The Future of our Yoga with Melissa YouTube Channel

by Melissa West on

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The Future


This video is about the direction and vision of the Yoga with Melissa channel as we move into our 10 year anniversary on YouTube as well as the specifics for July 2019.

Don’t worry I’m still going to teach you yin yoga, restorative yoga, yin yang yoga and yoga nidra and sleep yoga. I am still going to teach yoga that you can do and yoga that is meaningful to your whole being, not just physical exercise, but something that is going to touch your mind, your emotional body, your energy body and your spiritual being.

I will be finishing the Yoga for Highly Sensitive People Series with a Yin Yang Yoga for the Heart Protector and Tripple Warmer Meridians. I know you have all loved that series, but I feel for now it is complete. Of course, because this is video, you can go back and to any of those classes at any time and I encourage you to do that.

September of 2019 marks my ten year anniversary on YouTube. As I approach the ten year anniversary of Yoga with Melissa on YouTube I have taken some time to pause and reflect on where I have been and where I am going.

I have always had a vision to teach real yoga for real people. That is yoga that people can do. Yoga that is meaningful beyond the exhibitionist shapes that might make a good Instagram photo. I want us to be healthy physically so that we are also whole mentally, emotionally, energetically and spiritually. I want to continue to do that for decades to come.

A lot of things about the way yoga is presented on YouTube and through social channels from Facebook to Instagram has greatly disheartened me in the last decade. To me, yoga is a deeply personal and interpersonal practice that cares for the human spirit, the planet and the well-being and happiness of all beings. The way yoga often gets performed to build one’s own sense of pride and vanity discourages me.

In addition the content-treadmill of YouTube that bullies content creators into keeping up or being left behind has also left me exhausted and burned out.

I say this to let you know that some things will be changing on Yoga with Melissa over the next few months as we enter our second decade on YouTube.

We will be doing less and we will be doing more.

Let’s start with the less. I am going to be taking planned time off. You may have noticed that I have taken a couple weeks off over the last month. Some of that was planned and some of that was not. The unplanned time was because of exhaustion that leads to illness. The planned time was because I believe no human being can keep going inexhaustibly and should not have to.

So, I will be taking at least two weeks off in the summer, in the autumn at thanksgiving, in the winter at Christmas and in the spring. There will be no pre-recorded content, it will just be time off with no videos. Tim and I are a solo partnership. Together we do all of the content planning, filming, editing, marketing and social media to keep this channel going. It is a lot of work for two people. Taking time off, is how I envision our relationship being sustainable in the next decade. This will give us time to recharge our batteries and be better human beings and also give us time to simply be as a married couple.

Now for the more. I am deeply committed to offering you meaningful yoga for your whole being: physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically and spiritually.

I am going to be adding a second short video to this channel each week focused on breath or pranayama. My intention with these videos is to move through various breath practices in a deep and focused way so that it is not just information but a practice that we can engage in together here. We will focus on breath for sleep, breath for healing, breath for digestion, and breath for anxiety. However, we will do this in a focused way. We will start with one breath technique and explore it thoroughly and in its entirety over a period of time.

As for our Friday one hour yoga videos, I am going to be starting a new series called Yoga for Attention Overwhelm. It is specifically designed to soothe our overstimulated minds and nervous systems in the attention economy. We are immersed in a social economy that manipulates, exploits and constantly vies for our attention. We are distracted with unfulfilling content. Social media platforms from YouTube to Facebook to Instagram go to extremes and the most exhibitionist yoga gets your attention.

I don’t want any part of that. I do not want to overwhelm you, I do not want to manipulate you. I do not want to fragment your attention.

The video that I have made over the last little while that I am most proud of was living a lojong slogan for 30 days on my secondary channel: https://youtu.be/GQRKFihFgoA I want to do more of this in depth, long-term focus with all of you. So starting in the month of July we will begin a new series Yoga for Attention Overwhelm.

