4.8
November 16, 2011

How being a stripper has made me a better yoga instructor. ~ Sarah Gunnin

Photo: lululemon athletica.

I am a better yoga instructor because:

  1. I listen very well. Strippers spend lots of time listening. Really, we do.
  2. I am not afraid to say ‘bowel movement’ in class. For example, instructing students on the benefits of a squatting position. Strippers by profession are not coy.
  3. I am not afraid to touch my students. I used to work at a bar that gave shoulder and scalp massages with a lap dance. I know, great idea, right?  I was giving cranial sacral massages and didn’t even know what it was.
  4. The word ‘no’ only makes me inquire deeper. When I see resistance in my students with a new pose, I allow them time to mull it over and then return with more instruction and praise. As a stripper I would walk around the club floor asking for dances all night, I heard “no” often. I didn’t give up and often the “no” would be a maybe and then a yes.
  5. I really, honestly believe all women are beautiful. I have seen all shapes and sizes, fake boobs, real boobs, voluptuous bodies and small bodies. Women are the shit. I emphasize in my classes that we are all beautiful. One exercise I ask my students to do is stand naked in front of a mirror, close their eyes and then reopen them imagining that they are their lover ready to devour the sexy body in the mirror. Do it yourself, see what happens.
  6. I have kick ass playlists. Music trends are started in strip clubs. Don’t believe me? Go hang out at your local adult entertainment club and check out the DJ and the music they spin. Dub step? First played in strip clubs five years ago.
  7. I am not afraid to laugh at myself in front of my students. The first class I ever taught I fell face first onto the floor instructing crow. I laughed and my class laughed. Being a stripper taught me not to take myself so seriously, I mean come on, I had on 6 inch clear heels and a sequined bikini. That’s comical.
  8. I encourage my students to ‘find out for themselves’ about life, about yoga about whatever they are questioning. So many times I heard wild imaginative stories about strippers and strip clubs. I encouraged people to go to a strip club, find out for themselves what it is like.  It always shocked people when they found out I was a stripper, they responded, “You don’t look (act) like a stripper.”
  9. I do have some awesome yoga clothes. How does this make me a better instructor? It reflects my style of how I teach and the vibe of my class: funky, fun and full of love. Strippers have great wardrobes, both on the stage and off.
  10. I don’t care about making money teaching yoga. I didn’t care about money as a stripper either. I did it for the fun of it.

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Sarah teaches yoga in Tennessee with Manifest Collective. She wants my students to become warriors for peace and love. Sarah loves being a part of Elephant Journal. Love yourself and trust the universe. 

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