Is this for me? And other FAQ's

Sparkle Thornton, founder and yoga teacher, on YoGay:

You know how trans & queer people may avoid going to yoga classes because they anticipate feeling self-conscious about their bodies or vulnerable about their identities?

It is my dream to provide a space where trans & queer people can walk into a yoga session and feel understood.

As a transgender woman interested in social justice and providing yoga to my own community, we can jump right into the excitement of learning and sharing healing through our own experience.

This retreat is an LGBTQQIAAP inclusive space. If you don't see your identity listed please don't hesitate to ask us to include it.

For more on Sparkle's inspiration behind YoGay check out this video.

Is the yoga going to be hard?


I'm new to yoga- should I come?


I have an injury. Can I participate? 

The yoga classes are going to be all levels. We've had many new to yoga queers in the past, and we are anticipating having new folks as well as seasoned practitioners. 

If you have specific needs as a yoga practitioner (such as I'm brand new to yoga, have limited mobility, have tight hamstrings, am very experienced/flexible and need to be challenged, I want to move faster/slower than the group, etc.) read on...

The good news: We all want you to have the best possible practice! Please give yourself complete permission to move faster/slower. This is how we celebrate diversity on the Yogay mat. And communicate your needs to the teacher and assistant teacher (if applicable) before class. 

Food for thought: Yoga is traditionally taught 1 on 1 and not in a group setting. Group practice is more about community. And in our modern, western world group practice is the norm due to capitalism and the need to make money while teaching yoga. This is unavoidable. Group classes would only be completely effective if every student had the exact same needs... which has never happened. In my years growing up and studying yoga over the past 15 years, I consider a class successful if I learn one thing about myself, alignment, philosophy or my body. 

If you have an injury or any other needs please contact yogay retreat at gmail before registering.

Why Orr Hot Springs?


What about accessibility? 

We have decided to return to Orr Hot Springs in 2017 for our 3rd year because everyone loved it. We don't rent out the entire grounds so there will be non-retreat goers in the pools. Some of us may wear bathing suits/ swimwear/ gender-kini's and some won't. Either way is fine. All restrooms are single stall and gender neutral. 

Orr Hot Springs keeps the numbers pretty low so it will probably feel like we are the only ones there,  however we still must talk quietly in the pools and respect Orr's rules for spaces that require meditative silence. The bottom floor of the 'Creekhouse' will be our private social space for yoga, hanging out and dancing over the weekend.

For maps and info about accessibility, please visit their website. There are ramps to the hot tubs and accessible restrooms. The creekhouse bedrooms have stairs and are the closest to our yoga space. The yurts are just a slightly father walk and most have stairs. Camping is the longest walk with a slight incline. There is car and van parking right by the creekhouse if needed. There is space to make specific access requests on our registrant form. Please reach out to us if you have any additional questions at yogay retreat at gmail

While we do not have the capacity to organize the carpools, when you register there will be an option to request or offer rides. We will share the info with you so you can self-organize.

Is there a carpool?

What about cultural appropriation?

 In order to honor the culture and traditions of Yoga that have brought me personal healing as a white queer, transgender woman, my commitment is to learn what has not been passed down to me, while teaching what I have embodied. I have a lot left to learn.

I've never been to India (because I can't afford it) or learned from an Indian Yoga Teacher. My teachers have been white, mostly women in their 30's and 40's and very outspoken, inspiring people I've been lucky to be around over the past 15 years. I'm doing my best to transmit the teachings as they have been taught to me, as a therapeutic practice full of hope while doing my best to acknowledge privilege and injustice and to work towards justice in my own life. 

As trans, queer and gender non-conforming people I believe we need all the hope we can get. I don't use Sanskrit when I teach, or try to incorporate Indian Religious ideas beyond the sound of Om to close each class. To me the sound of Om (or aum) is a sound of welcoming, a joining of our common experience through our voices. 

I practice and teach a western, stylized version of yoga coming from my study of Anusara, Vinyasa Flow and Yin Yoga. Although I have thousands of hours of yoga training and study my experience is limited to the systems I was trained in and my own life experience.

Yoga has a multitude of aspects from lifestyle practices, meditation to yogic sleep.  As a bodyworker, with a bias toward embodiment, whose life was changed through the physical practice of yoga (asana), it is therapeutic alignment in Yoga postures that I teach. Through my instruction you will be receiving just a small piece of a wide spiritual philosophy. If you are interested in learning yoga that has a stronger lineage or maintains traditional elements like mantra, yantra, deity worship, ritual, or the learning of sanskrit, please don't hesitate to reach out for a reference (however, such resources are rarely queer and/or trans). If you are interested in exploring the limitations and joys of your own body through yoga asana, creative movement in a safe environment for trans and queer bodies, I'd love to work with you. 




For more reflections on yoga and cultural appropriation, check out our reading guide below.

We welcome your additions. yogay retreat at gmail. 

 Check out this  video  by nisha ahuja.

Check out this video by nisha ahuja.