Jivana Heyman 14:42:35
Hi everyone, its Jivana I just want to come on for a moment and thank our sponsor Offering Tree. They're an all in one easy to use community backed business that saves you time, energy and money as a Yoga teacher. Offering Tree allows you to create a website in less than 30 minutes. Plus you get a discount through Accessible Yoga. Just go to offering tree.com/accessibleyoga to get your discount today. Okay, here's our episode.
Tristan Katz 14:43:06
Hi, my name is Tristan Katz. My pronouns are they and sometimes he is a member of the Board of Directors at the Accessible Yoga Association for the last several years and a lover of podcasts, in general. I'm honored to be taking over The Love of Yoga Podcast for Anjali Rao this summer. For those who aren't familiar with me and my work. I'm a digital strategist and equity inclusion facilitator specializing in marketing through a justice and equity lens, and Trans competency training and consulting. I am a writer and editor, a dog parent, and a longtime practitioner of Yoga. I began studying Yoga in 2000, over 20 years ago now, and I've since taken countless trainings, and I taught Yoga myself in outreach settings for several years. Over the course of our upcoming episodes, I'll be hosting conversations with a variety of special guests, some Yoga teachers and practitioners and some not. And I'm looking forward to sharing these discussions with you as we explore topics such as social change in Yoga, decolonizing, fitness, embodiment and consent, parenting and Yoga and so much more. Anjali Rao will be back this fall to resume for radical work on the podcast. Stay tuned for her much awaited return. And without further ado, here's our latest episode.
Hi, everyone, welcome back. Guest, would you like to introduce yourself?
Riss Giammalva 14:44:32
Sure. Hi, my name is Riss. Riss, like Chris. My pronouns are they and them. I am calling in from the land of the Anishinabewaki people, which is also known as Detroit-ish, Michigan. I am a digital storyteller, a communications and marketing specialist, a joyful movement enthusiast, and a future skeleton. I'm also white, fat, Queer, non-binary, neurodiverse, and super goofy. In the world of marketing, I'm helping folks find more ease in that practice and teaching them more accessible ways to do the work that they do in the world. So really the dream is to help folks talk about their grand ideas in ways that feel inclusive and accessible for the rest of the world. Outside of that, I also am a air quote, "Yoga teacher", I have mixed feelings about what that means for me. But you'll catch me on the internet teaching folks how to do or how to practice in a more accessible way, for particularly folks that we don't always see in the Yoga room. So all my Queer, fat, Trans, disabled, elderly folks. And yeah, all of that is kind of done in the in the idea of collective liberation and anti bullshit and naming the things that no one else wants to name. I'm also (something that I need to get used to talking about) is that I'm also in the practice or teachings of becoming an American Sign Language interpreter. So all of that aside, and most importantly, I'm just happy to be here.
Tristan Katz 14:46:44
Happy to have you here. Thank you for that introduction. I want to start this conversation by asking you to share a little bit about how you came to Yoga and how you came to doing the work that you do as a marketing communications strategist.
Riss Giammalva 14:47:03
Good question, the journey. Yes. So Yoga is something that I have touched and then left and then touched and then left. Like any good practice, like it's been there, and I've gone to it and I've left it for a while. And, you know, this is always wild to talk about and I forget sometimes, but initially, I came to Yoga for weight loss and if you follow me now on the internet, you're like, what? How? But I was under the impression that I needed to change the way that I looked. And so Yoga was, Yoga was the way for a long time. And I was dating someone who was doing like 30 Days of Yoga online. And I was like, we could do it together. And so we did. And then I stopped. And I was like, that was cool. And then a few months later, I was in college at the time, and I needed one credit to graduate. And so I took a Yoga class over the weekend. And that was fine and lovely. And I was like, Oh, I feel so much better when I do this, I'm gonna keep doing this. Dear listener, I did not keep doing Yoga. No, no, I did it for a weekend. And I didn't do it again, for several years. And then our good old year of the spaghetti monster 2020 rolled around. And I found myself working from home and incredibly anxious about the state of the world. And pretty much chained to my desk at that point. I was working in corporate America, and breaks were far and few, because they meant that the more time away from my desk, the more disaster would unfold in the time that I was away. So I told myself, okay, they say, I don't know if you remember this Tristan, they say the pandemic is gonna be over in two weeks. I think that I can do Yoga for two weeks, just two weeks, that's all I'm committing to. And then when it's over, the pandemic will be over, I'll have done some Yoga, and my brain maybe will be "better," right, big air quotes. We all know how that story ended, at least half of it. The part where COVID is still a thing that exists in the world and is wrecking many communities still. But what also happened is that I kept doing