Old Is the New Fat: On Body Image and Samskaras

There’s been a lot of talk about body image in yoga circles these days, and that’s good.

Now that it’s become more or less mainstream, yoga risks devolving into yet another way for advertisers and marketers to exploit women’s insecurities about their bodies and themselves for profit. But recent discussions about the lack of body diversity, fat shaming and so on are encouraging. There’s so much potential in using yoga to help women feel more empowered, and better about their bodies and themselves. But you probably already knew that.

So recently, when I realized I was just not that interested in the whole yoga-body-image conversation, it struck me as odd. Because I’m not at all a stranger to the conversation – I’m more of a stakeholder. I was bulimic and a compulsive dieter as a teenager and struggled with body image issues well into my adulthood. As a psychologist, I’ve worked with and advocated for women with eating disorders. More than anything else I did or tried, yoga fostered my own (ongoing) recovery in learning to love myself, and my body.

Through the practice of yoga I’ve learned to appreciate my body as a vehicle, a teacher, a laboratory, even a source a bliss – so much more than a means to exert control over my life and emotions by obsessing about my weight or food intake. I rarely have days in which I feel “fat” anymore – which is a far cry from where I was at age 20.

Of course, I’m much older now. So when I come across articles about body image it almost feels nostalgic – as if the struggle is some remnant from my past that I barely relate to anymore. It occurred to me that body shame had become so distant, it’s just not on my radar anymore. Then I got a wake-up call.

– See more at: http://yoganonymous.com/old-new-fat-samskaras-body-image/#sthash.xpiI2ZAT.dpuf


5 Minute Guided Meditation

I’ve been doing a 5 minute guided meditation lately, and finding it surprisingly helpful. I guess it’s true: even a little bit of meditation can bring a lot of benefits. So I made this video, in case anyone else finds it helpful:


It’s Not All About Me

I was stuck in traffic the other day. On my way to teach a yoga class (or course), the highway turned into a parking lot and my mind turned first to panic, I’m going to be late. I’ll have to call the studio…could anyone there sub for me? – then to anger: what the $%#& is going on up there? Why can’t people drive, anyway?

And then I realized what a jerk I was being, acting as if the whole situation was just one big inconvenience to me. I looked around and realized that I was surrounded by probably hundreds of people, and that everyone else around me was equally important, equally inconvenienced – and that all of us were actually lucky compared to the people involved in the wreck up ahead. I had a moment of sanity: this situation is not all about me. It’s not about me at all. I realized that the world doesn’t revolve around me and my convenience. Thank goodness.

– See more at: http://yoganonymous.com/monday-mantra/#sthash.IvdiIL9m.dpuf


Top 10 Reasons You Should Enroll in Esther Vexler Yoga School (EVYS):

1. EVYS was the first yoga teacher training (YTT) program in south Texas.
2. EVYS was also the first yoga teacher training in San Antonio registered with Yoga Alliance, and our program continues to meet requirements for the RYT-200.
3. EVYS is the only non-profit YTT in the area. 
4. Part of the EVYS mission is to provide yoga to underserved populations. As part of your training with EVYS, you will have the opportunity to engage in this sort of karma yoga, or service.
5. EVYS will give you a well-rounded yoga education. Rather than being a program that specializes in one particular school (or brand) of yoga, the EVYS program is a well-rounded hatha yoga program, which will give you the basics of hatha yoga instruction, including alignment, modifications and props, yoga philosophy, and much, much more. A well-rounded program will allow you flexibility as a yoga teacher without preventing you from teaching or practicing a specific style.
6. Our faculty includes a wonderful, seasoned group of teachers from the yoga community in San Antonio.
7. EVYS training includes yoga philosophy. We go well beyond the physical practice and strive to make the ancient wisdom of yoga accessible and useful for yoga teachers. 
8. Keep it local! It’s wonderful to go on retreat in Bali, but doing your teacher training close to home means your are supporting (and being supported by) your own community. And our community rocks!
9. The schedule is easy to keep – two weekends a month (and fewer, some months). And, training over an extended period of time allows you to more fully digest and integrate the material.
10. Our namesake, Esther Vexler, is the mother of yoga in San Antonio, and the oldest living yoga teacher in the US. Enough said.
Ready? Contact me at stephcarteryoga@gmail.com OR visit www.esthervexleryogaschool.com

All Together Now

A quick view of practice:



10 More Things I Want My Yoga Students to Know

About a year ago, I sat down to write a list of things I wanted to communicate to my yoga students.

Since that time, my students have progressed, so I’ve updated my list for the next stage in their practice…

Yoga is not about feeling good all the time:
Sometimes people get a bit intoxicated with yoga when they start feeling the benefits: less stress, better health, and so on. And that’s great. But as transformative as yoga is, it’s not going to get rid of all your bad feelings and problems. In fact, sometimes yoga cultivates a clarity that brings painful, unacceptable things about your life into focus so that sometimes things get worse before they get better.

Forget about trying to rid yourself completely of sadness, anger and fear. These emotions are not the problem—they are a gift from your nervous system that protect and help you stay on track. The real problem is that we try to deny, run from or cover up these feelings and end up making things worse in the process. By the same token:

Know that your “stuff”—the self-doubt, criticism, intimidation, judgment or whatever your drag onto your mat—is just that, stuff:
Not fact. Not truth. Not permanent or solid. With increased awareness comes the ability to see your stuff for what it is, and to not get caught up in it.  Keep reading here: http://yoganonymous.com/10-more-things-i-want-





Yoga Philosophy You Can Use | Kriya Yoga: How Shift Happens

Patanjali’s Recipe for Transformation:


1 part Tapas (Austerity)

1 part Svadhyaya (Self Study)

1 part Ishvara Pranidhan (Surrendering to God) 

Mix ingredients on yoga mat consistently, with full effort, over a long period of time. Season liberally with ahimsa as needed. Do not be alarmed if recipe spills off yoga mat: this is a sign that you have combined ingredients skillfully. Repeat ad infinitum.

Ok, so the Yoga Sutras aren’t a cookbook, and transforming our lives through the practice of yoga isn’t as simple as following a recipe.

Or is it?

Read the rest of this article at YOGANONYMOUS!


Yoga Philosophy You Can Use | Kleshas 101: Know Your Obstacles!

Check out my latest on Yoganonymous, an article on the ways we make ourselves suffer!

Yoga Philosophy 101 | Kleshas 101: Know Your Obstacles!


Chaturanga Tutorial

By request…a video to help you do Chaturanga Dandasana safely and correctly:



Warm Up Sequence

For your home practice: here’s a quick warm up sequence you can do to begin, or even do alone as a mini practice when you’re pressed for time…



New video – Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana) Tutorial

I’ve just uploaded a new video to YouTube – a tutorial to help you get into Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana). Hope you like it!



New Video!

For those of you who are new to yoga and want to practice at home, but don’t know where to start…I’ve recorded a quick video to guide you through some modified sun salutations. Doing a few of these would be a great start to a home practice. I’ll be adding more videos so you can keep expanding your home practice so stay tuned! Here’s the link:



Have fun!