Satisfaction Factor

#53 - The Power of Inclusive & Accessible Fitness Spaces with Vysh Sivakumaran

October 05, 2022 Naomi Katz & Sadie Simpson
Satisfaction Factor
#53 - The Power of Inclusive & Accessible Fitness Spaces with Vysh Sivakumaran
Show Notes Transcript

This week we’re talking to Vysh Sivakumaran, a certified strength coach, trauma informed yoga instructor, and a fitness industry leader in the Toronto community.

Vysh (vai-sh) works to create inclusive, body neutral, and accessible fitness, through 1:1, group, and corporate services within her online fitness community, Fitness in Place (FIP). With her powerlifting background and quick adaptation at the start of the pandemic, she was awarded Canfitpro's Fitness Professional of the Year Award. She advocates passionately for representation in the industry for South Asian women, but more broadly, aims to be a voice for all people who may face barriers in the wellness.

We had an amazing conversation with Vysh about how she shifted her own understanding of health & diet culture, and how that has shifted the way she works with clients; the importance of safe inclusive fitness spaces, how she cultivates those spaces, and how the fitness world can do better; how having safe, trauma-informed, inclusive spaces helps build body autonomy; how she's working to create a place at the table for herself & her community; and the link between representation and overcoming impostor syndrome.

Here's where you can find Vysh:
Website
Instagram
Facebook
LinkedIn

You can stay up to date on all things Satisfaction Factor by following us on IG @satisfactionfactorpod!

Here's where to find us:
Sadie Simpson: www.sadiesimpson.com or IG @sadiemsimpson
Naomi Katz: www.happyshapes.co or IG @happyshapesnaomi

For this episode's transcript, visit: www.satisfactionfactorpod.com

Referenced in this episode:
Vysh's published article for CanFitPro
Vysh's IG post about imposter syndrome
Harvard Business Review - "Stop Telling Women They Have Imposter Syndrome" by Ruchika Tulshyan and Jodi-Ann Burey

Naomi Katz:

Welcome to Satisfaction Factor, the podcast where we explore how ditching diet culture makes our whole lives more satisfying. Welcome back to Satisfaction Factor. I'm Naomi Katz, an Intuitive Eating, body image, and self trust coach.

Sadie Simpson:

I'm Sadie Simpson, a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and Intuitive Eating counselor. So it's been a minute. We haven't had a full podcast episode in two weeks, since we have recently switched over to our new format. So if you're new around here, or if you haven't been listening to the last couple of episodes, instead of releasing new episodes every single week, we are slowing down a little bit and spacing things out to every other week, so that we can focus more on The Satisfaction Space community.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. The Satisfaction Space is our brand new online community for folks to connect to others who are also doing the work of disengaging from diet culture. And it is officially open for enrollment to everyone.

Sadie Simpson:

Yay.

Naomi Katz:

So, I mean, what exactly does this mean? So, for starters, if you enjoy listening to new episodes of our podcast every week, and you're maybe missing us on the off weeks, you will be able to access bonus content within The Satisfaction Space. In addition to the extra episode content, we really wanted to create a special space to continue building a community outside of just the two of us.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes, and The Satisfaction Space is more than just bonus content. It's also a place where you can connect with other people who are seeking to cultivate a more satisfying life. Each month, we'll be hosting live virtual hangouts, which will consist of things like q&a sessions, mini coaching, and more. There is also a community message board where you'll be able to meet with other folks, share your thoughts on our episodes, and even ask some questions. So we'll both be in the message boards throughout the week to respond to your questions directly. But you'll also get the benefit of receiving insight and responses from other community members as well.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, it's a pretty cool space, I think, honestly. A few other things to note. Yes, there is a cost, but it's minimal. It's $10 a month, and it can be cancelled at any time. Really, as we were approaching our one year podcastiversary. We talked a lot about how we could make the Satisfaction Factor more community oriented, and more sustainable for us, too. It costs money and a lot of time to produce a podcast, and if you have found value in the episodes we've released so far, joining the satisfaction space is a very simple way that you can support this podcast and us while getting the benefits of bonus content community and very low cost mini coaching from us in the monthly live hangouts.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, so if that sounds like something you're interested in, head to the link in the show notes to join or go to the satisfaction space dot m n.co. Now