Yoga, I did Yoga for like two weeks, I practiced every day for two weeks, and two weeks became four weeks and four weeks became six weeks and six weeks became 100 days and 100 days became 200 days and 200 days became 500 days. And I stopped counting at some point. But in the time between about 200 days and 500 days, I realized that practicing in my bedroom was only getting me so far. And so I decided to start practicing outside at a yokel, at a yokel? At a local, excuse me, at a local Yoga studio. And found some community there that benefited me for a time and was very lucky to be ushered slash sponsored into a Yoga teacher training that was led at the studio. And I was so excited to be there. But as the training unfolded over the next six months, I very quickly learnt that Yoga teacher trainings are kind of silly, at least the Western version of a Yoga teacher training, because they teach you how to teach to other teachers that look like teachers, right? So thin, white, mostly feminine folks, affluent folks who can afford the best Yoga clothes and Yoga mats. And very quickly, I found myself in a strange place where I had to teach myself how to do all of the asana and all the other eight limb paths that didn't look like what was being taught to me. And so that is, I think, where the practice actually started. And now I don't practice every day, at least not the physical piece, but I'm learning all the other ways that that life is Yoga, and kind of letting it guide me that way. So that's how I got to the Yoga, the marketing, which I think is what you asked me right?
Tristan Katz 14:52:22
I did but now I'm like, I have a follow up question to the Yoga part before we get into the marketing part. At what point do you feel like it like when did it stop becoming a weight loss? Like what was that part like?
Riss Giammalva 14:52:35
Oh, yeah, so it's so funny because so much of the work that I do now is on Instagram, right? But my Instagram initially was a weight loss account where I would follow other people losing weight, which like top of this call, we should probably just put it up there big old concerns about weight loss. But I was following other people and I was sharing with the world of Instagram, the things I was eating and not eating and the weight that I was losing and photos of myself where I thought I looked different, before and afters, the whole thing. And that was like fuel to the fire, right, there was something happening, where the world outside my window was telling me, because I am fat, because I am all of these things, I'm also not desirable. And so that pushed me online. And then the cycle of seeing other people in the same practice of practice or, like uphill, awful battle of trying to lose weight, that kind of all compressed itself. And I was reading, which I wish I could remember the book now, but someone had suggested that I start mixing up my feed. And they were like, maybe start finding people who look a little more like you. That way, the change is not so aggressive, right? You're not going from like a larger bodied person to a smaller bodied person. It was like a weird thing. Like maybe it's more achievable if you're a small fat, kind of fat, fat. And anywho over time, as I started to find other folks who looked closer to my body type, doing all kinds of badass things in the world, the little whisper in the back of my head that was like you are not XY and Z, worthy, desirable, the list goes on. You know, it got quieter, that the piece of my brain that was telling me all those things got quieter, because I was watching all these other incredible non typical folks do really badass things. And I was like, Okay, well, if they can do it, maybe I can do it. And if that means that I have to fake it till I make it, like, that's what we're gonna do. And at some point, I just had to believe that was true. And the only way I could do that was by talking about it, right? And so talking about other folks that were on a similar journey. I had lived my life, like, neck down forever. That's really tied up in gender that's really tied up in body size and ability. And Yoga was the first time where I had to face that, right? I couldn't just be like, head up, I couldn't be head in the clouds. I really had to sit with the body that I have. And I just decided one day, that sounds silly to like, did you decide one day that you just weren't going to do that anymore? But yeah, like one day, I think I just said like, I'm done. I'm done fighting this war. Like, this is the only body that I have for now. And I don't want to be X years older than I am now and still hate me. Because I have watched that happen in my family for my entire life. You know? So.
I wonder if the Yoga was working? You know what I mean?
Believe it or not! Yeah, I think it was. I totally think it was, right, I think it was seeping in. I think I was seeing other teachers that looked like me I was I was able to look inward a little more. It was less about what I looked like and more about what it felt like to be in connection with my body. And, you know, I mentioned there was so much anxiety at the beginning of the pandemic and I think starting to practice Yoga was the first time that I like actually was able to like breathe and feel into what this body even felt like, like what it felt like and that when other people were telling me that it was and that was just like a whole thing. Overwhelming absa-fuckin-lutely, but a whole thing. And the Yoga was working and the yoga still works.
