I once believed that saying “yoga is for everyone” would be enough to somehow make the statement true. But it seems the more I learn, the less I know for certain.
I do believe yoga can be for everyone. But when I ask people why they don’t practice yoga, their answers are always the same:
- It costs too much.
- The schedule doesn’t line up with mine.
- It feels exclusive and intimidating.
- I am not fit/flexible/skinny/insert some idea of what a “yogi” looks like here.
- The studio communities are not diverse – who I am is not represented.
If I can read that list of barriers and resonate with none or only a few, then I hold the power and privilege, as both a student and teacher of yoga. If I know these barriers exist and I don’t work to break them down, I remain the problem.
Yoga is set up to benefit people just like me. And that will continue to be true, unless something changes.
I want to begin to make right what I’ve participated in making wrong.
This tension is largely why I have been uncomfortable teaching at a studio since returning from England. I’ve not yet found a studio here that models breaking down barriers and educating students on the importance of how we represent yoga in the world.
Likewise, I also don’t have the answers on how to do that well in a studio-based environment here in the US. Its done beautifully by Yoga Quota in the UK, a charity studio I was honored to be part of in Oxford.
Anyway, I’m embarking on something new— bringing the tools and tenets of yoga to people right where they are, as they are.
What I am offering is a flexible, virtual class. It’s private instruction at a more affordable cost. Sessions will balance breath-work, meditation, mindfulness, and the physical practice all in equanimity. My hope with the 1:1 format is that clients will feel safe, heard, and held as they embark on their yoga journey.
And then, hopefully clients will feel empowered to find a studio culture that welcomes, affirms, and champions all of who they are.
If you’ve ever wondered what yoga actually is, beyond what western culture represents, consider chatting with me.
I’d love to tell you what yoga has done, and continues to do for me.