There is always someone, somewhere that I go, telling me or alluding to the idea that something is wrong with my blackness. I break a lot of stereotypes and I actually find a thrill in that. One of the many stereotypes that I don't fit is that "Black Folks Don't Do Yoga".
Exercise in general is lost on me, but I work in a fairly stressful job and while I enjoy it, need to release a lot of the stress and tension that can build up and make you sick and forgetful. So, I made only one new year's-y resolution kind of thing and that was to go to yoga.
Fortunately, my neighbor who is in the know in our community, has a friend in the community that just grew into a new yoga location near our home. I really like the space, it's my style. Spacious, clean, nicely lit and modern without being showy. The owner and instructor (same woman)- the only one I've had since the start of the year - is fabulous for me and is okay with me laughing at my non-yoga self.
Maybe this is the black part of the whole thing for me, but I really, really enjoy the shavasana at the end of the class. It is my favorite. You get a scented pillow to put over your eyes - don't forget the tissue, we don't want your eye crusties and junk - and you lay on your mat and the instructor plays great music and she stands still and silent and you just shavass (is.that.a.word?) or just lay there. May seem foolish to pay all that cash to stretch, contort and then power nap, but it's not gonna happen in my house and certainly not on my own.
I would probably fall out in the floor if I walked into the studio and saw one other black person there, but I still go. It's the community I live in, I'm supporting small business and I usually feel great after I leave. The fact that I am the only is nothing new, I'm used to that. I can admit that I don't think of inviting any of my other black friends with me to the class and I haven't actively sought out an environment where they may be more black folks.
Yep, I smiled too. Considering an all black yoga class. Would there be any yoga? A sister cooking that good food while the class is going on, it'll be ready right after - all that work, we gotta go head and eat.
You saw the video. She couldn't resist making noise. I don't want to do all of that. And our instructor doesn't ever have us humming and/or chanting, I wouldn't be into all of that. I'm trying to be quiet and still and learn about how my body works and am already self conscious as it is, yoga is hard and humbling and I like to be really good at stuff I try right away. The last thing I want to do is while I'm also make sure that I'm breathing properly (in and out or out and then in, it is actually hard to remember) be humming/chanting at the same time. TOO MUCH.
For right now, I think I am in the right place bringing my blackness to the group. I'm a speck, but I'm there.
Now if I could just make it there every week...