Tristan Katz 14:57:39
And at some point, you went back and I'm assuming deleted all the previous content. So. So this leads us into the marketing conversation maybe. Like, first of all, tell me how you came to do the marketing and comms work that you do. And then I want to talk about like, that moment where you were like, am I going to delete all this? And and what that was like, too, but tell me about how you got into the marketing work first.
Riss Giammalva 14:58:09
Oooh, I just want to take a moment? Because that gave me little chilly chills all over my body. Yeah.
Tristan Katz 14:58:22
Or if you want to start there, that's fine. If that's what's calling you in this moment.
Riss Giammalva 14:58:26
Yeah, I think I want to start there. The way that my heart is racing is telling me to start there. I don't know that anyone's ever asked me that question in all this time.
Tristan Katz 14:58:40
Riss Giammalva 14:58:46
So, I didn't delete it. It's all just archived. It still lives in the background of Instagram. But my account kind of made this transformation where it went from, this is what I'm eating, not eating. This is what I weigh this week. This is the things that I'm doing to keep "in check." Big, big, big quotes around what in check even means. And then it went to I'm looking for more people who are having the same experience or something similar to me in Yoga, and it was very Yoga heavy account, right? I was recording myself, I was watching my body be in motion. And when that transformation started, right, I went from my first, I don't know if you know this, my first handle on this account was fat2fit. F.A.T, number two F.I.T. Yes, yes. Ooh, wild times. I thought it was great. It was catchy. It was kitschy. I was using my little marketing skills, anyway, transformed into that that daily Yoga practice diary. And I just wanted a cleaner state. State. Cleaner slate, excuse me. Like if I was really going to believe the things that I was learning in my Yoga practice, I needed to not see those other things. And so I just started archiving things. And so I think if you go back, one of the first posts on that page is me admitting to many, many years of disordered eating. And just like putting that out there on the internet, that like being fat wasn't a wasn't an issue. And that I was tired of that. And that the way that things were happening on that account were going to change. That was like the big announcement. And then there's about 300 posts about Yoga after that. And everything else was archived. And so this kind of leads into your question about marketing. I was doing the daily Yoga posting thing. Again, it was not so much about who would see it, it was more about needing to see my brain or needing to see my body moving. Like almost detach from me to then be able to come back to it and find that community. Like I was just looking for other people in the pandemic times that had this non traditional experience. And what I found was this desire, in that attempt to make community, was to like show up and be silly and be someone who could share resources and really just be myself in a way that I hadn't been able to be before. And a larger part of that was, what I'm trained in and what I've been...what I've been in pursuit of most of my life. And that is this desire to listen to stories from other people and help them tell their stories and help them communicate whatever those things are on a grand plan. And so whether that looks like helping them create graphic for something or giving them a boost, like, that was what I also wanted to do. So it was this opportunity to kind of merge a more authentic version of myself who was a work in progress, and still is, and not take it all so seriously.
Tristan Katz 15:03:14
Riss Giammalva 15:03:15
And that's kind of where I ended up. And then I met some folks like you who were like, "Hey, you're, you're, you're good at this thing that you're doing, maybe do more of it." And I started taking that that marketing piece of it more seriously, because I realized there were other folks in the world that also saw marketing as a relationship and not a transaction. And that was reassuring, just like everything else, that I was kind of on the right path. So, we went from fat2fit to spookiyogi. If you were, if you're here, and you knew that account. Hi. And also, I'm sorry. And then I realized the problematic things of are the thoughts and feelings I had around the word Yogi, and transformed again, into a more well rounded, spookiservices, which is where you can find me on the interwebs now. So that's that story. Boring, I have like a fancy piece of paper that says, I know how to do this, I went to school for it. But it's kind of always been something that I have had a strong desire towards. Art and storytelling as a child. So.
Tristan Katz 15:04:38
Thank you. I just was writing this week. For those of you who don't know me, I do marketing work in my business. And, and started my work, primarily supporting Yoga teachers with marketing, support, and services and consulting. And so that is part of how I mean, it's kind of how Riss and I connected.
Riss Giammalva 15:05:02
That's a different story for a different day.