Naomi Katz:

onto this week's episode. Yay. So this week, I got to speak with Vice Siva Kumar in vice is a certified strength coach, trauma informed yoga instructor and a fitness industry leader in the Toronto Community, working to create inclusive body neutral and accessible Fitness Through one on one group and corporate services within her her online fitness community fitness in place. With her powerlifting background and quick adaptation at the start of the pandemic she was awarded can fit pros fitness professional of the Year Award. She advocates passionately for representation in the industry for South Asian women, but more broadly aims to be a voice for all people who may face barriers in the wellness space. We had an amazing conversation about the importance of safe inclusive fitness spaces, body autonomy, representation and overcoming impostor syndrome. So let's talk to Vice vice. Welcome. Thank you so much for being here with us today. We're really excited to talk to you about all the awesome stuff you've got going on right now.

Vysh Sivakumaran:

Thanks again. Thank you so much, Naomi, for having me and sad as well. Thank you so much.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, of course. So we're just gonna dive right in with our first question, which is a big one, but we kind of designed it to be broad so that we get some interesting answers from it. So what has your We're experienced with diet culture, Ben.

Vysh Sivakumaran:

So yeah, that is that is a big one. And I appreciate that, that heads up on that. So with diet culture, I know growing up, I was quite I guess isolated with my my culture and my Sri Lankan, thummell culture and the the rice and the curries. And it was quite that every day. And there was this mentality that everything needs to be eaten from the plate, like the last grain of grain of rice needs to be eaten, right. So I don't know, necessarily that I experienced that culture growing up, but there was some level of restrictions on you know, what I enjoyed and what I wanted to do, or the however, I think strictly when I started CrossFit, that was my real first. This was Post University 2013, after after I graduated, where there were like paleo diet, this is that this is the caveman, you need to do this. And I was like, Okay, I like the structure. There's something telling me this is what I need to do. I like being a perfectionist. Let me go at it. So I started the process there. I think in the middle of it, I really thought I was doing the right thing. I thought this was it. Like, I don't need anything else. But it wasn't sustainable. Right. Like, again, I was still living with my parents, they were still feeding me rice and curries. And there wasn't, you know, it wasn't a caveman diet at home. So I would start to feel bad when I didn't get that, you know, that perfection side of it. So yeah, that's a little bit of where I started. But of course, my journey continued onward from there. So yeah,

Naomi Katz:

that really speaks to something so significant within diet culture, which is the erasure of cultural foods, and like the demonization of cultural foods to that, you know, you grew up without really any sense of diet, culture, and eating, you know, your cultural foods, and just that being the thing, and then you go out into CrossFit. And suddenly, it's like, oh, those foods are wrong, you shouldn't be eating those foods, but you're still living in your house, where those are still the foods and so you just end up in this place of like, guilt and shame and just feeling bad about eating the foods that, you know, are, are relevant to you and your cultural background, and your family and all of those things. And that disconnect is pretty significant.

Vysh Sivakumaran:

Yeah, 100%, and you hit the nail on the head. And I I'm honestly, as we're talking, I feel like it's a little bit of therapy there. Yeah, I think you said it better than I even processed it in my mind that it did feel like you know, something was wrong with my cultural foods. And I probably did give my mom you know, who who was the main person who cooked a bit of, you know, I guess, took it took it for granted right on that. And, you know, because I was still living at home. And it was always there, day in day out, never shifted, you know, and when it was stability and structure there too, but I didn't appreciate it as much as I do now.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, yeah. So what changed for you? So you're, you know, you're doing CrossFit and you're in this like paleo era, which is weird, because the Paleo era is a different thing. Yeah, you're in your paleo era. And, you know, experiencing this disconnect at home and stuff. What How did things shift for you? Or did you stay there for a while?

