A little over a year ago, I started my yoga journey and teacher training with a vision to make this practice accessible to survivors of sexual trauma and people of color. Even though I'm still one of the least flexible people I know, this is the most at home I've ever felt in my body.
I taught my first class exactly two months ago, the same day our first ever People of Color Sangha Yoga & Meditation group was launched in Long Beach. Someone else was supposed to teach, but she got sick last minute and I couldn't find any substitute under such notice, especially a yogi of color - which forced me to finally take my practice out of my living room and into the community. It was the Universe's way of saying, "IT'S TIME!" Considering I had spent the last 7 months being surrounded by gymnasts at a pole and aerial studio (story for another time), I was nervous that people would think I wasn't good enough to teach. However, it turns out that majority of attendees had never even taken a yoga class before! Then I remembered, this is why I came into this practice. Because yoga in the Western world has become equated to middle-upper class cisgender able-bodied skinny white women with flexibility and an expensive studio membership in a hip gentrified neighborhood, there still exists this stigma that yoga is not for every body. And while I still can't do the splits, I am grateful to provide a space for people of color to reclaim what yoga means to them.
I'm still expanding my community of yogis of color in Long Beach, but in the meantime I hope you can join me on Thursdays, 6PM-7PM at the MAYE Healing Center in Cambodia Town for gentle yoga, followed by meditation and Dharma Sharing from 7PM-8:30PM! Yoga allows our mind to take a break from overthinking, and to prepare our bodies for meditation. The teachings we explore as a sangha (community) are greatly influenced by Thich Nhat Hanh and other Dharma teachers who practice Engaged Buddhism. When we learn to sit together as a collective, imagine how much more powerful we can be in movement.
Also, you will not find spiritual bypassing in our circle - a topic for another time. :)