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I’m so happy to bring Saskia Bolscher on to the podcast today. Please check Saskia out on her website, which is yogawithsaskia.co.uk. Also you can find her on Instagram @yogawithSaskia_ and also on TikTok, same handle @yogawithSaskia, no underscore.
I found Saskia through Instagram and I am really inspired by her posts. I find her message to be really motivating. I’m just going to read her intro on the homepage of her website. She writes “I’m Saskia, a curvy yoga teacher who’s passionate about making yoga accessible to anyone, regardless of ability, size or background. As someone who has continually experienced being the largest person in yoga classes, and teacher training courses. I know how difficult it can be to step into a studio class. But believe me, yoga is not just for flexible and thin people. I strongly believe that yoga is for everyone. And so I will make you feel welcome in my classes. I encourage modifying poses and the use of props to make poses work for your body, not the other way around. Yoga is for you.”
So on that note, let’s bring Saskia on the channel.
I’m so happy to have Saskia here with me today and Saskia. You’re joining me from London in England. Is that correct?
Yes, that’s correct. Thank you for having me.
Of course, I saw you on Instagram and I love your message. So I really am excited for or thankful for you to take some time out of your day to speak with me. When we were getting connected, I realized that I only put in my timezone and then when it was taking us a second to actually connect I thought, “Oh no, maybe I wasn’t clear about what time we were supposed to meet.” So I’m so glad that it worked out. What time is it over there?
Actually, it is 6:45pm in the evening.
Oh, that’s not so bad. It’s 1:45pm here. Perfect. That’s pretty reasonable. All right, cool. Thank you so much. And I’m curious if you can just get us started in the direction of what you’re passionate about? In your your teaching?
Yes. Thank you very much for asking Todd. I have been a yoga teacher for almost four years now. And I have practiced yoga for much, much longer than that. I’ve always been sort of in a bigger body, I’ve always been curvy. And so I’ve always found that I’ve had to adapt my practice a little bit to fit my body. And I’ve always been quite conscious that I’ve often been, you know, the biggest person in a yoga class in my yoga teacher training. And for a long time, I felt that as a yoga teacher, I wasn’t good enough. Because I thought you know, you have to be thin, right? Because you see all these other yoga teachers, they’re all thin and flexible. And I was like, oh, you know, if I’m really want to make it then that needs to be my goal. But along the way, I’ve sort of come to realize that it’s good to have representation of different ranges of bodies. So I’ve actually twisted that around and sort of made it my goal to show that anyone can do yoga. And if you’re in a bigger body, you can absolutely do yoga. You may have to adapt along the way and use props. But I’m all for it. And I show that in the classes that I teach, and I show that on Instagram on TikTok. I make videos to show people how they can make yoga work for their body rather than the other way around.
That’s cool. What type of response are you receiving?
Very positive. Yeah, actually, only almost only positive. Yeah. People are very grateful to see how they can adapt poses by using a block or a bolster, or strap or whatnot. And also, I’m getting lots of messages from people similar to me or, you know, yogi’s, in a similar size body, saying, Oh, it’s so nice to see someone else who’s also bigger, who’s practicing yoga, who is a teacher. I’ve had a student in the studio, where I teach locally come up to me and say, you know, I’m so amazed, and I’m inspired. And now I’m gonna take a teacher training, because I know now that I, you know, I can also do it. So yeah, it’s been really, really cool.
That is cool. How did you first get involved in yoga?
Oh, that’s a good question. I get this question a lot. And I don’t really have a good answer to it. I think in I started going to yoga classes at the gym, I think like a lot of people and I think it’s a long time ago, and I just I enjoyed it. I mean, I enjoy moving my body. I enjoy different types of exercise like dance and, and other things. I was never into sports really. So yoga worked very well. I’m fairly flexible. Not super, super flexible. But enough. So to that, yoga felt good. Yeah. I just kept kept going. And over time, I got more and more into it. I started practicing more, took it a bit more seriously, went on some retreats, etc, etc.
Cool. What style did you gravitate toward? You mentioned the gym, but do you remember the teacher that you had at that time? Or maybe there was multiple teachers? But was there a specific style or arrangement of postures that stuck out in your mind? Or sticks out?
It was hatha yoga at first. And I vividly remember practicing with ujjai breath, you know, in those first few classes, and I thought it was really cool. And it really added to the practice. And I hope as well that, you know, when I teach people in my classes that they are experiencing the same. But yeah, mostly Hatha Yoga. I experimented with different styles, going to different teachers, different styles of classes. I’ve tried Kundalini. I’ve tried Bikram but wasn’t a fan. It’s a tough one for various reasons. We won’t go into that. Yeah, vinyasa, ashtanga. All different styles. And then further along the line, I discovered yin yoga and this is one of my one of my favorite styles now. It is really cool to practice and to teach.
That’s how I found you. I thought, let me go into hashtag yin on Instagram and you popped up!
Yeah, I know, right? Sometimes when I do hashtags, I wonder like, “what the heck am I doing?” I mean, does this even do anything? It does, actually. It’s kind of fun to explore hashtags. It is such a great cataloguing system. You do a great job with your videos. I like the one that you did the most recent on Instagram that you we’re just kind of showing how to use a block to be able to get your spine straight. I’m curious, you’ve had a chance to practice in multiple styles and try different classes out and have gravitated toward yin. Is there a specific prop or modification that is your favorite? Something that you go to every single time that you like?
Yeah. So definitely when sitting in meditation, as you’ve seen in my latest IG Reel or TikTok video, I always set up either on blocks or on a bolster because it just allows you to sit, you know, up straight, and more comfortably. It doesn’t take any effort. And you can actually be in the pose with ease as we’re meant to be, right? Yeah. So yeah. Sthira Sukham Asanam. Yeah, stable and comfortable. But I think the main thing for me in making yoga work for my for my body and for other people who are in a bigger body is to make space for the body. So like in a child’s pose, taking the knees wide. Taking the feet a little bit wider, so that there’s space for the belly to go in between the legs. In twists, you know…. you can’t sometimes twist that far. So maybe like opening arms to help facilitate the twist. Things like that. That’s the main thing I would say. I always use props in all of my practices. If in a forward fold, if the floor feels far away, you know, put a block underneath.
Things like that.
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