How has yoga changed your life?
Yoga has helped me to appreciate me. It has taught me that I can be happy now and that the true work has to come from the inside. Before yoga I was living outside of myself. I believed that things just happened to me and that I had little control over what was going on in my life. My yoga practice gave me strength and the courage to be unapologetically me. I am happier, healthier and excited about all of the growth ahead
Being that you are one of the few Black entrepreneurs in the yoga industry, do you feel that you have inspired other people of color to practice yoga?
I can say yes because I do meet so many people who have told me that! I am always humbled to hear that I am an inspiration but this was my mission when I first began teaching – inspire people of color to do yoga. Everyone can benefit from doing yoga. It is life changing and empowering. Through my book and social media outlets I hope to continue to inspire and spread the message.
What are some ways you would suggest to get more people of color involved in yoga?
It is important to decide what you need from your yoga practice – mentally, physically, spiritually. What people don’t always realize is that there are literally hundreds if not thousands of styles of yoga
I created my own style of yoga called Jiivana Yoga®. Jiivana is the Sanskrit word for life and my philosophy is that yoga should be a tool that is incorporated into your life to bring balance. So students are encouraged to practice not only on the mat but to take positive lessons from the mat into their lives. If one class doesn’t work for you, then try another.
Many people of color are hesitant to try yoga because they believe it is a religion and will compromise their belief system. Yoga a health system, a method for attaining better health through balancing mind, body and spirit. The main thing you should believe in to do yoga, is yourself.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to reach much more people and teach them how they can live their yoga. In addition to expanding the yoga and wellness spaces, I also see a 5 acre organic farm. I would like to [own] a co-op and I dream of having children come to learn about healthy eating and grow something at the farm so they can really see where food comes from and appreciate eating something healthy that they grew themselves.
I’m in the process of putting together my book YES Yoga Has…Curves to show that there is a variety of female body types in yoga and many of the models are African American teachers. It is my hope that this will open up the doors for more women to explore yoga and hopefully become teachers.
In the next year envision traveling all over the world with my family in tow, teaching classes, trainings and sharing my story in hopes of inspiring more people of color to take control of their health, let go of stress and live the happy life they deserve.