This is something that has been on my heart since I experienced Wanderlust a couple of weekends ago, so I thought this is the perfect place to flush out my thoughts and organize it for me to look back on it later.
Yoga is expensive…sort of. I came from a dance studio background where I was in class 4 days a week having a teacher help me tweak my technique and expand my horizons when I mastered something. So to me, it’s natural to embark on a new adventure and seek the guidance of a teacher.
When I started my yoga journey 6 months ago, a studio was a non-negotiable for me. I know about body lines, but I needed help to know what “right” felt like and how to breathe and thing after thing after thing. This was a foreign practice to me and I needed the help to get started and stay invested, motivated and focused.
Not everyone has the resources to be able to do this. Out of the gate I spent $150 on 10 class cards to test the studio out. I love my little studio and it’s still very new and running specials, so I went forth and took advantage of some of the deals. $99 for a month of unlimited followed by $45 for a month of unlimited. So far so good. Then came reality when I had to pay the full $129 for a month of unlimited. It rubbed me the wrong way. Then, they canceled my Ashtanga class as I was pondering spending the money for a year of unlimited for $1200 up front. That reduced my classes by 4 a month, so I settled for $75 for 6 classes a month, which works well for me so far.
I know I am paying to help keep the lights on and the instructors knowledge, wisdom and expertise, but what about the people that have not been introduced to the practice in such a pure way? What about the people that NEED to have a healthy outlet to stress, but they have been priced out of knowing how to do that?
Being a black girl that grew up in the burbs, I’m used to be around all types of people, so for me to be the only black person in a class, is not intimidating to me. That is not the same for others that were raised in the city or surrounded by other black and brown people that looked like them predominately. Yoga magazines only portray the flexible, young, thin, fit, white woman. While representation for people of color is on the upswing, it certainly is not the standard.
Seeing everyone in their Ray-Bans and $100+ dollar Lululemon and K-deer gear at Wanderlust made me think, where is the inclusion? To attend classes regularly and get the “best” yoga gear takes money. Maybe this is why I am choosing to further my practice by trying to ignore the “stuff” that I “need” to practice. While I could afford some of those finer things, I don’t feel like that is what my practice is about.
As I gain more knowledge and depth in my practice, while I have no intention of teaching, I would like to try to be a force in the movement to get more people of color involved in yoga and show them that they can have affordable yoga through rec centers, You Tube (which has been clutch for me in the absence of my Ashtanga class), and creating flows of their own. I want them to know that they should have access to wellness and stress release just like everyone else. Especially for communities that statistically struggle with obesity and high blood pressure.
My practice is not for stunting on others and wearing the cutest/most expensive outfit. My practice is not for the attention (my IG is for support more than anything, I don’t care who sees it…lol) and my practice is not for exclusion.
My practice is to be the best me I can be so I can continue to shine my light in the world and be a joy to others. My practice is to be an example (as I have been in most of my life) of a black girl that can live her life and do what she loves regardless of the shade of color of other faces in classes. My practice is about self-love, finding and creating a tribe that includes a rainbow of colors and of course working on strength and that damn flexibilty.
I can do all of that in the leggings that I scored at TJ Maxx for $17.99 and my ACL ’09 tee shirt tied in a cute little knot. 🙂