08 Feb '17

Safe is the NEW Sexy

By Kimberly Fowler


When it comes to taglines, Safe is the New Sexy, might not be my most creative or controversial. After all, my first tagline was the infamous No Chanting. No Granola. No Sanskrit. for the athletic style of yoga I created nearly two decades ago, Yoga for Athletes®.  Wow, did that hit a sore spot with American Yogi’s back in 2001!

Now, as the popularity of Yoga has grown, this style has become more main stream. My goal then, is the same as it is now: to make Yoga more accessible and to get people who would not ordinarily do yoga to give it a try. It worked.

When I was on CNN, it was because Sonjay Gupta Googled Yoga without Granola and of course only one studio popped up in the search results: YAS.

The second tagline I coined was I’m Not Your Guru, You Are.  This was the tagline used for the iconic shot taken by my friend, the late Rocki Pederson. (hyperlink to photo or post it.) I never wanted to be my student’s guru. This tagline was all about self-empowerment.

Safe Fun & Effective is a Core Value of YAS and represents our consistent commitment to the wellbeing of our students. I’ve never quite understood why a person would go to a Yoga, Indoor Cycling or Cross Fit class in which injuries are common. I know “safe” is often thought of as easy. But that doesn’t have to be true. I’m just as big of an advocate for what we do now as I’ve ever been.

Last year, I required knee surgery after going to one of our competitor’s indoor cycling classes. I was trying to be respectful and doing what the instructor said. Even though in my first book The No OM Zone, I talk about an incident with Hand Stands at a Yoga studio and suggest to new students, “If an instructor tells you to do something that feels wrong, don’t do it!”

I should have listened to myself……

The knee surgery really bummed me out…I had to stop teaching my Yoga for Athletes® class for nearly a year and I still don’t have my full flexibility back.  I was a professional Triathlete in the late 80’s and ran 13 marathons.  Prior to this surgery, my doctor said I had the knees of a 30-year old. (I’m 58) I’ve taken and taught 1000’s of Spin and Yoga classes at YAS over the 15 years we’ve been open. I’ve never once hurt myself. And it’s not because we teach easy classes. When I first start teaching Spin class, I wasn’t happy unless someone threw up due to the strenuous workout.

I’ve taught Yoga for Athletes® classes where top yoga instructors leave saying, “That’s the hardest class I’ve ever taken!”  Similar to Bikram, Yoga for Athletes® is a set sequence. You can make it as hard or as easy as you want. Personally, like it hard. Although the trend of a lot of studios is to do crazy and unsafe things, don’t be a follower. Be a leader.

It’s not cool to injure yourself or your students. My goal is always to teach classes that will blow your mind…not your knees.