Tristan Katz 15:05:05
But we do have similar interests and passions, and it is one of one of the things that we share in our friendship, and colleagueship. And I've been thinking a lot about how marketing is storytelling. If we don't, that's not I don't feel like marketing is so many things. And I don't feel like, those of us who are listening to the like dominant narratives in the marketing space might not hear this. But I feel that among all of the things that marketing can be one of those things is storytelling. Absolutely. And I think that that yeah, that is something that you said at the top of the episode, when you introduced yourself, it's something you refer to regularly when you talk about your work. I also think that you, I also heard you say marketing is about relationships, not transactions, again, not something that we're taught in the dominant marketing narrative. And it's about having the ability to tell the story visually too. I wonder how else you might define marketing in the like countercultural ways that you and I conceptualize of it? Are there other ways that you would describe or define marketing?
Riss Giammalva 15:06:17
The word that is like, right here at the tip of my tongue is like a, quote, 'co-creation." You know, the idea that you have something really badass and cool that you want to get out in the world, and that's great. But if you don't tell anyone that you're doing that really badass and cool thing, guess what? It's not gonna happen. It's literally not gonna happen. No one's gonna be there. Crickets in the room. And it's awkward. It is awkward as hell to promote yourself. Let me just put that, like this whole thing we're doing right now, what is it even doing what is happening? Being on the Internet, what is that about? But, if you're not talking about what you're doing, no one is going to know what you're doing. And a lot of y'all are doing really cool things. And so, marketing is the idea of visual storytelling and cocreating those spaces that you want to be in, right? It's also a consent thing. It's like this is what you can expect at x, right? It is, here's all the details, so now you know. And there's no questions about what you may or may not walk away with from said thing. So I would say those two come to mind first. I'm sure there's others, but what I can talk about is what dominant culture wants it to be. Sometimes it's easier to talk about that than what it isn't. Man, it's all about just money and manipulation. Right? Like, how do you get people to buy the thing that you're doing? And what fallacies or exclusions are you going to stack on top of each other to make it seem like it's worth their while? It's all about like, what can I do for you? And what can you give me for me to do that thing for you? And that power structure feels like something I don't want to engage in anymore. So everything that is the opposite of that? Whatever that sounds like, is, is what I'm interested in. And I think that's the beauty of where we're at is that we get to decide what it looks like and what it means. And I think that when I started queering my gender, I was able to start querying all the other parts of my life. That included the work that I do and how I do the work that I do. So yeah, yeah, that's a whole different chat. But I think that comes from that for sure.
Tristan Katz 15:09:11
So okay, so you've been trained as someone who, I mean, like your, your, your academic training prepared you to be a person on the internet, right, or at least to help other people who are on the internet.
Riss Giammalva 15:09:28
Person on the internet!
Tristan Katz 15:09:29
Yeah. And you're of an age in which it's more part of the like, normal day to day experience to be a person on the internet, given that you've grown up with the cell phone in a way that I did, and also didn't? And, and yet, I hear you saying that it's awkward. So I want to, yeah, I want you to talk about that. Because I think so much, especially for Yoga teachers. And by the way, Yoga teachers, a lot of this, like, what I hear underlying this conversation, too, is the role of social media marketing, which I know you and I talk about a lot. First of all, I just want to say that, like, it's where people are spending their time. So it makes sense that we would also spend our time sharing about our work in that space, because it's where people are, and we need to be where the people are so that they can hear us or see us or, you know, understand what we're offering to Riss's point. If you don't talk about it, then nobody's going to know that you're doing it. So you want to talk about it, where the people are hearing or listening or watching.
Riss Giammalva 15:10:26
I'm just thinking about Ariel, "I want to be where the people are." Literally, that's playing in my head right now, in case anyone needed to know. I won't sing on this podcast.
Tristan Katz 15:10:35
Oh but you just did.
Riss Giammalva 15:10:39
Touche. Sorry continue.
Tristan Katz 15:10:40
Um, but I want you to talk about the awkward part because I know this means like if we have to (we don't have to none of this is have to do or should or must).
Riss Giammalva 15:10:48
No it's an invitation, of course.
Tristan Katz 15:10:50
Showing up on the internet is not an easy thing. I think it's easy to look at someone like you or someone like me and think that it's not hard or awkward and one of the things I always say is that it is always hard and awkward. So I want you to speak to that.
Riss Giammalva 15:11:04
The folks listening to this can't see my face but the face I just made when when you said folks like you who make it look easy. No.
Tristan Katz 15:11:16
Riss Giammalva 15:11:16
I mean, I believe you. I'm working on believing people when they tell me things. That's a conversation for later. But no, it's not easy. It's not, nothing is easy, unfortunately. Very few things have been easy. Of course, I have plenty of privilege. There are things that come easier to me that is true. But a lot of things are not easy. Except this one thing. Okay. The one thing is that I do not know how to be inauthentic.
