The ‘fat’ in our name is an aesthetic description for some of us, but not for all. We all have something in our physical appearance, or temperament, or personality, or lifestyle that leaves us feeling insecure, or inferior, or discontent. The more we investigate it the more we realize that those are human experiences that connect us all. And yet we tend to feel isolated in our suffering, we tend to keep our mess and our ugliness hidden under shame, while we over-share our perfect selfies and quotes.
The same happens in the yoga world; it seems to be a place of only beautiful, skinny, harmonious people who have it all figured out, when in reality it is our daily struggles that make us warriors and our determination to face our darkness that makes us yogis. So the fat in our name is our way of owning everything that we are, the light and the dark, and approach that with compassion and kindness, so we can become compassionate and kind towards others as well.
We (Anat Geiger and Marcel van de Vis Heil) teach yoga from a functional rather than an aesthetic approach: we are more concerned with what a pose is doing for you than with how pretty the pose looks. After studying alignment for many years we started studying with Paul and Suzee Grilley, who showed us that there is immense variation in people’s anatomies. This means that not all poses will look or feel the same for all people. Yoga practice is supposed to bring us in contact with ourselves, as all challenges we meet outside the mat will show up on the mat as well. A good, healthy physical yoga practice should support our efforts in being the best versions of ourselves instead of generating the stress of becoming someone we cannot be.
In our classes we put together everything we know: our background as performers, dancers, communicators, personal trainers, meditators, amateur philosophers and yogis. That’s why we do not try to give fancy names for what we do. It’s simply yin, yang or a combination of both. A fundamental aspect of yoga is the concept of union, of bringing together. Every time we come up with a new name or style we are saying: “this is different from that,” “this is better than that”. We want to see if we can put things back together again. The Tao Te Ching, an ancient book on Taoism says: the one creates the two, the two creates the three and the three creates the ten thousand things. From union comes the original pair of opposites, yin and yang. The third element is the space between them. It is in the dance between these three elements that all things in this universe come to being. That’s what we do, we teach the yin, the yang and everything in between them, from the toughest workout to the quietest meditation. It’s all here.