Give Yourself Permission to be Bad: Yoga for Bad People, Upstate New York Retreat
I’ve been out-cooled.
Here I am with my sun kissed skin, decked in the hottest fashion standing with my Tumi suitcase, and Garrett Leight opticals. My California cool-girl vibes hoping to radiate through my old stomping grounds of Upstate New York. When all of a sudden two gorgeous women roll up in their yoga gear, with a relaxed attitude like nothing can, or will, touch them.
I’ve gone and compared myself, just as Heather Lilleston demanded in the first night’s two hour yoga class. She exclaimed, ‘compare yourself to your neighbor!’ Obviously kidding, but this was just a glimpse into the nature of our weekend retreat at Scribner’s Catskill Lodge with Yoga For Bad People.
She called it like it was, we all compare, we all feel as though we’re just not good enough, or perhaps not as cool as the person next to us. Rather than hide it, why not just face it. That is what yoga is all about right?
Accept it, face it, but then turn your mind off from it all and give yourself a moment to breathe.
Heather Lilleston, a firecracker from the hippie town of Bolinas, California, and Katelin Sisson, a badass mamma (literally!) from Rhode Island became friends in New York City during yoga teacher training. Rather than following the traditional path of yoga teaching, they created an unconventional yoga retreat in Brazil, and deemed it Yoga For Bad People.
All retreats are comprised of two hour morning yoga class, which includes thirty minute meditation sessions, brunch, daytime activities and two hours of yoga prior to a family-style dinner.
It’s no joke. It’s an ass-kicking yoga retreat, where headstands are highly encouraged… almost required.
So, where does the ‘bad’ come in, you ask?
Yoga wasn’t so trendy when Lilleston and Sisson began their teaching, it was much more serious and traditional than it is today. They sought out a way to balance the super serious side of yoga, with the lifestyle of a 20-something living in New York City. The result was Yoga For Bad People, which inhabits a practice that is authentically lighthearted.
They give you complete permission to show up hungover, pissed off, or comparing yourself to the super fit yogi practicing next to you. And oh, did I!
There is such a thing as becoming too serious, and as Lilleston explained to us, one of the obstacles in yoga is adhering too strictly to the rules. I could say the same for just about anything in life. The moment we start to take life too seriously is the moment we create competition, judgement, and overall imbalance. This applies to yoga too, a practice that inherently feels serious to begin with.
That’s where Yoga For Bad People comes in. They got your back. They’ll be there to make you smile during practice, to be the boisterous ones in the room, and to force you to be still while Poolside is playing in the background.
It goes without saying, they’ll also have your back when you're comparing yourself to your neighbor.
Yoga for Bad People will be back at Scribner's Catskill Lodge in October. Stay updated with their retreats here!!
This article was written & photographed by Ocelia Hudson & Merritt Spangler