Tristan Katz 15:11:58
Riss Giammalva 15:12:00
I do not know how to be inauthentic. It is a chronic issue that I have in which I, like, spent so much of my life hiding that I don't know how to do it anymore. And so maybe that's why it comes easy is because I just show up however I am and I try to make it relatable or maybe it's not relatable and that's like part of the bit too, is like maybe you don't relate to this, and that's fine. But if there's a fraction of you that does, maybe you're listening, and maybe maybe you feel a little less alone, and like you also have the ability to be more yourself. Now, that's the heady answer. The technical answer is, yeah, the internet's wild. For the time of this recording, I am 25 and a half years old, which means that I have been on the internet, most of my life, more than half of my life. And I grew up in the age where I was told that the internet was a scary place, and that I shouldn't trust anyone that I meet there. And that I shouldn't expose parts of myself there because they live there forever, and are unchanging. And everything that I've learned in the last three years is, isn't necessarily as true as people would like me to believe it to be. And I've only been able to learn that and make the connections that I've made, because I've shown up in the most authentic way that I know how. And maybe you're listening, and you're like, cool, but what do I do, because I don't know how to do that right now? That's okay. I didn't always know how to do this either. I just told you my whole journey about where I started on the internet, like no. Find what it means to find what you want to talk about. And maybe you like reverse engineer and you talk about the things that other people are not talking about. But find something that you truly believe in. And then make everything that you do about that thing. You can make it funny, you can make it serious, as long as your through line is true. Your people will find you. And use it how you want to use it. The benefit to these platforms that we're using is that there's so many different ways that you can engage folks. And there's so many different ways that folks learn. And so if you find the right thing for you, then it won't feel maybe like so much work or so hard. And so for me, I love to make like a very short Instagram reel that feels relatable. And then I'm done. Other people would rather write a story in a caption and share a photo of someone that they love. And tell a story that connects back to the work that they're doing. Both of those are valid, you just have to find the path that makes the most sense. Hopefully that answers your question. I got a little lost. But...
Tristan Katz 15:15:42
No, it was great.
Jivana Heyman 15:15:46
Hi, everyone, I just want to pop in here really quick and remind you about our sponsor Offering Tree. As Yoga teachers, we are our own business managers, website designers and producers. It's a lot. And Offering Tree offers an all in one platform that makes it easy to succeed while we're doing all the things. And I just like to say that through this partnership with The Love of Yoga Podcast, Offering Tree has shown that it's committed to supporting accessibility and equity in the Yoga world. Offering Tree is a public benefit corporation and they're driven by a mission of wellness accessibility, which we share with them at Accessible Yoga. As an Offering Tree user, you'll get to join a supportive educational community and you'll also get free webinars with top experts in wellness and entrepreneurship. And of course, you get a discount. So go to offeringtree.com/accessibleyoga to learn more, and to get your discount. Okay, let's go back to the episode.
Tristan Katz 15:16:45
I don't know why. But I feel compelled to ask if you know or can imagine and estimate, do you think, what is the longest you've spent on one piece of content? And the next question is and what, do you have any practices now around like, containing how much time you spend on content creation?
Riss Giammalva 15:17:10
Oh my gosh, it would be so easy to only do that and be stuck in getting things perfect. That's been a big part of this journey is doing it anyway even though it's not perfect. Because if I waited until I was a perfect person or I knew all the things, then everything that I've done the last three years would not exist. So you kind of just have to let that go. You have to find it somewhere in you to be like, perfection is not what I'm seeking, because perfection is tied to other core values that I don't, that I can't let go of. Right? And what I mean is like, perfection is tied to white supremacy and white supremacy is not the thing that I am engaging with anymore. That's the thing on perfection. And I only came to that conclusion after I spent a ton of time trying to be perfect, working on the same shit, and deleting things and uploading things. And gosh, thank God, you can edit captions now. Because I don't proofread for anything anymore. But in the before times, hours, hours trying to make something look beautiful. And like, I'm supposed to be good at this. Like, this is supposed to be my job. And I would spend forever working on stuff. I mean, there have been text posts and reels, mostly that live on Instagram (if you're there, say hi, if you're not, that's fine. I get it.)...just hours trying to like get the lip sync right. Or like get the text to appear properly or, like, say something that matters and is like edgy. Forever, Tristan, literally forever. Literally, I've spent just hours until the phone dies. And then I'm like, alright, well, I guess I'm done for today because the phone died. So yeah, I've spent, I've spent a long time. And I am learning to detach from that. Because it goes back to showing up right? Like I don't want to show up perfect. I'm not asking anyone else to show up perfect. And so that also means that my work isn't perfect. And I don't think that anyone should wait till their work is perfect. To work.
