See What We See: Regina / Wolf Medicine Magic

See What We See is a storytelling campaign focused on listening to queer voices that bring injustices to light in their own way. Whether it be via activism, writing, self-care, or simply by existence, the humans involved are using their life as a catapult for their community--however that may be defined--to ascend.

Regina Rocke, better known as Wolf Medicine Magic, is a queer body practicioner focusing on breathwork, yoga, Āyurveda, and a sense of well being in one’s own body. Through weekly free Instagram breathwork sessions and her Patreon offerings, her message is consistent: however your body presents itself today, it can be a source of abundance and peace if you are willing to work.

How has all of the physical work you've done for yourself helped you be more empathetic?
I am definitely someone who was born with an innate sense of empathy. I have no trouble accessing my feelings. Ever.  It isn’t something that I’ve had to work on expressing. What has changed however is expanding my understanding of what people need from me. My ability to really and truly understand that it’s my job to give people what they need; not what I think they need is so very important. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to meet people where they are at.

a podcast you told a story about a young student “correcting” your use of "om" even though they were clearly unaware of what they were talking about. How have experiences like that helped you become stronger in your own skin?
I would say that experience taught me how to take deep breaths and not go immediately to a “how dare you” defensive place of anger. I am not someone who isn’t strong in my skin or who has trouble speaking up. I don’t hold back and that’s probably my lifelong problem. The student who said that to me came across as entitled-  enforcing colonized, appropriative ideas around yoga and South Asian culture. I wanted to put them in their place but I had to do it with calm and compassion and I feel like I did that in that moment although it was admittedly very difficult.

Teaching people physically brings spiritual or mental feelings to the surface. Have you had the same experience? Are there any common themes that you help people work through?
Yes. I definitely have the same experiences. It’s my thought that so many feelings can come to the surface because the body can be a place of shame, anxiety, fear, grief, sadness, pain and avoidance with many people. This is the number one lesson I’ve learned as a teacher of movement. Many people have so much fear and past trauma around moving and connecting to their bodies that no wonder it’s hard for them to connect.  As someone who loves moving my body and feels absolute bliss when moving it has been a continual lesson to help people to get to a place of love and safety in their bodies no matter what their abilities.

How has your individual form of activism evolved over time? How do you see it evolving in the future?
I think my form of activism has become more subtle and refined since, say my 20’s. Spending so much time as a movement teacher and keeping negative, body-shaming talk out of that practice is very much a form of resistance and liberation. Surprisingly, body shaming was not a large part of my dance upbringing. Many of my peers were hardest on themselves if anything but I didn’t dance at any studios in which body shaming was a part of the culture. I grew up dancing with people of all shapes and sizes and although their parents were hard on them about their bodies, our dance teachers at the studio weren’t and I think that 100% has shaped how I teach now.

I definitely don’t assume people are in class to lose weight or “get in shape” and I think that helps keep it a safe space. I teach with the energy of encouraging everyone to be there to enjoy connecting to their bodies and that’s what I want to keep doing as a teacher as I enter my 40’s and notice how my own body shifts into this new decade of life.

What aspects of your outer self contribute to your overall narrative?
Good question… I think really, I’m just me. What you see is what you get meaning I am not obnoxious or deliver unsolicited opinions but I do get to the point and avoid mixed messages or vague replies. I say what I mean and mean what I say and I think that resonates with a certain type of person. A student left a review for my barre class over the summer that paraphrased said my classes are hard but not so hard that you don’t feel like you can do any of it.  I think that’s a good way to put it. I encourage people to find their edge and put into class what they need for that day.

What gives you hope?

It sounds a bit out there but I really do believe that life on Earth is one big lesson. We are in school here and sometimes it’s tough as hell and sometimes it’s a source of beauty and joy. I sometimes remind myself of that belief if my thoughts start to spiral into how fucked up things appear to be. If that starts to happen I’ll take a moment to breathe deeply and remind myself that in the moment I am fine, I am loved and everything will unfold the way it’s supposed to be. I try not to get angry over things I can’t control.

You can find Wolf Medicine Magic on Patreon and Instagram.

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