Queer and Trans Yoga Workshop

Saturday, January 30 // 1:30 – 3:30 PM
The Studio Cleveland
 // 1395 W. 10th Street, Suite 120 (East Bank of the Flats)

From the Supreme Court marriage equality ruling to the emergence of gender-neutral public restrooms, our country has taken great strides in recent months to confront issues of LGBTQ oppression. But there’s still work to be done.

Much of this work must happen at the individual and interpersonal levels. Indeed, only when we recognize and deconstruct our own biases can we work to eliminate the inequalities of our institutions, communities, and societies.

For some, this deeply personal work can happen in the yoga studio. That’s why I invite you to join my colleague and friend, Jacoby Ballard, E-RYT 500, who will host a Queer and Trans Yoga Workshop this weekend in Cleveland.

What You’ll Learn

  • Perspectives in LGBTQ issues, including an analysis of grief and isolation
  • Understanding the role of compassion in the healing process
  • Methods to integrate yogic postures, meditation, and somatic work toward healing and inclusivity

Join Us

About the Instructor

Jacoby Ballard, E-RYT 500, is a yoga teacher based in Upstate New York with over 17 years of teaching experience. He has taught Queer and Trans Yoga for over ten years in the form of weekly classes, workshops, conference presentations, and annual retreats. He is a faculty member at Off the Mat Into the World, serves on the Advisory Board of the Yoga Service Council, and in 2015 was lauded as a “Game Changer” by Seane Corn and Yoga Journal.


W.S. Merwin

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
standing by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on the stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with animals dying around us
taking our feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
thank you we are saying and waving
dark though it is

Picking Blueberries, Austerlitz, New York, 1957

Mary Oliver

Once, in summer,
in the blueberries,
I fell asleep, and woke
when a deer stumbled against me.

I guess
she was so busy with her own happiness
she had grown careless
and was just wandering along

to the wind as she leaned down
to lip up the sweetness.
So, there we were

with nothing between us
but a few leaves, and wind’s
glossy voice
shouting instructions.

The deer
backed away finally
and flung up her white tail
and went floating off toward the trees–

but the moment she did that
was so wide and so deep
it has lasted to this day;
I have only to think of her–

the flower of her amazement
and the stalled breath of her curiosity,
and even the damp touch of her solicitude
before she took flight–

to be absent again from this world
and alive, again, in another
for thirty years
sleepy and amazed,

rising out of the rough weeds,
listening and looking.
Beautiful girl,
where are you?

Winging It

This past week has been discouraging. I’m six months into my job (and in Cleveland), and still I don’t have a clear sense of what I’m supposed to do. Impostor syndrome burrows deeply into the core of partially-legitimate questions about my competence. The familiar, stinging sound of the Peter principle rings in my ears: “We rise only to the level of our incompetence.”

Over coffee this morning with a colleague, I was reminded that I’m not alone in figuring it out. She’s been in her current position a few months more than I and has just recently gotten a sense of what she’s supposed to do and where she’s headed. The words of my dear friend Sarah returned to me from more than a year ago: “None of us know what we’re doing. We’re all just winging it.”

She’s probably right. And, I might add: those who don’t feel they’re winging it are probably just good at lying to themselves. (Or maybe not. No reason to hate on the folks who have it ‘all figured out’.)

Regardless, the winging it narrative is one I plan to keep in my pocket with me today. Using narratives for good rather than creating stories for self-sabotage: I like the sound of that!

Powerful Flow in the Face of Cold Weather

It’s officially cold. I don’t know who declares it “official,” but somewhere, someone has made the announcement, and, damn, has the temperature dropped. In the face of the frigid winter air, I taught a fun, powerful flow recently that I’ll share with all you yogis keeping score at home. Enjoy!

Opening breath work + meditation

Twisted seated flow
Table top + opposite arm and leg extensions
Plank (hold) + core work
Down dog

Sun A’s x 3-4

Chair + airplane arm flow
Warrior I (R)
Vinyasa + repeat (L)

Chair + twists (both sides)
Warrior I (R)
Humble warrior
Vinyasa + repeat (L)

Low crescent/”Runner’s lunge” on tented fingers (R)
Lightning bolt
Core twist flow (reach (R) fingertips back, (L) fingertips forward)
Warrior II
Reverse warrior
Side angle
Vinyasa + repeat (L)

Child’s or inversion practice

Chair + airplane arm flow
Chair twist (R) + step back
Crescent twist (R)
Core twist flow
Warrior II
Dancing warrior
Balancing half moon (R)
Warrior II
Straddle fold + shoulder opener
Skandasana + pivot forward (R)
Forward fold + variations
Chair + repeat (L)

Plank (hold) + core work
Fallen triangle
Lizard lunge (R) + variations
Forearm plank

Eagle or tree (balancing on (R) first)
Warrior III
Revolved half moon
Standing split
Forward fold + repeat (L)

Garland squat
Bridge x 2-3
Supine butterfly
Supine twists
Happy baby
Waterfall or shoulder stand


Feeling Grateful

Today I feel grateful for the innumerable ways in which yoga has shaped who I am and how I show up in the world.

I’ve recently struggled with my dedication to yoga. Feeling pressure to look a certain way, I’ve tried convincing myself that I should be doing other things with my body and my time — like going to the gym, lifting weights, running. Sure, those things are important, and I do hope to commit to them more frequently. But I’d also like to commit myself to feeling no guilt about using the physical practice of yoga as a way to cleanse and strengthen my body. It’s a spiritual practice, yes, but yoga is rooted in physicality. No more shame about that.