Speaking of in-depth, long-term focus, In our membership community we are focusing on the five bhavas in July. We are spending time with a series of videos that explores each bhava or attitude of devotion and I am asking our members to choose one of the attitudes of devotion: peace, friendliness, service, maternal love, the attitude of a lover or sweetheart, to offer themselves for the month. In the community you have our daily yoga connection with videos for each day of the week and the support of our community everyday to help you do that. I am not going to beg you to join. I am only looking for community members who are actually dedicated to committing to their practice in a more meaningful and in depth way. If this resonates with you, then we are here to support you in going deeper in our community.

I would like to offer all of you here on YouTube who would like the opportunity to make a meaningful difference through your yoga a way that we can do that as a community as well. A way that we can support this beautiful planet that we live on and a way that we can support the well-being of all.

I’m going to share with you the story of where this mission for our yoga community came from. I This past month I felt guided to focus intensely on the practices of somatic descent as offered by Reggie Ray. I dove into them deeply following all the practices and dharma talks as part of my daily personal meditation and contemplation practice.

Somatic Descent is a practice of Vajrayana Buddhism where we develop the capacity to listen to and follow the wisdom of our body. During several practices I have felt immersed in an ocean of love and also was reminded of the name I was given when I took the Bodhisattva Vows almost a year ago now, Ocean of Unconditional Offering.

At this time I feel guided to reignite the spark inspiration in the hearts of all of you beautiful yogis that watch this channel that as we know yoga is about more than our own personal gain, that we practice for the benefit of all beings. Like we say at the end of all of our videos, may all beings be happy and free and may the thoughts words and actions of our own lives contribute in some way to the happiness and freedom for all.

I feel inspired to offer us a collective Yogathon each month called Ocean of Love Yogathon. Through it I will encourage each one of you to commit to a specific yoga series. This month I encourage you to practice the Hanuman Series.

The Hanuman Series is very much about the yoga of service. I am going to recommend that you sponsor yourself $1 a class, which is $12 for the Hanuman series and then donate $12 to oceana.org This is a small way that your yoga practice can become about more than just you. I spent a lot of time researching organizations and no doubt I will receive some criticism for my choice, but I feel that if we can save our oceans, we can save our forests and we can save our world. It is an international organization with a great reputation. Additionally, if you cannot afford to sponsor yourself $1/class then there are other ways of getting involved, such as signing online petitions in each individual country.

Through my practice with somatic descent meditation I have also received clarity about my own personal practice and in turn how I offer the teachings of yoga to you. Let me share that story with you now.

During another particular session what was revealed to me was undeniable clarity and a snake skin that had been shed. This vision was incredibly significant to me at this time because it signified that I was entering into a new phase of being with certainty and shedding old ways of being.

The reason why I am sharing this with you is because it has significant relevance to my teaching and teaching you. The shedding of the old skin, letting go of old ways of being was letting go of the need to be bigger and instead focusing on being better. Quality over quantity in other words. It was also letting go of needing external validation and training and trusting in my own practice, study and experience.

I had previously been searching out ways to receive new training and the costs were exorbitant. Not only that, but I kept coming up against roadblocks with the training in terms of my perception of the integrity behind the intention of why the trainings were being offered in the first place. I would look into them and then in the end they would lose their energetic resonance.

I realized that I have my own capacity to study, learn and teach that I can trust. All of this to say that this is something that I have been doing since 2002 when I became a yoga teacher, September of 2009 here on YouTube and November of 2011 in our membership community.

In this moment I want to reinstate my intention and aspiration to share with you the knowledge that I learn in all of my yoga classes. I don’t hold back. I won’t hold back. I do not save the knowledge for some expensive teacher training program, I never have.

If you want more structure around the teachings and you want to study with me more closely and personally you can do that in a more one on one way in the support of a sangha for the cost of a drop in yoga class at a yoga studio per month in our membership community.

For those of you who have kindly asked, your generosity in becoming a member or donating is how you can support Tim and I in earning a living wage so that we can share the teachings here on YouTube for many years to come.

However, my promise to you is that in each yoga video, whether here or in our community, I will share with you the depth of my knowledge. No holding back. I feel this is right action and being in right relation with you as my students. This is part of real yoga for real people and making yoga available for all. You do not have to attend some expensive teacher training program to get the goods. I offer them to you here, every Friday at 9 am PT in a one hour yoga class and now on Tuesdays at 9 am PT with our breathing videos.

Namaste, Melissa

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