As soon as I started brainstorming which people I would love to interview for Tyger Tyger, I thought of Robin Lamarr (@royolaroyola).
Robin's been in the movement game for over a decade and has over 700 hours of movement education under her belt, (in fact, we met when we did the MISFITMETHOD training together at Misfit Studio in Toronto).
She has recently opened her own studio (and teacher training!) in Hamilton called GoodBodyFeel where she has created a community based on, in her own words, radical inclusion and accessibility.
What is a movement teacher? Why not just yoga, pilates, barre, etc?
A movement teacher helps guide people back to their embodied experience through some form of physical practice. I refer to myself as a movement teacher instead of a yoga or pilates teacher because, as I started adding to my movement repertoire, it became hard to keep the modalities separate - nor should they be! They each have a special something. When combined, we move away from potential dogma and stagnation. When combined, we create a more holistic, open, strong and joyful experience. I love Katy Bowman’s concept of “nutritious movement”. You can’t get all of your nutrients from one source. The more diverse your sources are, the healthier and happier your body can be. Same goes for food, leadership and community. SEEK DIVERSITY.
What was your way into movement, what got you started?
My way into movement has its root in self-loathing. I grew up hating my big and brown body. Bullied at school. Judged at home. I didn’t feel like I belonged and I blamed my body for it. I would ebb and flow between starving and binge eating. I would spend hours running, on an elliptical machine and doing exercise videos multiple times a day when I was a KID. I was a fucking child, doing kick-boxing and pilates videos, before and after elementary school, to earn the right to eat a tomato sandwich. I believed that getting skinny would solve my longing for inclusion. It would erase the fact that I was poor, brown and book smart (kids can be so cruel).
In university, I went to my first yoga class. The sense of community I felt at that studio was the kickstart to my healing. Up until that point, I exercised alone and it was on a reward/punishment basis. Moving, in sync with others, in sync with my breath, it was the medicine I never knew I needed. I didn’t realize it then, but looking back, that was when I started befriending my body.
My curiosity for graceful, strong, opening movements kept propelling me forward into one training and the next. Happily accumulating tools to be better to my body and being - and to help others achieve the same.
What would you recommend for someone interested in getting into more regular movement?
Get out of your own way and JUST. FUCKING. MOVE.
It doesn’t matter how or when or how long you move for. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. It doesn’t matter what clothes you wear. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t exercised in years. Just. Move. With breath. With intention.
Walk more. Circle your joints. Wave your spine. Make shapes.
Recognize that we ALL need to heal our relationship with our body and moving with love is a sure way.
Find community. Healing doesn’t happen in isolation.
And don’t just find community. Find one that operates on an anti-oppression framework (de-centres white/male/thin/cis-ness). If one doesn’t exist, create one or demand better from studio owners/leaders/teachers to create inclusive spaces where ALL bodies can enjoy the benefits of movement medicine. Otherwise the community (and you) remains complicit in the lack of healing for undervalued bodies.
What are the benefits of moving your bod around?
I honestly believe that mindfully moving your bod will change the world. It’s undeniable that after a movement session (a good one, led by a human operating with values of anti-oppression), you feel better. And if you don’t feel better, find another teacher. Stat.
I’ll never forget this one funny moment I had with my partner. We were on a date, which is hard to come by when you have 2 young kids. He picked me up from a pilates class I attended, probably one of the first classes since having my second babe, and we went for dinner. Not 15 min into dinner, he said to me, “Damn, you are A LOT nicer after pilates.” True. Story.
Moving your body helps clear the slate, getting rid of gunk (emotional, mental, trauma) that you don’t need to hold on to so that you can write a new story. Moving helps you cultivate strength, making you more resilient as life happens at you. Moving helps you come home to your body. Moving helps you recognize that your body is a gift.
When we recognize ourselves as gifts, we can finally show up in community from a place of confidence and abundance. When we can finally show up in community with confidence and abundance, community heals. A healing community is a changing world. So get moving already. The world needs you!
What does your personal practice look like and/or what is your favourite way to move your body
My practice is a bit of a mixed bag. When I have a chance to really give myself a solid practice, it begins with me starting little targeted fires (like pilates), priming my body for bigger global movements (like yoga), then winding it all down with ooey-gooey waves, rotations, circles and stretches all set to loud R&B. Otherwise, it looks like me dancing with and running after my 4yr-old and 2yr-old boys, sneaking in some squats whenever I can.
If you are as inspired by Robin as I am, you can follow along on either @goodbodyfeel or @royolaroyola
Deep bows to you, Robin!
Photography: Oh Sierra Photography