Tales of a Brown Yogi

It’s been a little over three years since I discovered yoga and despite my initial resistance, I can’t say enough how much yoga has changed my life. Coming from an Evangelical Christian background, I admit I had always given yoga the side eye. I mean seriously, all that oming and what the hell were they really saying in Sanskrit? That said a desire to manage my anxiety in a way that truly felt good and worked gave me the desire to at least try it. My first classes were the non-physical ones, yoga nidra which eventually lead me to trying the physical classes. I can honestly say now that for the first year, I probably only put about 50% of myself into the classes, as I can admit now I was still scared…not even sure what I was scared of but I was scared. Yet over time even only giving half of myself to the process, I started to see noticeable changes in how I handled life, so much so that eventually I decided maybe there really was something to this yoga stuff.

I admit being a Black woman who takes yoga in a pretty homogenous place can be interesting at times. For the longest time I had this sense that people were probably wondering why are you here? Hell, even I wondered but continued to chug on and for that I am grateful. Of course as I surrendered myself to more than just the physical poses but to the mental piece, I realized no one really cared what color I was and if they did, just screw em!

However I admit there are times when I do think clearly yoga was not designed for those of us who tend to not be rail thin and lithe. Can I just admit that certain poses are ummm interesting for those of us who are blessed in the ass and hip departments. Don’t even get me started on so-called yoga clothing; I have yet to find a yoga outfit that won’t ride up when I am bent over. I keep joking someone needs to come up with yoga gear for well-endowed ladies, in the meantime layering with a long tank top and a t-shirt seems to keep me from giving a peep show in class.

Last week I had a breakthrough when I decided to take an evening class at the studio I go to, morning classes tend to have more casual practitioners, but as I joked with my teacher the evening classes have the vibe of “I am a serious yogi”. For a moment I was intimidated as I was the heftiest gal in the class and suddenly self-conscious, never mind that for the past year my teacher has been telling me I was capable of taking the advanced classes, it was still a mental block.

The thing with yoga which I love is that while yes, the focus for many is just on the poses and how good the physical piece feels, when you give yourself over to your breath, it takes on a dimension that is so much higher. Ultimately it’s that piece which keeps me coming back, so no matter how awkward I may initially feel, I know that’s my mind trying to take me to a place I have no business going and instead focus on my breath.

Yeah, yoga is sort of trendy and hip, but at the same time, it can be whatever you want it to be, and since I am not a hip or trendy gal, I take the gifts that have been passed down and use them to make my time on this rock a little less anxious.


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