Better Know a Freedster: Lindsay Tauscher
Lindsay Tauscher is a yoga instructor whose specialities include asana, meditation, and pranayama practices. We asked Lindsay to share her thoughts on all things yoga - from misconceptions to pet peeves - plus a few fun facts that might suprise you to learn. Read on!
DC area tenure?
I've been in the area since 2011.
How did you get into yoga?
At first I thought it would complement the rock climbing I was doing, because in rock climbing, you’re building strength and flexibility on the wall. When I started going to yoga classes, it was really transformative for me. It had never occurred to me to be that focused on a somatic level or to be that still. The mindfulness effects ran a lot deeper than just the time spent in class.
What do you look for in a yoga instructor?
I’m concerned with having a teacher who knows anatomy really well and can give specific cues to keep the body safe. It’s also really important to me to find a teacher who acknowledges the deeper aspects of yoga, someone who can teach breathing techniques, safe alignment, and the philosophical system behind yoga. I’m a big believer in a holistic approach.
What’s the biggest misconception about yoga that you want to clear up?
One of the biggest misconceptions that I’d like to clear up is that yoga is primarily a path toward physical fitness. It makes me sad when people see yoga as a solution to them feeling that they are not already good enough in their bodies. It’s not the fault of any one individual that they believe this - it’s the broader cultural mindset, which is really heartbreaking. But you’re not a problem to be solved and yoga is not a solution to you not being good enough in your physical being. When yoga is co-opted by corporations as a fitness craze, it does a great disservice to the deeper philosophy and tradition of yoga. Yoga can be transformative, but this transformation supersedes our physical selves – yoga helps us to become our best selves, rather than to become someone else.
What do you wish people knew about your classes?
I really try to take the approach of truly teaching the yoga and not rely on students’ previous experiences of yoga. There are a lot of yoga classes where instructors call out poses by name, in English if you are lucky and Sanskrit if you are unlucky. I love Sanskrit, but using it exclusively in class presumes that the student has prior knowledge of the poses. It means some other teacher has already done the work of actually teaching the poses and now you’re just doing choreography. If it was my first German class and the teacher spoke exclusively in German, I’d think, “shit, I’m going to fail so hard!” It would be really discouraging. You shouldn't have to be a yoga scholar to come to yoga class.
What’s your biggest yoga etiquette pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is when I’m speaking with people about yoga and they say “I could never do yoga because of x, y, and z.” The impression that you need to be a certain way in your body before you can even go to a yoga class is so wrong! I see this person who has the potential to be transformed by this incredibly powerful practice, but we have this bullshit system in the media that is propagating the myth that yoga is for fit people who have a certain type of body, age, or skin color, and you’re not qualified to experience yoga if you don’t adhere to that image. That’s a complete misrepresentation of the practice. It makes me sad that so many people out there think they need to be a certain way before they can go to yoga. All you have to do is be present and be willing to be there and then you’re doing the work. It’s for you no matter how you are, or who you are, or whether you can touch your toes. I mean, I still can’t touch my toes when I get up in the morning!
What’s your favorite yoga pose?
One of my favorite poses is called Wild Thing. It’s a really exuberant backbend and heart opener. It’s hard on the wrists, so it’s not for everyone, and it’s not for me every day, but when I'm able to do the pose, it’s so vitalizing and uplifting! Especially as someone who’s come to yoga with anxiety and depression, I think it’s so important to focus on opening up the heart space and changing the patterns in our mind and body.
What’s your preferred superpower?
I’d have two superpowers. One is to be able to transform into different animals and the other is to be able to speak every language. Both of these superpowers are actually kind of the same thing – they are about the ability to experience the world through the lens of someone else.
What book did you read most as a child?
Alice in Wonderland. That and Alice through the Looking Glass. Everyone should read them. I don’t care if you’re an adult!
Favorite spot in DC?
Rock Creek Park.
What's your patronus?
Frog. It’s a really under-appreciated animal.
What's your life motto?
I have a favorite quote by Albert Camus: “the only way to deal with an unfree world, is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” It’s really powerful to acknowledge that we don’t live in a free world. You have to be a rebel to find that freedom, and yoga is a path to that freedom.