Saturday, May 9, 2015

Spot Light Deborah Dilley With Squishy Yogini Yoga

This is the fourth post in my series featuring local people from Utah that showcase a special ability. Whether it's selling something on etsy, acting, making costumes or even teaching birthing classes, these lovely people enjoy what they do and some even do it on the side of full time jobs and families. If you want to be featured please send me an email at

I am introducing Debbie, a great yoga instructor who specializes in Curvy Yoga, making yoga easier and modifying it for those that are bigger or just for some physical reason will NEVER be able to get into Crow Position. I have attended a few of her Wednesday Night classes and wish I was able to go EVERY week. So without boring you further, here is Debbie!

Name: Deborah Dilley

What type of business: ie what do you sell/make/do?: Yoga

Website/store address/contact information/pricing/Where you perform. Where can my readers find you, see you!:

I have an open class on Wednesdays at my home studio from 6:30-7:30pm, drop-in rate of $10. I also do private sessions at $25 an hour. I like to keep the cost of my classes low. A lot of studios are really expensive and I firmly believe that yoga should be affordable for everyone. Feel free to call or text me at 801-520-3582 for questions about my classes.

You are a yoga instructor, tell my readers what yoga is and how it works:

When most people hear the word "yoga" they think of the physical postures of hatha yoga. However the term yoga means to yoke, or to unite. It is a philosophy, a meditation practice, self-actualization, and also... a form of exercise. In my work I focus on the physical postures of yoga, with the primary aim of getting our body and mind to work in tandem.

How long have you been doing yoga? 
 I've been practicing yoga for over ten years.

How long have you been and instructor and what made you decide to teach instead of simply partake?:

 I've been an instructor for a little over 3 years now. Several years ago, I decided to take a yoga for bigger bodies class at a local studio. I had already been practicing yoga for years at this point, and had done alot of research learning modifications to standard yoga poses to make it accessible for my larger body. I had high hopes for this class.... I wanted to find a community of larger yogis. At first, I was really excited when the instructor came in as she was larger than your stereotypical yoga instructor. But it was very clear just a few minutes in that she had no idea how to modify poses or make them non-harmful to someone of a larger size. Next to me in class were two women who were my size or larger (size 24+). This was their first class. We were holding a position that I knew how to modify for, but these women obviously didn't. They were crying, in pain on their mats.....and the instructor was clueless. I knew that they would never go back to another class. The next day I enrolled in teacher training...

You specialize in curvy yoga, correct? What is this and why did you choose this particular path?:

I hold an extra training certificate in Curvy Yoga. There are several individuals in the yoga teacher world who have developed training in order to modify yoga poses to be accessible to people of size, Curvy Yoga in my opinion is one of the best models out there. Anna, the founder, is amazing to work with! She completely understood my desire to want to become an instructor so that other women of my size could come to enjoy yoga as much as I did. Yoga studios can be frightening and judgmental places if you are larger, and I wanted to create a space where everyone would feel comfortable. Anna was the perfect mentor for that.

What is your favorite pose and why?:

Do I have to pick just one? I'm a super bendy person and I do love hip openers like pidgon because I can get so deep into them. Reclining twists at the end of a class make me feel wonderful. However, I have learned more about myself and life in seated wide-legged forward fold. One day I was trying to push myself to the limit, I wanted to get my entire torso to touch the floor.... I was so close.... When the class instructor told us to transition, I realized that I was stuck in that position. I managed to get out of it safely, but it took a while. I learned an excellent lesson about being realistic with what my mind and body are saying, and the importance of always having an exit strategy.

What is your least favorite pose and why?:

Any arm balance. I can't do them, and I'm always worried that I am going to hurt myself in them.

Did you lose weight when you started doing yoga on a regular basis, did this matter to you? How did you learn to accept and love your body:

I got rid of my scales a couple of years ago and have never looked back. I didn't like the worry of what a number had to say about me....and I would get frustrated that I would slim down a little but manage to gain 20 pounds of leg muscle each time I started a new form of exercise. Yoga has helped me tone my muscles, has severely limited the amount of klutziness that plagued me in the past, has kept my body feeling younger....but I've never done it with the hopes of losing weight. I look at my body naked in the mirror everyday. Yeah, somedays I may not be happy with what I see, other days I know that I'm rocking it. This is the only body that I have, and it takes care of me in ways that I know I don't nearly appreciate enough.

As a plus size gal myself I have seen a huge change in the body image movement of late, big girls being told they are beautiful, a size 24 model in a bikini, what are you thoughts on this?:

It's awesome! I'm glad that there is a more public body positivity movement happening....if anything because the clothing options are expanding. And I'll gladly share my bikini photo with you....its not an amazing shot, but its me in all my glory!

Do you have any suggestions for plus size women (or men) who want to get into yoga but feel like they can’t or are embarrassed?:

Don't let the worry of what other people in a class or studio are going to say about you take up space in your head. If you want to try yoga, go and do it. Come to my class, or contact me if you aren't in SLC and I'll gladly give you any recommendations of places that are size friendly.

I know this is not your primary source of income, if you feel comfortable tell us how yoga helps with what you do it “the real world”:

In the "real world" I work for a local non-profit that seeks to end sexual violence in Utah. I work with a lot of people where sexual trauma is a factor in their daily lives, be it survivors, or the advocates that serve them. People recommend yoga to help cope with trauma all the time. Sadly, most yoga instructors don't understand how trauma affects the body and mind. I do. Adding yoga to my day job, be it my own practice, or providing free classes to survivors and advocates, enriches the work that I do.

Thanks to Debbie and hopefully if you are reading this it was as inspiring for you as it was for me. See you next week with a new Spotlight!

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