Vysh Sivakumaran:

Yeah, that's a good question. So I mean, I think, going into leaving to leaving the CrossFit world and actually moving countries, to Canada, so originally, I was born in Canada, but then moved to Ohio for about 18 years. So there is where I spent, you know, CrossFit, graduation, all that and then moved back to Toronto, and that shift into the personal training world. So shifted me in a lot of good ways. It was something I was really passionate about, I was a business analyst and now all of a sudden, I'm I'm, I'm a fitness coach. So I was learning a lot. But then I entered into this corporate gym world, where if I didn't look like a trainer, then I wasn't a trainer, there was some level of me just disconnect there, my insecurities are coming. So I did start to I believe, start to really hone in on wanting to be skinny and eating less carbs, and really focusing in on no specific diet, I would say but just a low carb, low carb diet that wasn't energy wise was really depleting me every day. And quite a bit of things happen. When you don't have sleep, you don't have energy, your relationship starts to suffer and everything else starts to sort of fall apart. So there was a lot of again, question mark on, I guess, giving myself the best opportunity to succeed, but because I had that paleo experience, and now I'm at the trainer in the training world needing to feel like I live Look, the part really which is not true, you can be a trainer doesn't matter what you look like there's so much value beyond that, that that one offers as a professional. But anyways, there was definitely some toxic things that I was dealing with for the next two to three years post paleo as I was becoming a trainer, I felt I probably looked the best, but I was definitely the most unhappiest as well.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, yeah, it's so interesting, you know, there's so much talk in the personal training world about health. But all the standards within the personal training world, put you in this incredibly unhealthy place. Like a lot of times, you're very sleep deprived, because of the hours that you have to put in, especially as a new trainer. And then there's all the like restriction and Diet Rules. And so they are also not fueling yourself enough to sustain that. And it's really antithetical to this whole concept of I'm here to help you get healthier it is it

Vysh Sivakumaran:

is I mean, you know, I did prescribe to the before and after pictures, and I prescribed to, you know, making sure I was telling folks, No, you shouldn't eat that you shouldn't have canola oil, right? Like this, that's just not the right oil to have with your crude. And it's, it's all these like, shoulds, and should nots and, and really not necessarily allowing, you know, everything that I was taught, I was just regurgitating and giving, but I did it in the most kind way, as that is my nature not to be a super bootcamp oriented trainer. But at the end of the day, it was still restrictive. And I think that probably led to some of my clients potentially feeding into their own diet culture habits, too. So yeah, it's

Naomi Katz:

like, I wonder what would happen if, you know, obviously, we, we don't want people's bodies to be their calling cards to be their business cards. But imagine if we said that, but what we meant was like the health of your body, or like, the way you care for yourself is, you know, the example that you're sending, as opposed to just like your body size.

Vysh Sivakumaran:

And that's exactly what I do now with my clients and one on one on my group end. And fortunately, because of the pandemic, a lot of clients, a lot of folks are virtual, so I can definitely still reach them, whether they're in my area or not. And really push this whole narrative that you know, you are more than your body, right you there is I mean, there is a level of body acceptance or body love that we can give to the body. But at the end of the day, your health is much more than just your aesthetics of what your body looks like. And unfortunately, that's what sells in the fitness industry and what gets some of us here, but I don't think it's the end all be all of that journey.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. So obviously, your approach to this has changed a lot since those early days. How did you get out of that early days of like restriction and things like that, to where you are now in a place of body acceptance and authentic health and all of those kinds of concepts?