Tristan Katz 15:19:55
To share it with the world, yeah.
Riss Giammalva 15:19:57
Yeah, no way! It's never it's never gonna be. In case you're listening, in case you need to know, it's never going to be perfect. And it's worthy of sharing anyway. And I kept telling other people that. I'm pretty sure I told you that. And I wasn't telling myself that. And I was like, huh, that's weird. It's kind of like all those times when you would say something like, it's cool if you're fat, but I could never be fat. Or it's cool if you are learning to live with your disability. But I can't admit to that. Right? Similar pattern, right? Like, it's fine for you. It's not fine for me. And at some point, I had to be like, hey, Riss, you're not special. You don't get to like, be special and not apply to those rules. Not that I'm not special. I'm sure I'm a fine person. I'm lovely. But what I mean is like, those things don't get to not apply to me. Right? And so if I'm going to practice what I'm preaching, hello, I can't wait for it to be perfect.
Tristan Katz 15:21:04
I'm thinking so much, though, because I have that too. I have the it's cool if you're Queer, but not me. I heard that one really early on and heard it for a really long time. I mean, heard it in my own brain, to be clear. And I am wondering in this moment, like the role of internalized oppression, in the experience or process of putting ourselves out there on the internet, and how some of us, depending on our identities, are told that we deserve to take up that space, or that our voices matter, or that our even our images should be seen, like pictures of ourselves pictures of our family, right? Like we're internalizing these messages that like we deserve to take up that space, depending on our identities, and then some of us, and again intersectionality is the thing. And so some of us are getting mixed messages all the time. Like as a white person, I'm told, Yoga is for me, on some level in the West. I'm also told that as a small person, like as a slim bodied person, Yoga is for me. But as a Trans person, as a Queer person, as a Jewish person, the list goes on. Not only is like Yoga, maybe not for me, but I'm not represented. And then on top of that, I'm told that I shouldn't be taking up space because I don't deserve to exist as a Trans person. And so I'm really thinking about how internalized oppression or oppression that's not even internalized, but also the role when we do internalize it and how that might come up when we're thinking about marketing ourselves and our work and like the journey you've been on around that.
Riss Giammalva 15:22:41
Tristan Katz 15:22:44
Like you. We, you, I'm assuming have had to overcome different challenges, obstacles, ways in which you've internalized harm. In order for you to share yourself, and know that you deserve to.
Riss Giammalva 15:23:00
Oh, there's there's a lot there. That's like two therapy sessions of what do I deserve? And why do I feel like I don't? Right? Yeah. Yeah. I could talk about it forever. But I guess I'll talk about the antidote, which was seeing other people that looked like me doing things. That was like, that was where the shift started for me. It's like, I'm not alone in this. And if I can be that person for someone else, then it's worth it. Even if like, I want to throw up every time I post something on the internet, or like I post it and run. I call it a good old post and run where you hit go and then you close the app and you put your phone away. Even if I want to throw up every time I have to do that. There's always that that hope that like somebody will see it and it will be what they need. And maybe it's selfish in that way. But it'll be what they need, so that they know that they can also do whatever they want to do, despite all of the other loud outside forces, you know, of oppression and otherwise. Because man, they're so loud. So loud.
Tristan Katz 15:24:39
Yeah. And I also wonder if it sounds like part of what I might be maybe hearing you say, too, is, it's not just for someone else to see, you yourself have experienced a form of healing and seeing others. And on some level are experiencing, I'm imagining, a form of healing in sharing your voice. Sometimes I think that social media is kind of magical. And go with me, because that's a big statement.
Riss Giammalva 15:25:08
We're going. Hold on, let me buckle in. Go ahead.
Tristan Katz 15:25:10
When we put something out there, it can be like a spell. It can be like a calling in of something. It can be like a manifestation. I'm not using that word in a bypassy gross way. But I'm talking about like, creating the world we want to live in and doing it through our small actions, even when it comes to like, pressing post on Instagram. Like, how are we healing individually and collectively in what we share? Like, what if this is contributing? I think it does. It's certainly look, Instagram is a mess. Social media is a mess. And it has also been a part of my own healing journey.
