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Pride Month offers numerous events where members of the LGBTQ+ community can celebrate who they are. But June is also a good time for everyone to show support for their LGBT friends, relatives, co-workers, and workout partners.
We spent some time with LGBTQ+ business owners Kyle House and Kyle Miller (the Kyles) who own Kyle House Fitness in Chattanooga, TN, to hear from them about their tips to being a better ally inside and outside the gym.
Here are three things they say are important to remember when strengthening your commitment to being a good ally in the community.
The saying, “Knowledge is Power” isn’t just a cute tagline, it can be the best place to start.
In 2020, individual identity has expanded dramatically, and this can make understanding and connecting with people in and outside the LGBTQ+ community more complicated. With new terms entering our worldwide vocabulary, it’s important to have a general understanding of terms so you can easily have conversations and connect with people who identify with these terms.
The good news is, The Trevor Project has made a great resource to help us better understand the terms in their online glossary.
Learning terms are just a starting point, but the most important thing to remember is that the power of the word lies in the individual who identifies with it. What that means, simply put, is never label someone with a term. The power to own a label is their own, and when speaking with someone in the LGBTQ+ community, you never want to take that power away from them. The easiest way to ensure you avoid this misstep is the practice of inquiry over advisory. Ask more questions and let the answers drive the conversation. But, don’t directly ask, “are you gay” or “are you bisexual.” Start just like you would with anyone else, and if you are interested in learning more about an individual's identity, an easy opener is “are you in a relationship?
When we learn about someone, and when we have a positive connection—especially as an ally—it's easy to be excited, and you may want to show support by sharing your interaction with an LGBTQ+ person.
Remember, coming out is one of the hardest things an LGBTQ+ person can have, and it’s not a once and done type of thing. LGBTQ+ people are constantly “coming out.” Whether it’s to family, old friends, new friends, co-workers, or people they interact with each day, LGBTQ+ people are coming out on a daily basis. The last thing you want to do is say something to others that a person shared with you. Building trust is key, and if you can connect with someone and build trust with them, you will be a huge help in allowing them to drop their guard and be more authentic in their daily lives.
As the world continues to grow during a trying time, one thing has become very evident. Prejudice and the power that allows it to exist and grow can be found in the most subtle of things said or actions taken.
If you hear something or see something, say something. I know, another catchphrase, but it’s an easy rule to follow.
Being an ally and a builder of an inclusive community starts with your own expression of what’s acceptable in the environments you call home. If you hear someone make an anti-gay joke or a crude comment, let them know you don't appreciate it. Not only can small statements and actions have an adverse effect on the overall environment, they could be that one small thing that makes a vulnerable person give up on pursuing their goals to be a happier, healthier person.
Hold that close to you as a responsibility, and you might even teach someone else that there’s a better way to engage with others who don’t look, act, and live like they do.
Want to try a Kyle House Fitness class? Check out their schedule!
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.