Vysh Sivakumaran:

Yeah, good question. I mean, I honestly I don't, I don't know if there was one specific moment. For me, I think there is just this understanding that I, you know, now being in the industry, as a trainer for the last six, seven years, I'm noticing I can see the changes and the differences between training with that restrictive style and not even understanding diet culture, and just saying, yeah, do whatever you need to do just hit these macros hit these hit these specific targets for your carb and your your fats and your proteins. Right. And now I'm more on the end is are you getting? Do you know what those are? And are you getting all everything you can get from your foods? And what, you know, are you feeling sustained and able to basically give yourself that energy that you need for the day. So I think the shift for within myself has definitely shifted how I do train my clients. And I want to say I feel like more through the pandemic in the last two years, I've been a lot more accommodating more understanding, even just understanding diet culture was a big shift for me and knowing that you know what, there's stats and studies that show diets create a lot of potential weight gain. And so what are we doing here? How, why are we feeding into something that isn't working? And then again, also understanding the power structures behind diet culture and what they're trying to gain. And I did learn a lot of that from from you, Naomi, from your core, so huge props to you for helping me learn and understand. Yeah, so it was it was definitely it's still a process for me. I'm not I'm not done. I have a lot to still learn. But I think the more I do better for myself, and I learned that I can of course do better for my community.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, I mean, that's the thing, right? We're never actually done with this. There's always more layers to peel back but it sounds like the big shift for you has just been learning this stuff. And like the the higher level, like the structures behind it, and how that has shown up in your own experiences and how that shows up for your clients and stuff like that?

Vysh Sivakumaran:

Definitely, definitely, I think if I was to add on the intersectionality piece of knowing that my own identity is full of multiple identities and understanding, right, the the, you know, white supremacy, understanding patriarchal value systems, understanding how that all plays into my own self worth, and why I may feed into diet culture right now, I'm giving myself grace and compassion. Whereas before I really blamed myself for all the wrongdoings right, so there was, there was a shift there, I think, early pandemic that gave me and it was already building up to it. But yeah, that really helped me as well. And diet, diet culture just falls into all that too.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, absolutely. I think that the the time of the pandemic, and obviously, all the other things that happened during the pandemic, you know, the peak of, you know, our awareness around white supremacy, and you know, how that was showing up and even classism, and capitalism, and like, all these other systems, and I think over the pandemic, really, like our awareness as a society of these things kind of peaked. And, like, you kind of get to a point where it's like, a diet culture is just upholding those things. And that's not compatible with my values. And so I have to look at how I'm doing things.

Vysh Sivakumaran:

Exactly, exactly. Yeah. GEORGE Floyd's, you know, murder. And then you'd like you said, there was this social justice movement, peak of everything. And, and for me, I didn't want it to just be a peak, I wanted it to stick with me. I wanted it to continue. So learning and understanding and kind of breaking down our old values and understanding okay, it is, it's not my fault that this is what this is what's happened, I want to I want to do better, though, how can I shift? How can I learn and keep moving?

Naomi Katz:

And you do, one of the big things that you focus on is diversity and inclusion and accessibility and fitness spaces? Right? Correct. Can you kind of tell us more about what you're doing in that space? And how you are sort of bringing those values into your space?

Vysh Sivakumaran:

Sure. Yeah. So I mean, the thing that I saw a lot with being at that corporate gym for in person for five years is that there isn't this level of accessibility, right in terms of I've had a lot of folks, maybe they were able to afford the gym membership, but they weren't able to afford the training, right, there was just not that there was no seeking, they're seeking the professional guidance, but couldn't couldn't make the time or couldn't have the financial resources. And so seeing that seeing a lot of folks that had had to sort of, they said no to me, or they walked away because of those concerns. I was like, Okay, well, now we're in the virtual world virtual space pandemics here. As soon as that started, I felt this need for especially for movement for our mental health, all that alone was enough of a reason to create fitness in place with and I did that actually with my partner as well. So it was helpful that we both were able to come from this personal training world where he's more of a bodybuilder. I'm more of a power lifter. And we came from two different types of fitness worlds, to then come in and say, Okay, let's provide accessible fitness with everyday household items. Let's move with a broomstick, let's move with with a backpack. Right? That was one piece, there was a shortage of right of equipment. And so we needed to improvise. And then the other piece was creating a space that was radically inclusive, that allowed us to really just show up as we are and not necessarily judge or shame each other, or allow for any fat phobic comments or transphobic comments, we are here to really find a way to even just be neutral, right? We don't we don't it's not even about positivity, or we got to, you know, pull each other up in these hard times. No, it's just we're gonna come here with the capacity that we have, and build some strength. Let's see what happens. Right. So that was another piece of, of the environment that we create. And that's why I think we are still around even two years later. We're not a trend anymore. We're here to stay through this process. Yeah,

Naomi Katz:

I think oh, God, people, I think crave those kinds of like inclusive spaces, even if they don't know like, once you experience it, it just feels like a safe place to be or a place that maybe allows you to access bravery for yourself and and things like that.

