Saskia Bolscher ~ Body Positive Yoga

You can listen to the full episode for free here.

Watch the podcast episode on YouTube Here.

Todd McLaughlin

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? 

Saskia Bolscher

Yes, that’s correct. Thank you for having me. 

TM

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?

SB 

Actually, it is 6:45pm in the evening.

TM

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?

SB

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.

TM

That’s cool. What type of response are you receiving?

SB

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.

TM

That is cool. How did you first get involved in yoga?

SB

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. 

TM

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?

SB

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.

TM

That’s how I found you. I thought, let me go into hashtag yin on Instagram and you popped up! 

SB

Oh, cool. 

TM

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? 

SB

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. 

TM

Nice. 

SB

Things like that.

You can listen to the full episode for free here: https://nativeyogacenter.buzzsprout.com

Thanks for reading this blog post from this YouTube video. Check out: 👇
Native Yoga Teacher Training – In Studio and Livestream – for info delivered to your email click this link here: https://info.nativeyogacenter.com/native-yoga-teacher-training-2023/

https://info.nativeyogacenter.com/native-yoga-teacher-training-2023/

New Student Livestream Special ~ Try 2 Weeks of Free Unlimited Livestream Yoga Classes  at Native Yoga Center. Sign into the classes you would like to take and you will receive an email 30 minutes prior to join on Zoom. The class is recorded and uploaded to nativeyogaonline.com ~ Click Here to join.

New Student FREE 30 Minute Yoga Meet & Greet ~ Are you new to Native Yoga Center and have questions that you would like us to address? Whether you are coming to In Studio, Livestream or Online Recorded Classes we offer a one time complimentary 30 minute zoom meeting to answer any questions you may have. Schedule a time that is convenient for you. Click Here

Native Yoga website: nativeyogacenter.com
Online Yoga Class Library: nativeyogaonline.com
Thai Massage info: palmbeachthaimassage.com
Native Yoga Blog: toddasanayoga.com
Instagram: @nativeyoga
YouTube channel: Native Yoga Center

Listen to the podcast here on our Podcast website: Native Yoga Toddcast

Please email special requests and feedback to info@nativeyogacenter.com

Ross Stambaugh ~ Yogis Helping Yogis

I am pleased to introduce you to Ross Stambaugh in this podcast titled Yogis Helping Yogis. 

Visit Ross on his Instagram site here @ashtanga.yoga.ross
Find him on his website ashtangahub.com

Ross is a 20+ year veteran of Ashtanga Yoga, and is an authorized teacher who learned directly under the teachings of Saraswati Jois in Mysore, India. When he is not traveling internationally for workshops, he welcomes the opportunity to help all levels of dedicated yoga practitioners. He makes annual trips to India to continue his studies and has assisted Saraswati on multiple occasions. Ross seeks to preserve the traditional Ashtanga method by maintaining a daily practice, and has extensive knowledge in the areas of pranayama, philosophy (yoga sutras), and certainly asana.

You can listen to the full episode for free here.

Watch the podcast episode on YouTube Here.

Todd McLaughlin

Today I bring to you a special guest, Ross Stambaugh. His website is http://www.ashtangahub.com. You gotta go check him out on Instagram. He does a great job on his IG page. It’s at @Ashtanga.Yoga.Ross. I also want to give a shout out to Waleah Norton at Red Earth Yoga Center in Oklahoma, check her out as well at http://www.redearthyogacenter.com. She introduced me to Ross and both of them had a chance to practice in India together and she got me so pumped to speak with him. And she said you gotta bring this guy on your podcast. He’s great! I had a really nice conversation with him. I hope that you enjoy this. So on that note. Let me go ahead and push play for you here. 

I’m so excited to have the opportunity to speak today with Ross Stambaugh. Ross, how are you doing?

Ross Stambaugh

Fantastic. Thanks for asking.

TM

I’m so happy that you’re here. I received rave reviews from our mutual friend Waleah who owns Red Earth Yoga Center in Oklahoma. She mentioned that you have visited her there. Is that true? You went and taught some yoga workshops there?