Riss Giammalva 15:25:50
Totally. Totally, yeah, I...it sounds so silly to say that, that an application on my cell phone built by some white dude in Silicon Valley that I don't have very fond feelings for, has changed my life. That feels gross and weird to say. And it's not untrue. It has given me the opportunity to find a voice that I didn't know that I had. I stopped talking a long time ago, when I realized that folks didn't actually want to hear what I had to say. They would ask but not actually wait to hear the answer. And so I stopped talking about things that I cared about about myself about the way that I envisioned the world could be or would be or I would like it to be. And through the practice of Yoga, which ultimately led me to sharing that my own practice with the world, which ultimately led me to finding other folks like me, which ultimately led me to where I am now, which is teaching folks those practices and helping folks share their own stories. You know, it seems silly and it's so part of this journey, like, I was able to decide in a pandemic, what mattered to me and didn't matter or to me, and then share it and get really clear about what those things were. And I was able to see myself in the world. So every time we do something that's really scary, whether it's like, today in America walking down the street or like, and some more for others, of course, but whether that's, you know, trying to live your truth on the outside world, or maybe taking a step back and doing that in smaller ways. I used to refer to this as, I actually won't share that, what I will say is (I was going to talk about my my micro dosing, disappointment phase, but I'm gonna leave it, leave it there for folks, Tristan knows all about that.) But what I will say is, it's a practice of showing up, like Yoga is a practice of showing up, doing scary shit is not like scary, shit just doesn't get done, you have to do it. And you have to like kind of test your threshold on how much you're willing to give in or challenge. And for me, this whole practice of marketing and marketing myself. And my values has been a practice in doing scary shit. And if I think about it like that, it's a little bit less scary, because that means it doesn't have to be perfect. That means it'll be there when I'm ready to return to it. That means that I get to do it. However I want to do it. And those are kind of the guiding principles, right? You're smiling, why are you smiling?
Tristan Katz 15:29:35
Riss Giammalva 15:29:36
You have a lovely smile.
Tristan Katz 15:29:38
Oh, thank you. Because I kind of want to ask, I'm feeling compelled to ask a question, and I'm not sure how much you want to explore it. And I want to be sensitive to our time.
Riss Giammalva 15:29:48
Mm, good old time.
Tristan Katz 15:29:50
And I'm asking this for very personal, selfish reasons. And also, because it's something that we I don't know that we've really talked about it. We're good friends. For those who are listening.
Riss Giammalva 15:30:03
You and I?
Tristan Katz 15:30:04
Yes, you and I.
Riss Giammalva 15:30:05
Tristan Katz 15:30:11
In case that wasn't clear!
Riss Giammalva 15:30:11
I'll literally see you next week. I'm not even worried. Um, yeah, what's your question? This is fun! .
Tristan Katz 15:30:17
Okay, good, I'm glad you're having fun!
Riss Giammalva 15:30:18
I'm so scared.
Tristan Katz 15:30:20
This is this feels a little like a scary question. What is it like? I'm trying to think about how to word this. Let me let me speak from the I, and that'll be my way in. I really wrestle with this moment we're in with anti Queer anti Trans legislation, and that I feel relatively safe. Whatever safety means, being an out and visible Trans person on the internet. But when it comes time to move through the actual (not, excuse me, I'm aware that that reality is happening online, just as it's happening offline. I don't mean to say that one is more real than another. Because I think that's dismissive of a lot of folks experiences.) But I, I find that when I moved through the world off the internet, I feel less comfortable being a visible Trans person, whatever the hell that means. And I was wondering how you feel, given your identities, your body, the identities you're carrying in your body, and how the world interacts with you and your identities and your body? Do you feel something similar about what it's like to be on the internet versus in the world off the internet?
Riss Giammalva 15:31:36
I'm shaking my head at you, no.
Tristan Katz 15:31:38
Riss Giammalva 15:31:38
I don't. I feel the opposite.
Tristan Katz 15:31:40
Say more. Yeah.