Vysh Sivakumaran:

Right. Right. Yeah. And it's, I mean, I do identify as an empath and even as a highly sensitive person. So I know that I've created these spaces. With that in mind that you know, there are not a lot of, you know, being out in the real world. The world isn't made for us in that way. If you're an empath. They're highly sensitive person. And and it is there's there's facts that show studies that show there's 20 to 30% of folks that are truly truly sensitive that need a little bit more and catering a little bit more, you know, hey, like, what are you feeling? How can we shift gears in a way that's constructive for you. And unfortunately, the fitness industry does not create that, that level of detail and intuitive style of training. So I'm just, again, I'm excited that I am in the position to be able to create these spaces, whereas, you know, five, six years ago, when I started my training, you know, I didn't even know if I would still be a trainer. So I'm still but I think I'm still here. And I, I'm glad, I'm glad it all happened the way it did.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. So I know that, you know, you're very passionate about diversity and inclusion, about body autonomy and things like that. And I would just, I would love to hear more about where fitness spaces are still lacking in these things and how you can kind of cultivate and be an ally for these things in in fitness spaces. Blacking wise,

Vysh Sivakumaran:

I, again, this level of like, of level of learning, right, like there was this D AI movement with a lot of companies there, there is a level of it being performative versus impactful. And, and so I, at the end of the day, if we're not continuously learning and making mistakes, there's always going to be a gap. And that's the part that I think if we can create, or at least honor that piece of, hey, I don't know everything, but I can do better for my clients, because we are we are servicing humans, right? So for, you know, an example of that is knowing that, you know, a person that is trans may enter a different bathroom than they than they think they should, and Elise allowing for that space to exist and saying, Hey, like, we understand that, and we're going to make it work with you, I don't necessarily have all the answers, but I want to help you feel comfortable in my space, physical space, or virtual space, I think there's a lot of work again, that the fitness industry can do to be more inclusive, it's as simple as that knowing that there are non binary bodies, knowing that not everyone has even a gender that they identify with. We do need to not just accommodate but be inclusive with these folks. So lacking lies, I think learning and education, we can do a lot more there. And again, thankful to your all yalsa podcasts and like, again, learning is is key for sure. So when it comes to your second question, you know, body autonomy, how do you cultivate that? How do you how do you give that to yourself and even within your communities? It definitely starts with yourself, right? I I just went through my own wedding this past June, and there was definitely some diet culture needs that was brewing inside me, I'm not the right size. I'm not fitting into my dress, what do I do? Where do I go. And so there, there's always these potential, you know, challenges that we face that we can say, Hey, I know better, I know what I need to do, I don't need to shame myself into fitting into this dress, I know I need to eat, I'm going to make sure I still give myself the food I need to function and to be able to exist and really be excited about my day versus fretting over over all of it. So again, it starts with yourself and then education, understanding what you can do and potentially hiring someone if there isn't enough of your own motivation or discipline to sort of learn more, you know, definitely look into educators like Niomi, like Sadie who can assist on that, because we can, we can learn a lot from from each other.

Naomi Katz:

Awesome. Yeah. So I know that you very much focus on creating these like safe trauma informed inclusive spaces. Do you feel like having a space like that is important for cultivating body autonomy that, like it's hard to access bodily autonomy without access to spaces like that?

