In this essay, Jalisa shares her memories of some common stereotypes that we sometimes run into within the yoga community. Thankfully, many people don’t share the view of Jalisa’s co-worker! How blessed are we to be able to share our stories in an effort to educate those that do share his misguided assumptions? Enjoy!
“You? You do yoga? I didn’t know black people did yoga.” laughed a bystander as I was expressing to a coworker my new-found hobby over a year ago.
In disbelief I politely turned and said,
“I must’ve missed that memo. I never knew yoga had a racial profile.”
Now embarrassed, he began stumbling over his words, not wanting to be labeled as a “racist”. He looked around the office, I guess just now realizing that he was in a room full of women and men of color, and quietly turned back around to his computer to continue his work.
Since then, I have encountered a few doubters and nay sayers but never once has that diverted me away from my personal goal – which is to maintain a healthy lifestyle while sharing my passion for yoga. Showing women that you don’t have to be stick thin to practice yoga. A very common stereotype in the area that I’m in.
Now exactly one year later, I’m still deepening my practice and feeling better than ever. I’ve lost almost 15 lbs, dropped 3 dress sizes and am developing more strength and flexibily every time I hit the mat. I’ve shared my practice with one of my best friends who is now practicing on a regular basis and is a constant partner, participating with me in acroyoga.
Currently, I am connecting with members in the Nashville area to provide an outreach for beginner yogis of color. Members of all races are welcome, but from what I’ve been hearing there alot of people that are to intimated to attended a class because they are the only person of color in the whole room.
Follow Jalisa to find out more about her quest!