RS

Actually, I taught my first official Ashtanga Yoga workshop with there. I met her in Mysore, India. And it’s kind of a funny story. She posted a picture of her standing in front of her apartment, and I knew exactly where it was. So I knocked on her door. And she answers, “Who is it?” And I said, Hey, you know, my name is Ross. We’ve talked to each other on, you know, I think at the time was on Facebook. She kind of looks out and she didn’t want to open the door. So she’s like, how do you know who I am? And then I said, Well, I put things together and I figured I would just come by and say hello. Yes. So but eventually, over the course of the next two months, we became fast friends. And she invited me to her studio and we we did a lot of yoga.

TM

That’s awesome. I know she’s a really great person. So I appreciate the introduction. Thank you Waleah. 

Ross, I noticed that your website is ashtangahub.com. So anyone listening I’ll put the links in the description below. So it’s gonna be really easy to find Ross and also you’re on Instagram. Your handle is @Ashtanga.yoga.Ross, which will also be down below. And I love your Instagram posts. Since I’ve gotten a chance to follow you. You do a great job with your posts. It seems like you’re having fun doing it, which is an art form in and of itself. And then in the process of going to your website and learning about you. You are an ashtanga yoga practitioner and teacher and you’ve studied in Mysore with Saraswati Jois, is that correct?

RS

That’s right. That’s right. Yeah, um, about I think 2014 I took my first trip to Mysore and I’m a school teacher. So I had the summers off, and that’s when Saraswati Jois the daughter of Pattabhi Jois teachers out of her shala. I went there a couple of times for a couple of years. Several years actually, and just fell in love with the city. Fell in love with the temples. Fell in love with philosophy and of course, of course yoga.

TM

Righ! Mysore is an amazing city. What are some of the favorite things to do when there? Apart from the yoga?

RS

Yeah, I think, I think everyone, if they want to have a quintessential Indian experience, you have to get on a scooter. And you have to get lost in the city. And you have to try to navigate your way around the cows and the people in the temples and just get immersed in a culture that’s so very different from our Western eyes and ears and senses and everything.

TM

Nice. I agree. I did. No, actually, I did not rent a motorbike in India. I was a little timid of that. I’ve rented motorbikes in Thailand and in Indonesia. But when I was in India, I really just stuck with the rickshaw. And so that’s a bold move to get on a motorbike there. I applaud that courage.

RS

Oh, thanks. Yeah. 

TM

Have you ever had any close encounters there?

Waleah and I had a few. Yeah, she jumped on the bike. And, of course, she was holding her camera up, and I was waving and a bus I came like within a whisker of each other. Oh, yeah I did. My last trip. I was with my mom. And it was the last day and I was running her around Mysore. And I slipped on some gravel, and I  busted up my elbow. Long story short, I’m in the emergency room in there, and in front of us. I don’t know what happened. Or there’s a group of people there waiting. And like India, you know, money talks sometimes. And and I’m like, wow, I have a I have a flight to catch in like three hours. They won’t let me on the airplane. Because I needed to get some stitches. And so in my pocket, I had all my rupees left. So I had, I don’t know, maybe $20 and rupees. And I take it on my pocket. And I kind of wave it to the, to the nurse up there. And with that they they waved me in and I got the stitches. And I think I think it was maybe $40 or $60 US dollars in the end. Right and then out the door and I got on my flight.

TM

Yeah, amazing. That journey from Bangalore to Mysore is incredible. What city were you flying out of?

RS

I was flying out of Bangalore. So it’s a four hour drive from Mysore to Bangalore. So we have to jump in a taxi and then get that taxi to the airport.

TM

That’s an amazing trip, isn’t it? I remember the first time my wife and I went to Mysore in 2004. And when we got to Bangalore and walked out the doors and there was it seemed like at least 100 people all wanting to help us out. And that was our first like overwhelming, like, oh my gosh, what are we doing unique experience. That is amazing.

RS

You’re right. That’s what makes it so fun to go there. 

TM

I’m really curious, how did how did it evolve that you were able to invite your mom and your mom being willing to say yes to go to India?  How did that happen?

RS

Well, I would spend time there. So like I said I was school teaching and I had a few months off. And my mom just recently retired. And she’s always been, you know, a very quiet mom. But she’s always had a little adventure side to her. And she said, “Well, you know, can I come and see what you do you?” You talked about yoga, you practice yoga, you’re always talking, you know, you’re always doing yoga. Can I come and see what you do? And I said, Yeah, sure. So she jumped on an airplane and she hung out with me for almost three weeks. It was a great experience. 