Vysh Sivakumaran:

Yeah, I think I mean, I would say yes, I think when you don't have the foundation of being trauma informed and understanding the impact of white supremacy of the impacts of you know, potentially being an able bodied, white sis, individual, there are a lot of gaps that I know that I've felt in gym spaces where I'm like, I don't I don't feel seen. I don't feel accepted. I don't know if I belong, where do I go? I mean, and then I'm, you know, spending time there consistently feeling all these ways, but then trying to get a workout. How does that all fit into my experience? Right? So it doesn't it really doesn't I think that's why it is important to understand intersectionality and how our identities do provide benefits and they also provide disadvantages and and how that combination is different for everyone. And so from there, knowing these foundations that allows us to sort of know, find our sense of self, and then sense of self leads to a sense of body as well, with my trauma informed background that really cemented the understanding that those who are traumatized, which is quite a bit of us through the pandemic, to be honest, a lot of us have gone through something at some point. And that in itself, you know, we sometimes don't get the opportunity to understand how our sense of self is impacted by that trauma. So, in that respect, what I tried to do with fitness and place, what I tried to do with any fitness space I'm in is that I, again, try to create or offer an opportunity to come back to the sense of self, so you can honor your body needs, and body goals, and whatever that whatever your body autonomy is, yeah,

Naomi Katz:

oh my gosh, I love so much this linking of sense of self to sense of body. And I especially love that you put it where like sense of self comes first. And then leads into sense of body, I think a lot of times people want to flip that, or they make self and body the same thing. And like really recognizing that self is different. It's bigger. And it's maybe more important, like it comes first, it prioritized over a sense of body, and that you really can't heal how you feel about your body without healing that sense of self. That's so important.

Vysh Sivakumaran:

100% 100%, I know that I've gone through, I think, to my mid 20s, without a sense of self, and you know, still working on my body, but not really having a sense of self. It just didn't connect there. They are two different things, right? Our body is a physical thing where our sense of self isn't tangible, it's internal, right? Well, how do we navigate our own dialogue within ourselves? Are we treating ourselves compassionately through all the diet culture, you know, talk and the fitness industry toxic? Oh, you need to look a certain way to be valuable in this world. So it is two separate worlds that I do think need to be addressed. And like you said, the sense of self peace in it in my trauma informed course that I took with the Justice Research Institute in Boston, that the course really cemented that when one is going undergoing trauma, or has some level of trauma dynamics in their life, the the sense of self is lost or never created. And so that also shifts the whole piece that if it was never created, how do you get back to it? Well, then we start to allow the body to, to make decisions to make choices. So it does go back and forth between the body and between that sense of self, especially for one that hasn't had the opportunity to get that sense of self.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, there's that reciprocity, it's because the physical reality of our bodies is also going to really impact our ability to get that sense of self. So if like you were talking about how, like, sometimes you felt like you didn't belong in these spaces, and like how that like that you didn't see yourself in those spaces. And that that kind of hindered your ability to access that sense of self for a little while, too.

Vysh Sivakumaran:

Exactly. Exactly. Just validating. It's very validating when you know, your body deserves and needs things just as much as everyone else does.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And finding that sense of self allows you to recognize that like, even if you feel like your body doesn't belong, your self still deserves these things. Yeah,

Vysh Sivakumaran:

yes. And honestly, if I didn't pick up that weight in CrossFit times, when I back in the day, if I didn't, like learn that my body was strong, and that I didn't you know, that I didn't need validation from anyone else. I just needed my own. It started it really started there, to be honest, and then understanding the words behind it came in the, in the 2020 user a little bit before that as well with my psychotherapist with constantly trying to understand how can I, you know, give my sense of self a belonging feel every day versus just when I pick up those waves? So it's been a journey.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, and at this point, in your journey, you are like, there's there's a lot of signs that you do belong in the space these days, right. So I helped me if I missed anything, but you just one can fit pro fitness professionals a year. Right. And Forbes, the culture. You're a member of that, right? Correct. Yes. And these are some pretty big things. Is there anything I missed?

Vysh Sivakumaran:

No, no, those are the most recent, I think, yeah,

Naomi Katz:

yeah. So you know, can you talk a little bit about what it's been like to To be a part of these spaces, and what that sort of meant in terms of maybe showing other people that they belong in these spaces.

