and Yoga Director at TruFusion Denver Cat Wetenkamp was so supportive and believed in me to teach a bilingual Red Rocks Class. We met every week for two hours to create the class together.

How long did it take to create your sequence? 
Like most yoga teachers, the sequence just flows in our head. I was just playing outside with my mat and then connecting pose to pose. That was not the tough part.

But now, if you ask me how my first sequence changed from the final Red Rocks yoga sequence, they’re so different. We changed a lot of things from my initial sequence because the class needed to be accessible for people that had never done yoga in their life. When I wasn’t practicing with Cat, I was practicing with my husband. I also taught the class to a group of friends who knew yoga and who weren’t familiar with yoga in Miami to see if it made sense to them.

How was teaching yoga at Red Rocks different from teaching in a studio?
Yoga at Red Rocks was more like a performance. When you are teaching a class to 2,500 people, you really don’t want to mess up. If I mess up and change a pose, and I change the sequence, the demo team is going to get confused. A challenging part was that I needed to know the sequence by heart.

How were you able to stay centered and hold space for yoga in a 2,500 participant event venue?
Thankfully, two additional yoga teachers were able to demo different variations near the stage close to me. So it was an amazing team. My bilingual class took a lot of practice, but when I get into teaching mode, it’s like my comfort zone. In the past, I had attended someone else’s yoga class at Red Rocks and had an awesome experience. However, I remember the teacher was apologizing a lot. She was messing up the sequence, which I don’t blame her, it’s so hard! You are in front of all of these yogis and everyone is watching you. It’s uncomfortable. But that day, I learned as a teacher that you can’t apologize. No matter what happens, I will make it through, I will make it work, I will put it together.

I needed to give attendees a good experience, and that experience is not by having the best yoga sequence in the world or by having the best voice. I can deliver a good experience if I’m present. And that’s something that we can all do, just be present and be connected with the people that are around you.

My “why” was also bigger than my fear. Like Yoga Love Magazine, I want to be inclusive. I want to promote diversity. I want to show people that they don’t need to be flexible to practice yoga. My “why” is bigger than my excuses and my fear and my emotions. I had to trust myself and deliver my message by having a strong theme that we are all connected. Besides the physical practice, yoga is so much more. Yoga is now. We are practicing yoga now to be fully present with each other. Sharing our energy in a community is important. I wanted to make sure to bring this message to the Red Rocks yoga class.


Learn more: redrocksonline.com

Yoga on the Rocks
Yoga on the Rocks

PHOTOS BY: Tamara Montes de Oca

HOW TO GET YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED

HOW TO GET YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED

HOW TO GET YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED

By iana velez

BOOK CLUB

WEB SPOTLIGHT KIA MILLER
Have an idea for a great book? Don’t know where to start? We reached out to Beth Frankl, Executive Editor at Shambhala Publications, an independent, family-owned company on what advice she had for getting your book published. Since 1969, Shambhala has published titles on everything from meditation and a wide range of spiritual traditions, as well as health, wellness, yoga, and martial arts.

Someone has an idea for a book. Now what? 

First, congratulate yourself! Appreciate that your yoga practice has inspired you to explore and create. Start looking online and in stores for books that are comparable to yours, particularly those that have been published in the past five years. These “comps” may share the same theme or explore a similar concept through a different lens. Become familiar with them and their differences and similarities to your project. For example, if you want to write a book that explores the Yoga Sutras, consider the comps and identify what makes your view distinctive and compelling. Comps play a vital role in how publishers will conceive of your book editorially, design-wise, and from a marketing and publicity standpoint. Even if you plan to self-publish or use a hybrid publishing platform, it’s super important that you have a good sense of the comps on the market.

Next, start crafting an “elevator pitch” for your book. This one concise sentence needs to communicate what the book is and why it is distinctive and needed. This is essential for publishers, and it will also help keep you focused as you write.

When you approach a publisher, you usually need to present a proposal, a table of contents, and some sample material. Submission guidelines are generally available on the publishing house’s website.

Do people need extensive previous writing experience to get a book published?

They do not. However, it’s important to honestly assess your own strengths and challenges as a writer. Writing a book is tough—and even if you regularly write blog posts, academic papers, or other types of content, those skills don’t always translate into an acceptable book manuscript.

Writing a book also requires a lot of organization, a detailed plan (creating an annotated table of contents, I think, is crucial), and an ability to stay focused on that plan. If organization is not your area of strength, or if you have a more improvisational nature, it’s important to consider ways to ground your book writing process.

Skillful freelance editorial professionals are, to my mind, worth their weight in gold. For many authors, hiring an editor to work with you on your proposal and manuscript can make a huge difference in the quality of the material. Sadly, most publishers don’t provide that level of editorial support anymore—it’s just not cost-effective for them. I very often recommend that aspiring authors hire someone to at least cast a critical eye over their work.

How does Shambhala select from all the submissions/pitch proposals? What are you looking for?

We receive a huge number of proposals—and we really do consider them all. We’re a small publisher, and we’re very careful and intentional about what we take on. Shambhala specializes in books that are rooted in wisdom traditions, systems, and practices that encourage deep inner transformation and enlightened living. Our authors need to be established, recognized teachers of, experts in, or longtime practitioners of the tradition they are writing on.

We want authors that have a platform, and that it is as robust as possible. A website, blog or newsletter, a regular teaching schedule, connections to institutions and organizations, an active social media presence—these all lay the groundwork for our marketing and publicity campaigns. If you don’t have at least some of these in place, you’ll want to start putting energy towards building your platform before you approach a publisher. There are a number of good books on the market on how to do that.

In terms of our yoga list, we’re looking for fresh insights into the classic teachings and practices that make them particularly relevant and compelling for a contemporary audience. Which essentially means the sky’s the limit!

I will say that people often come to us with their yoga memoir, and sadly, that’s the type of project that we almost always have to reject. It’s very tough to publish a memoir successfully. That’s not to say that an author shouldn’t offer their personal experience and insights from their practice; in fact, they absolutely should. But if a book is primarily a memoir, it’s not usually a good fit for us.

What makes Shambhala Publications unique?

For more than 50 years, we’ve had an unwavering commitment to publishing books that are timeless and truly beneficial. Because we are a small staff of book lovers and in most cases also practitioners of the traditions that we publish, I feel that we’re unusually invested in the books we produce. You could say that for many of us, our work is an extension of our practice.

Years ago, when we’d discuss a project in our editorial committee meetings, we’d debate if the project was worth cutting down a tree for. That’s a pretty high bar! Our books have to stand the test of time and be true to the tradition that they represent; nothing ersatz or faddish for us. And our books have to be beautiful objects. Our production team works very hard to create books that are aesthetically designed.


Learn more: shambhala.com