I have been teaching yoga consistently since I received my teacher certification in May of 2015. Just the other day I was on my way to class and thought, “Why do I teach?” What is the purpose behind me showing up several times a week to guide students through breathing and movement practices? What is the end goal? No matter how passionate you are about something, there are times when you need to go back to the drawing board to recall why it all matters.
In 2014, I was working with a therapist who helped me see possibilities where previously I had not. During our time together, we discussed how important it was for me to create healing spaces that were inclusive and accessible to everyone. Having taken numerous group classes where I was the only person of color, I know what it is like to enter a space and not feel welcomed. I still feel this in some of my classes where in my role as the teacher, I am the only person of color. This is not to say that I’ve experienced numerous accounts overt racism however, discrimination does not have to be obvious in order to be impactful. It can be subtle and unintentional and still have negative effects. Feeling unseen in spaces where I was seeking refuge inspired me to create different experiences for others who otherwise may similarly feel out of place.
According to conversations I have had with women of color, I am not the only one who feels uncomfortable walking into what appears to be all-white spaces. You learn to deal with it because it is not the first time it’s happened and it won’t be the last yet, discomfort often continues to bubble beneath the surface. How nice would it be to walk into a healing space and see your reflection? Not only in your white brothers & sisters but in the eyes of your black and brown ones too.
My intention for teaching yoga is to hold space for those seeking to unlearn the countless ways we have internalized oppression. Starting with the way we think, perceive, feel and act. I share this practice & seek to hold space for my community because there are others like me that find it hard to embrace Self in spaces that lack diversity & inclusion. I have offered donation based classes because I believe we are worthy of well-being regardless of our race, class, gender, and socioeconomic status. I teach yoga because I am committed to spiritual + sacred activism.
Big love to whoever is meant to receive this. I hope to meet you on the mat.