Three cops showed up when this woman asked to use the bathroom at a local yoga studio.
Yesterday I met a sister who was demoing how to make fresh juice at a wellness fair I attended.
We started talking and I told her that I owned a yoga studio.
That led her to share her experience at local Atlanta studios with me.
She told me that her most recent experience at a studio ended with her son and self being profiled… Like cops called on- profiled -because they “fit” the description of a couple that was going around the city stealing from studios.
What she didn’t know is that I knew the “description” of the couple because I had been forwarded several disturbing emails (that I’ve yet to be able to process or respond to) with “descriptions” earlier this year when the thefts started happening in our yoga community.
I memorized the description because it could easily be me and my husband or some day, me and my son.
I looked at this woman and her son. I seen, really seen her. Not just her profile.
Just like me and my family, they didn’t fit the description in any way, except they were Black.
I know that we will comment that this is terrible and shouldn’t happen. We will be sorry. We will ask, what to do.
Some might ask where and who did this. (My answer for that is everywhere… in our institutions, minds, and hearts.) Some in community who have heard about this may DM me and tell me the “version” of this they heard…
I don’t share this because I have any particular answer or need any of that today.
I share this story to ask us to reflect on our bias and how it continues to show up and be fortified in our yoga spaces vs. exposed, challenged, and dismantled.
I share it to invite yoga studio owners to pause and think about who and what greets people from the moment they walk through the door-
How are we prepared and trained to “guide” people that we don’t “really” interact with beyond screens and “descriptions”.
I share it to invite yoga teachers to keep looking around their classes and see who is and isn’t there and ask why and what it means. What does it say about you, not the other?
I share it to remind every Black and Brown Yoga studio owner and teacher that we have a particular call and journey to rise to. It is 1000 times more challenging, and yet 100000 times necessary.
The mountain is growing as we walk it. So does my faith, strength, and clarity.
So does my why.
As heavy as my sister’s story was/is, it served as a passage for me. The gaping wound affirmed this:
My work matters.
Dr. Gail Parker your work matters. Jana your work matters. Maya your work matters. Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts your work matters. Vanya your work matters. Rachelle your work matters. Ona Hawk your work matters. Ka Rissa your work matters. Kemiko your work matters. Jasmine your work matters. Kiesha your work matters. Kelley your work matters. Robin your work matters. Marla your work matters. Crystal your work matters. Arturo your work matters.
This is an uncharted path for us and our owning it. our defining it. our being “bout it”. our work matters.
We are each other’s breath.