Vysh Sivakumaran:

Yeah, yeah. So I mean, when I, when I won the fifth special the Year award, I really didn't think I was going to win, I did call out the fitness industry, in my winning video of saying that, that I didn't belong, that the industry was dominated by fit enable white folks and that, you know, I'm going to create space, I don't if there isn't a spot for me at the table, let me at least create the space for myself and others. I know for a fact, a lot of other industries lack this representation of, you know, you name it, right curvy person, dark skinned person, trans person, there's, there's so many like big bodied person, there's just so many different types of models that we don't necessarily have or representation levels that we have. So for me, there was just this connection again, understanding, hey, the world isn't made for me, it isn't made for all of us equally. Let then if that's the case, then what do we do to now help the younger generations ourselves to then take up space or create space for ourselves? So when I put that video together and really took my shot, or, you know, what is the same? Shoot your shot? Yeah, when I when I did that, that was really, that was really me saying, like, you know what, I'm not going to stay silent here anymore. However, after winning the award, there was a lot of like, okay, well, I want it what does this mean? Right? I take up space, how do I continue to take up space? You know, and those are question marks, I'm still figuring out it's not one and done. And we're here. I, you know, I have to constantly work towards, again, fostering my sense of self, my sense of belonging, and then continuing to say, hey, I want to I want to create a better life for myself and my future generations of whoever kids or nieces and nephews, and I want to say, yeah, let me let me try let me do my best to do that. Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

You just spoke right at the canfitpro conference on diversity and on body autonomy, and, and on representation and stuff like that. And that's definitely going a long way towards opening up these spaces and taking up those spaces. That's pretty amazing.

Vysh Sivakumaran:

Thank you. No, I mean, yeah, that and that was, again, wasn't done by myself was super again, finding allies, like yourself, finding allies, other women of color, who are in the industry who want to speak on these matters. We're all we're there. There's so many of us out there. We're just now trying to connect and say, Hey, let's do better for for the industry. So I'm, again, super grateful to know folks like Rena, like Sam, who did the canfitpro panels with me and helped me also learn a lot too. And those process

Naomi Katz:

Yes. On your Instagram recently, you talked about how experiencing all this success within the fitness industry has brought up some feelings of impostor syndrome for you. And then also about kind of some analysis of impostor syndrome that you have been doing and how that's been helping you move past it. And I thought that was so so powerful. And I'm wondering if you can tell us a little bit more about how that's playing out for you and what you've been learning around that?

Vysh Sivakumaran:

Yeah, of course, of course. So, in case you didn't see that Instagram post, it was it was actually acknowledging that impostor syndrome was created without actually the context of people of color, the context of systems of power structures behind it, right. So when we, when we think of imposter syndrome, if you're not familiar with that term, it is feeling like an imposter, right? And thinking that, you know, you're an expert in the field, but but at the same time, feeling like you're a complete sham as well, at the same time. A lot of folks you know, we've we've learned like Maya Angelou, Albert Einstein, and a lot of folks have had this now understanding from like I said, from that point of view of okay, this was created without people of color mind without the marginalized folks in mind. Now I'm like, let's let's actually dissect this, there's a great article like I referenced it in that in that post by the Harvard Business Review, stating how it is more about these power structures, white supremacy, patriarchal capitalism, diet, culture, all of this is all coming together to sort of give us this mold of not feeling secure, potentially perpetuate this level of insecurities and and feed off of it right. So when we, when we know these contexts, the context of the greater world that we live in there for me at least that has provided this rewiring every day because it is a consistent every day where I sometimes do feed into it and then other days, I'm just like, Nope, I need to do better for myself and for my community, at the end of the day, I think imposter syndrome, what can we do about it, we can work through it, it's not something that's going to just completely go away, if that's what you identify with, or if you're just feeling insecure, and you're not sure why understanding these bigger systems of power structures of the world that we live in, it makes a huge difference in navigating it much more compassionately.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, oh my gosh, that's so it's so important. And I'm just gonna say powerful again, because I think a lot of people, especially when they start to see success in a field that is long been dominated by people who don't look like them, you get that really intense feeling of like, I don't deserve to be here, like I shouldn't be this successful, or whatever, and being able to step away from that and look at that bigger picture of like, what systems are telling me that? And do I buy into those systems? Or do I not buy into those systems? Right is huge. And I you know, I also love that you acknowledge that you're still that doesn't mean that you don't have the feelings anymore, it just means that you have the tools to step back and like coach yourself through it and offer yourself compassion for it and stuff like that.

