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Changing the Flow: A Black Yoga Teacher’s Perspective on Inclusivity

This Black History Month, I’m reflecting on my journey as a Black yoga teacher and my role in fostering a more inclusive and diverse wellness industry. Yoga, a practice rooted in unity and self-discovery, often mirrors the wider challenges and triumphs of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in our society.

Regrettably, the wellness industry is not immune to challenges of inclusion and diversity. As a Black yoga teacher, I am driven by my experiences of feeling like I didn’t fit in when I first got into yoga to ensure everyone feels welcome in my classes. A recent Yoga Journal post on Instagram featuring Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts highlighted the reality of what it means to be a Black yoga teacher. Even with a decade of teaching, she regularly faces students doubting her role. Comments like the one that read, “DEI is ruining the game,” underscores the resistance to inclusivity.

Yoga symbolizes union, yet achieving true unity is impossible without addressing the DEI challenges within our community. Committed to making everyone, regardless of background, feel seen, heard, and valued on their mat, I was inspired to create a platform for sharing these often overlooked stories.

The “Black on the Mat” podcast stands as a testament to the power of visibility and voice. Co-hosted with Saisha of Thick Thigh Yoga, this platform transcends mere practice sharing; it’s where we celebrate diversity and foster belonging. Each episode is dedicated to illuminating the unique experiences of Black yoga teachers and practitioners, emphasizing the need for representation and culturally sensitive teaching.

DEI in the yoga community, and indeed across all sectors, should resemble a mosaic—varied, inclusive, and reflective of the diverse world we inhabit. It’s about crafting spaces where everyone can flourish, embracing their whole selves in both practice and profession. As we continue to challenge norms and pave new paths, we must remember that DEI is more than a policy or program; it’s an ongoing practice requiring dedication, empathy, and active engagement.

Join us on the “Black on the Mat” podcast, a space for the Black community interested in yoga and our allies keen to bridge the gap towards true union within the yoga community.

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