Yoga For Bad People
bad just got a whole lot more healthy!
There are people who make being angelic look effortless, but if, like the rest of us, you secretly enjoy being a little bit bad now and again, Yoga For Bad People could have just the vacation for you. Nicole Muyingo meets the folk who think a little bit of bad can do you good.
What is Yoga For Bad People?
Yoga For Bad People is a yoga retreat company founded by NYC based yoga teachers Katelin Sisson and Heather Lilleston.
“We were looking to create retreats somewhere magical to give our students the chance to spend a little more time on their yoga practice, but we wanted to make sure they had a killer getaway at the same time. The retreats are usually held in locations near the beach with plenty of opportunities to seek out great nightlife and take part in other activities like surfing or hiking.”
How did you start YFBP?
“Yoga For Bad People is an idea we came up with when we started trying to pinpoint the kind of yoga retreat we’d want to attend and collectively wanted to teach. Both Katelin and I had been teaching yoga in NYC for years and had been considering joining forces to lead a retreat for a while. We knew we weren’t interested in leading the traditional style yoga retreat, where one’s held to a strict schedule of super early mornings, a strict diet and early bedtimes. We wanted to teach a retreat that gave students more freedom, but still maintained a healthy active structure so students could spend time on their yoga practice, but also feel like they’d been on fun vacation. Our students feel free to go out in the evening or have a margarita on the beach at midday, to sleep in a little if they feel like it because we don’t place too much emphasis on strict practice. We try to create retreats that feel light but powerful – that give people the opportunity to lighten up, work out, chill out and have a blast all on one vacation. The kind of students we attract aren’t looking for lots of rules or boundaries, they usually have a desire to explore on their own and are in a moment in their lives where their relationship with yoga isn’t defined by rigidity or judgment.”
What makes you bad?
“Everyone’s a little bit bad. We define bad as being a good thing: someone who is curious, spontaneous, not too rigid, willing to be wild and let loose when needed. Someone who is confident enough to create their own happiness, who is willing to explore and be self-sufficient. The ‘bad’ theme is reflected in our classes as we promote and emphasize strength along with flexibility and set the whole thing to a bass-heavy soundtrack that makes you want to move. We use the world ‘bad’ in our name because we’re interested in working with people who take risks and know how to chill out and have a good time; so they aren’t confined by the normal rigidity of what a “yogi” should be like or act like, that they like to shake things up and play a little.”
Why are your retreats different?
“We like to have fun. We are good at it. We invite our students to come and join the fun. Yoga feels good, the beach feels good, we like to help everyone learn how to meditate, to dance and enjoy the local culture. We are pretty much up for anything and we encourage that kind of openness in all our retreats. Spend time on your practice, have time to learn to meditate and rest if you need too. It’s the kind of yoga retreat that doesn’t dictate what you do. So when you come, you can have the vacation that you need…and everyone generally needs something a little different.”
What draws you to Brazil?
Brazil has become the main destination for YFBP retreats because of a special town we found there that pretty much fulfills all our YFBP needs. It’s remote, but surprisingly easy to get to with a long gorgeous beach, surf culture, beautiful hot sunshine and just enough nightlife to have a great time in a small town. There are fantastic restaurants and it’s easy to walk everywhere. Plus, there’s a variety of activities in Praia do Rosa including surfing, hiking, biking, hang-gliding, sand-boarding, and an epic waterfall! If you want to explore, there are various hidden beaches. Even though Rosa attracts people from all over the world, it still has that off-the-beaten-path feeling that we love. It’s easy to get to know locals and become familiar with the local culture because Brazilian culture is super inviting and welcoming so you always receive a warm welcome.
If you had to describe Brazil in three words what would it be?
“Hot. Sexy. Colorful.”
What are three tips on producing a successful retreat?
“It’s good to have a plan, but to also stay flexible as you begin to work with the local people in a place – it’s important to respect their culture. It’s better to gently weave your way into the local schedule and vibe rather than try to impose your own thing on a place. Every retreat and location takes time to settle in and work the kinks out.
I also think it’s really important that the teachers have fun. We believe that if we feel like we aren’t working, even though we are, then everyone’s able to relax that much more and it actually feels like a vacation. It’s essential to leave the business aspects of a retreat outside the retreat and to have planned sufficiently so that once you’re there you can just jive with the group and lead while enjoying yourself at the same time. If there is too much ‘we are working – you are playing’, retreats end up feeling too serious and it takes a lot longer to chill out. That only works if you’re super organized before and you need to be able to put your ‘teacher/organizer’ hat on quickly should something come up, but seamlessly enough that it can come off as soon as business is taken care of.
Also, arrive early and leave a few days after the retreat. You want to be settled in when everyone arrives and you want to give yourself time to come down after.