Vysh Sivakumaran:

100% And of course, surrounding yourself with support systems that also get it because it it, I definitely fall my fall into so much some traps that where I'm like, Why Why didn't that work out? Where we know, what could I have done better? And it's just like, hey, maybe it's not you, maybe it is something bigger that you can't control. So we got to let you know, let go and accept and sort of move into the next next chapter of what we need to get done. The acknowledgement

Naomi Katz:

of how important community is within that is huge. Yeah.

Vysh Sivakumaran:

Yeah, I wouldn't be here without my community. 100%.

Naomi Katz:

So how can people work with you at fitness in place?

Vysh Sivakumaran:

Yeah, that's such a that's a good question. So when in terms of the the services I offer and and and the community offers, we have a one on one group and corporate section. So one on one, most of most of it is virtual, though I do offer in person as well here in Toronto. But that area of my training is something I truly do love allowing folks to sort of understand and have that personal route to regaining their sense of self and regaining their body, the group size is quite accessible. It is something that we do, we've been doing since the pandemic has started and continues to be a radically inclusive space with sliding scale memberships, and the ability to move as you can and with the capacity that you have. And then corporate as well, that is an another service that can be used if there's something that you feel like your business can utilize it. It's something that we have done last year with a local company here in Toronto and allowed them to sort of have a break in their day and get some movement in. It can be quite a great source of energy for folks to move together. Outside of that just in person gym spaces. I also create some classes and offers tailored classes to what gyms are looking for, with a trauma informed background. So yeah, just continuing to expand and see what else is out there. But yeah, those are the three areas main three areas. Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

So where can people find you if they want to learn more? Yeah,

Vysh Sivakumaran:

so website wise, WW dot fitness and place.net. That's our website. In terms of Instagram, it's fitness underscore in underscore place. You could find me on that or on my personal account, which is where I also post a lot of fitness and general motivation and even hardships as well. That would be a by vy, underscore, she underscore lifts, Facebook, a lot of stuff is on there too. If you if you type in fitness in place, you'll find us there too.

Naomi Katz:

Awesome. I'm glad that you are all you have also not entirely given up on Facebook just like me.

Vysh Sivakumaran:

Know, it's It's tough. It's tough. I know. But it's still there. I don't know if it'll ever go away. Yeah,

Naomi Katz:

yeah. Excellent. Well, Vijay, it has been amazing talking to you. You are just doing such wonderful things in the world. And I just I can't wait to see what comes next for you and and I hope that our listeners reach out and get to become a part of your amazing virtual community too.

Vysh Sivakumaran:

Yeah, thank you so much for having me. Thank you city. Thank you know me for having me on this opportunity to share what we do and and thank you both for creating a better safer space for a lot of folks to to exist in.

Naomi Katz:

Thanks again to Vice Eva Kumaran for that amazing conversation. We definitely all learned a ton from that.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh my gosh, me You too, especially since I wasn't able to be there for the interview, that was such a great podcast. And just a quick reminder, if you are interested in joining our podcast community the satisfaction space, be sure to visit the link in our show notes where you can get all the information and sign up. And if you would like to support us in other ways you can visit us on Instagram we are at satisfaction factor pod. And we always appreciate positive ratings and reviews in Apple podcasts, Spotify or any other place that allows you to leave a rating and review. That's it for us this week. We'll

Naomi Katz:

catch you next time.