TM

That’s so cool. What a great opportunity. Yeah, that’s amazing. When was last time you were in India, have you been there since 2019 or 2020?

RS

No, my last trip was 2018 at the end of the summer. And then of course COVID started to build. So I’ve missed out the last two seasons. Yeah, three seasons almost. And so but I’m hoping to return this coming July.

TM

Cool. Yeah. Nice. And I noticed that you said you’re a school teacher but you you teach art to the school kids.

RS

Yeah. I’m a middle school art teacher. I’ve been doing that for 22 years. Because this is 23rd.

TM

Wow, that’s really cool. Have you been an artist your whole life? Is that something that you were involved in when you were in middle school age and then progressed to wanting to go to school for it and now teach?

RS

Yeah, it was sort of the only thing I could get out of school with, I would, you know, I would take all the classes and in Junior High and in high school, and of course, college, I was a fine arts major for two years. I focused on like, traditional painting. I didn’t really have the aptitude for it, you know, I was okay. But I wasn’t. I was in a group of people that were better than okay. You know, they were they were really driven. And I noticed right away, I simply didn’t have that level of talent. But both my parents were teachers, and my sister’s a teacher, and all my cousins are teachers. So it just felt like, a thing to do. I enjoyed traveling, and I recognize that a teacher’s schedule would allow me to do that. So yeah, I’ve been a teacher. And I’ve been really enjoying it.

TM

That’s cool. You know, on that note, I have a daughter who’s in fourth grade. And as I was studying up and getting ready for this opportunity to speak with you, I heard her in the background. She had a substitute teacher, and she said, “All he did was look at his phone all day, he didn’t teach us anything.” And I gotta crack up. When I was in school, we didn’t have cell phones back in the old days, and, and I just thought, I just kind of cracked me up to think about a substitute, just like staring at his or her phone for the whole session. “All right, kids, just do what you want.” I’m guessing, though, that you take a really proactive role in the education process, can you share a story or two about what it’s like being a teacher and working with middle school aged kids?

RS

Ah, well, you have to be proactive, or else they’ll just eat you alive. They you know, I have such a spectrum of abilities and such a spectrum of maturity. And you have to be able to figure out how to engage each and every one. And, you know, sometimes there’s success, and often times, there’s trial and error, and we certainly fall in to the error of things. So I think that’s a great kind of segue into yoga, you know, recognizing when the external circumstances are not in your control, and you have to rely on a little bit of faith, and rely on a little bit of skill and a little bit of, of the unknown to get through the day. And hopefully, you have something left to give to children. To give to people that are not oftentimes willing to accept the struggle of learning. 

TM

Right? 

RS

Whenever we grow, especially in yoga, whenever we grow, we have to be okay with the struggle, which is certainly hard. Hard to do. Yes.

You can listen to the full episode for free here: https://nativeyogacenter.buzzsprout.com

Thanks for reading this blog post from this podcast episode. Check out: 👇
Native Yoga Teacher Training – In Studio and Livestream – for info delivered to your email click this link here: https://info.nativeyogacenter.com/native-yoga-teacher-training-2023/

https://info.nativeyogacenter.com/native-yoga-teacher-training-2023/

New Student Livestream Special ~ Try 2 Weeks of Free Unlimited Livestream Yoga Classes  at Native Yoga Center. Sign into the classes you would like to take and you will receive an email 30 minutes prior to join on Zoom. The class is recorded and uploaded to nativeyogaonline.com ~ Click Here to join.

New Student FREE 30 Minute Yoga Meet & Greet ~ Are you new to Native Yoga Center and have questions that you would like us to address? Whether you are coming to In Studio, Livestream or Online Recorded Classes we offer a one time complimentary 30 minute zoom meeting to answer any questions you may have. Schedule a time that is convenient for you. Click Here

Native Yoga website: nativeyogacenter.com
Online Yoga Class Library: nativeyogaonline.com
Thai Massage info: palmbeachthaimassage.com
Native Yoga Blog: toddasanayoga.com
Instagram: @nativeyoga
YouTube channel: Native Yoga Center

Listen to the podcast here on our Podcast website: Native Yoga Toddcast

Please email special requests and feedback to info@nativeyogacenter.com
Please share this episode with your friends, rate & review and join us next time.