Riss Giammalva 15:31:42
I...the internet has been a test run for me. And so I've been able to like dip my toe into claiming parts of my identity and getting really comfortable with them in an online sense, and even naming them to my online community before I've named them in real life. And what that's done for me is that when someone wants to challenge me on that, or doesn't understand those identities, whether it's my queerness, my fatness, my transness, my neurodiverseness, whatever it may be. I already know. I already know it to be true, and I've already practiced standing in it somewhere else. And so then when I go out in the world, I've already I've already done this, I already know. And what I mean by that is like, I got really comfortable with the way that I looked on the internet first. So now I can, like wear the shorts, and eat the ice cream. And like, do all the things out there. Because those people are always gonna think what they think. And maybe they won't. But until they get on board, I know there are other people in the world that think like me. That's confirmation bias, right? There are other people in the world that think like me, so you can't be the only one that thinks that way. And my fatness, and my queerness. And my transness. Right. In my, in my newfound neurodiverse, ADHD, autistic brain, right, like naming all those things first, in what I would consider a container, that is safe. I have been very lucky. I have not gotten a lot of shit on the internet. I haven't. I know plenty of people that have, I have not been one of those people. And so it's been easy for me to continue to discover parts of myself and name them there before I named them in the world.
Tristan Katz 15:34:10
It's bolstered your experience of moving through the world.
Riss Giammalva 15:34:13
Yeah. Yeah, it has, which is, so I'm glad you asked that question. And it wasn't a scary as I thought it would be. But yeah, it's bolstered my experience, because I already know that all of these things are okay. And that there are people that will see me. And maybe they're not the people that are currently walking up and down my street, because there's an art fair happening outside. And maybe it's not my family that live two miles away. But I know there are other people who see me. And so it's just a practice of showing up, being uncomfortable, seeing what happens, so that the next time I do it, it's not as scary.
Tristan Katz 15:35:12
Mm hmm. Are there any things, like as we move towards wrapping up, any things you want to offer Yoga teachers, listeners, I'm assuming most people listening are either practitioners or teachers of Yoga. Anything you want to offer them? Like if you could offer them one piece of advice about marketing that, like related to things you've said or haven't said, or anything you want to say, like final takeaways, reflections, or anything you haven't said that you want to say. Take your time, you can pause if you need to pause.
Riss Giammalva 15:35:56
I feel like I've said so much. And what I'll preface it with is all of this is a suggestion. If you turned this on, and you were like what in the world is this person from Detroit-ish talking about? Who do they think they are? Listen, I'm just some guy trying my best. Okay. But if there's something here that speaks to you, that's great. That's all I'm trying to do, is find people that think the way that I think and that's not so that I have blinders on. Right? I'm aware of the world is bigger than me. And there are other forces. But I'm, I'm hoping that folks get something from it. And what I will say is, if you are someone who practices Yoga, do yourself a favor, and go learn from other teachers that are not you or folks that look like you, or folks that think like you, or folks that talk like you, or folks that move through the world like you. That is the greatest gift, is to get the perspective from folks that are not like you. So if you practice anything, learn it from many different kinds of folks. That's what I'll say about if you practice Yoga, if you practice anything, right? The other thing that I'll say is marketing doesn't have to be spooky or scary. And, um folks need whatever work you're putting out into the world that will be medicine for someone. And just reiterating the fact that we can't, we, as people who can learn from you, can't wait till you have it perfect. I would so much rather see more people showing up imperfectly than never showing up. So if you need the nudge to go do the thing. Hopefully this can be this can be that. But I don't think I have anything else. I feel like I just been just been going, going, going.
Tristan Katz 15:38:31
Thank you for going and going. Yeah, I really, really appreciated this conversation. So thank you for coming, Riss.
Riss Giammalva 15:38:38
Hey, thank you for having me. I appreciate you big time. And I'm so grateful for all the tiny zoom rooms that you and I have been in over the last four years, three years, whatever it's been,
Tristan Katz 15:38:52
We've been in a lot of little zoom rooms, haven't we. Some bigger than others.
Riss Giammalva 15:38:57
Some bigger than others. Yeah. But I'm grateful for for all the ways that you show up in the world. And it's folks like you that helped me keep doing the same.
Tristan Katz 15:39:06
Jivana Heyman 15:39:09
We want to thank all of our Accessible Yoga Ambassadors, and especially our Accessible Yoga Supporting Organizations. This week, we want to thank one of them, The Bella Prana Collective. They have over 90 classes a week and a renowned teacher training program. Accessibility is core to who they are. So you can join their 200 hour training virtually for only $795. They say, just come as you are. So please visit them at their website, bellaprana.com, to find out more. Thanks again
Tristan Katz 15:39:49
Thanks so much for listening to the show. Please be sure to subscribe, rate, and review wherever you're listening and we'll look forward to joining you again soon for our next conversation.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai