Recently I decided to start bolstering my fitness routine with yoga, but between my hectic work schedule and constant travel, the idea of joining a class wasn’t very practical. So I of course turned to the internet for resources. It turned out that there were a slew of options, and one of my favorites is a YouTube channel and series of online courses called “Bad Yogi“, which is run by “bad yogi” and entrepreneur Erin Motz.
Erin has been teaching yoga for twelve years, and in her own words, “I believe in building things that make people love themselves more, love themselves better, and then allows them to pass that love on to others.”
So without further ado, let’s see what Erin has to say about yoga, health, and building an online business.
How can yoga bolster an already solid health and fitness routine?
Where do I begin?! For one, yoga is an incredible tool to hone the steadiness and clarity of our thinking. Whether your regular exercise consists of running, crossfit, cycling, or literally anything else— there’s no denying the mental element of any physical pursuit. Yoga is a tool that helps you harness your mental power to become a more focused athlete, which then (conveniently) blends seamlessly into your daily life. So not only are you more poised in your physical activities, but you’re also more collected in your work and home life too. Plus, do I even need to sell you on all the added flexibility, dexterity, balance, and body-awareness?!
What are the benefits to doing yoga, including the physical and mental benefits that people might already have some idea about, and some of the unexpected benefits that you’ve experienced yourself?
Yoga has made me acutely, passionately, and endlessly curious and knowledgeable about my own body. You start to learn random things about yourself that are SO COOL! You know how fun it feels for someone to ask you a few personality questions, and then give a spot-on description of the kind of person you are? That’s kind of what doing yoga does, but for your physical body. It’s endlessly interesting.
What is Bad Yogi all about?
Bad Yogi is all about demystifying the yoga experience, making it a little less “woo-woo” and a little more, “oh, I can totally do that.” I was tired of seeing ultra-serious and often ultra-snobby people as representatives in the yoga world and I wanted to change that. Bad Yogi makes yoga inclusive and removes the snobbery and pretense so that anyone— literally, anyone, whether they’re a kale-loving vegan or a prize-winning deer-hunter — can feel welcome.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to try yoga for their first time? How about for intermediates who are interested in getting more advanced?
Just begin! Don’t worry about what you might look like or how “bad” you think you’ll be. The most fulfilling part of your practice will most assuredly be the journey, so eliminate the possibility of reaching an end in some far off distant future. The work is now and that means the joy is now, but that also means the joy is endless. Bask in it. To expand your practice you must push past your fear. We often stop ourselves from growing because we’re afraid. All of our fears look different, so it’s up to us to decipher what those are for ourselves, but once you can identify them, you can start to move past them, and that’s where progress happens.
I like your video on failure (included above). Could you share a few words about that?
Failure is what makes our life rich. If nothing ever fell out of place or didn’t go as planned, how fun would that be? Even when it’s awful in the midst of what we would consider a failure, those are usually the biggest opportunities for growth. So with that video, we really wanted to glorify the progress that comes from failing instead of just showing the end result. The work is where the real magic lives. The end is just a consequence of small actions leading there.
Why do you think so many people find it difficult to embrace a healthy lifestyle?
Because there’s pizza! 😉
I think it gets challenging when we turn a healthy lifestyle in to a diet. Diets are punishing, lifestyles are rewarding. If you start to really FEEL how it feels so eat well and to move every day, and contrast that with eating junk regularly, it’s a fairly easy choice to make. But the problem happens when we say, “that’s it— I’m never having ice cream again! This ends now! Ugh, I’m so fat!” Instead of saying, “I feel so much better when I’m eating whole foods often! I’m going to use ice cream as an occasional indulgence when it’s really worth it instead of mindlessly eating it all the time.” We have to put ourselves in charge of our lives and not get caught up in getting dragged around by erroneous rules that we impose on ourselves. If we all could remember that we’re in charge here, I think that would go a long way.
What are a few tips for people who are struggling to improve their health? What is the #1 thing people can do to start improving their health today?
Hmm, so tough to pick! It’s super tough, but I’d say to eliminate processed foods. A tedious task, but a very worthwhile one. Also, move your body daily! These two things cannot be separated and are of equal importance, if you ask me.
What about people who have been living moderately healthy lives, but who are interested in kicking it up a notch?
Challenge yourself to cut out all added sugar! I did this for 30 days a couple months back and felt amazing after the initial mood swings wore off, haha. The first couple weeks were torturous, but after that 30 days I had amazingly clear skin, ZERO cravings, and felt much more balanced overall.
Several of your videos deal with meditation. What are the benefits of mediation, and do you have any tips for starting a successful practice?
See above! In terms of starting, just don’t let the word “meditation” intimidate you. Meditation can be as simple as sitting up in your bed before starting your day, closing your eyes, and taking 8 long, slow, deep breaths. Boom— meditation. Sure, there are chants and specific breath work that you can add in as you’re interested in doing so, but to begin means just giving your body and mind some space to recognize where you are in this moment. To allow for reflection, peace, and stillness is the goal.
Do you have any goals that you’re working toward currently in your own health, fitness, and yoga routine?
My main “goal” is just to make time to practice daily. I’m in an intensely busy period of time for the moment, so I have a sheet with numbered boxes for every day of the month that I aim to check off by the time I’m ready for bed. It keeps me accountable to my yoga practice and makes sure I don’t skip even when I want to. Whether it’s 15 minutes or 50, I’m getting it in and checking of that box!
Shifting gears, what have been some of your biggest challenges when it came to launching your online business?
How much time do you have? There have been plenty! I’ll spare you though, and just pick two, haha!
I think, for me personally, one of the biggest has been learning how to be firm in my decisions and value my work. There will never be a shortage of people who want to take from you; whether it’s other businesses or clients, there will always be those people will try to diminish what you bring to the table in an effort to get a good deal for themselves. Sometimes that comes in outright asking for something for free, and other times it’s positioned more strategically, so it’s taken a lot of practice and honing my intuition to learn how to identify good decisions and bad ones in this area without operating out of guilt. I’m extremely fortunate to have a business partner (also, conveniently, my fiancé!) who’s savviness in these matters is borderline supernatural, so I’ve been taught by the best!
Secondly, overcoming the fear of what people think of me has been huge, especially in the yoga industry. There’s an endless stream of negative comments that I could immerse myself in if I wanted to, so it’s been a struggle at times to not take these things personally. I’ve come a long way since the beginning, and now I wear blinders to it all. Though that definitely took some time to figure out how to do.
Do you have any tips for people who are interested in starting their own business?
Don’t over think it. Jump in with both feet and don’t be afraid to let some things take you off guard. You won’t know it all at the beginning, but part of the fun is figuring it out along the way. Keep your eyes open, always be curious, and never give up on something you believe in unquestionably.
I like to close each of these interviews by getting a little prophetic. Do you see any trends emerging in the fitness world?
I think there’s finally enough general stuff out there, and now is the time for creative elements to come in to the mix. What I mean is, there’s thousands of resources for how to eat clean, how to do yoga, what to do at the gym, etc— the list goes on forever. I think now is where the creative spirits in these categories will have the opportunity to shine and stand above and away from the crowd of vanilla and show the world some different flavors.