Today we’d like to introduce you to Elisha Thompson.
Elisha, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My life is beautiful. I am who I am and I am where in life due to a number of varying circumstances and events. However, there is no doubt that my introduction to yoga not only changed my life forever, but saved it. In January of 2008, I was in the lowest part of my life. I was 32 and so miserable that I didn’t want to live life anymore and attempted suicide. Three years prior, I had a gastric bypass and lost over a 100 pounds. Until that point, I had spent my entire life believing that if I were able to get thin that I would be happy. All my problems, worries, and fears would magically disappear. I couldn’t have been more misguided. I lost the weight and was even unhappier than I had been prior to surgery. Looking back, I now see that it was because food had always been my coping mechanism and I was suddenly left without a way to avoid my unresolved trauma.
After the suicide attempt, I acknowledged that I needed to do the work to heal myself. I began therapy, went back to school and got my bachelor’s degree, and worked to find things that brought me joy.
Fast forward to late 2012. One of my closest friends, Ashton August of YogiAprroved.com, was in a yoga teacher training program. She needed to practice teaching and asked if I would take a private class from her. I happily agreed. At that time, I was struggling with really bad anxiety that was beginning to spiral into even worse depression. I was starting graduate school and knew that I was going to have plenty of stressful times in my future. I knew that I needed something to help me work that out. And, to be honest, even though I had spent four years in therapy, I had not truly dealt with the trauma of my past yet. It was all still there beneath the surface. I still hated who I was, how I looked, and everything I stood for. In short, I had only done surface work in therapy. I hadn’t dug deep.
After just one yoga class with my friend, I was hooked. I immediately found a yoga studio and began taking classes every day. Sometimes, twice a day. I was amazed and how calm and invigorated yoga left me feeling. I had never enjoyed anything that was physically challenging before. My love for yoga has never waned since. I still feel this way to this day. It is truly a part of who I am. Since that day, 8 years ago, I’ve maintained an almost daily yoga practice. I’ve now completed two 200-hour yoga teacher training programs to see different perspectives and increase my understanding. Becoming a yoga teacher was certainly never in my plans, but I really enjoy sharing my passion with others! Knowing how beneficial yoga was for me, it brings me joy knowing that I’m potentially bringing a life changing experience into others’ lives.
During my first graduate program, I found another new world that brought me joy and the connections I was seeking. In 2012, my life partner, Chris, and I began to explore BDSM. Much of our exploration was in the privacy of our bedroom and in reading books and watching movies. It wasn’t until the summer of 2015 that we found the vibrant community attached to the practice of BDSM. That summer, Chris and I joined our local BDSM club, Arizona Power Exchange (APEX), and began attending BDSM conferences. We attended classes on how to safely try bondage, uses for various types of toys, how to ethically engage in different relationship dynamics like dominant/submission or master/slave arrangements. It was at one of the first conferences that we attended where the idea for Yoga for Kink was born. I noticed several people stretching in ways similar to yoga poses before they engaged in bondage. We even watched one girl get tied in a yoga pose shape. I realized that the community could use some guidance on how to safely engage in bondage. Some people are naturally more flexible than others, however, everyone can benefit from stretching their body in a safe and educated manner before being tied up. So, I wrote Yoga for Kink. It will be out in mid-January 2021. New year, new book! Five years later, as APEX celebrates their 32nd anniversary we both still teach multiple times a month for APEX as well as Chris serves on the board. We are certainly heavily invested in both the yoga and kink communities.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No, it definitely has not always been a smooth road. This entire process has been a new experience for me. There have been several stumbles along the way. At one stage, we had to start the photography process completely over due to background issues that couldn’t be Photoshopped out. The biggest challenge though has been the COVID-19 pandemic. It made finishing up the last of photos for the book difficult because we could no longer bring multiple people together in a closed space safely. Also, our marketing and promotion plans were more or less destroyed. We had planned to attend a number of polyamory and kink related conferences to market and promote the book, with the pandemic, those conferences are no longer taking place. I have learned a lot and we have been able to shift our plans to meet the new world we are living in.
Please tell us about Yoga for Kink.
Yoga for Kink is a book that illustrates how to use yoga to help prepare the body to engage in bondage safely. The book is broken up into three main sections: yoga for upper body bondage, yoga for lower body bondage, and yoga for full body bondage. There are photos of different bondage positions for the three sections followed by a list of yoga poses that work for those particular bondage poses. The book gives step by step instructions on how to get into the yoga poses safely and with proper alignment.
There are two key things that sets Yoga for Kink apart from others. First, there are no other yoga manuals on the market that directly address how to use yoga to safely prepare the body for bondage. Second, and this is a point of pride, throughout the book, we have a diverse set of body types and ethnicities represented in the poses. I wanted to make sure that a variety of body types were represented in the book. All body types can do yoga, but that is not what you generally see in the media and on social media. You mostly see thin white women, but anyone can do yoga and anyone can do bondage. So, I wanted a book that represented that. Really, it was just us getting a bunch of our friends together and the diversity became as intentional as it was accidental.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Honestly, I’m not sure that I would have done anything differently. Sure, it would have been nice to know then what I know now. That would have made this whole process easier and smoother. But life is a learning experience and so was this process. Learning provides an opportunity for personal growth and I wouldn’t want to miss out on growing and experiencing new things.
- We are currently working on a fundraiser that will launch later this year and be available at YogaforKink.com. We believe that the initial digital version will be available for less than $20
- Website: YogaforKink.com
- Phone: 480-309-9426
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/redheadedyogi/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AYogiInLove/
- Other: http://trulybeloved.com/
Randal T Cox Photography