Our Yogi in the Community is a fearless woman who recognized a gap in the yoga community in terms of the disproportionate number of People of Color represented in yoga and took action. Unbeknownst to me, Sariane Leigh and I actually connected in Grand Central Station in NYC during a yoga photo shoot with my former business partner and friend Cynthiain 2005.
I had to share Sariane’s story because of her commitment to share the images and stories of those who are often silenced. Please take a moment to be inspired and learn more about individuals who are contributing to and changing this world one breath at a time.
Name: Sariane Leigh
Location: Washington D.C.
Hometown: Baltimore/ Pumphrey, Maryland
Why do you practice yoga? I practice yoga because I need to thrive and survive. I practice yoga because it is fun and every time I get on my mat, I learn something new! Yoga functions as a reconnecting thread, linking me to the infinite power. I practice yoga because I love the body that God has given me.
Can you talk a little about your tumblr page? What inspired you to start it?
My tumblr is a visual journey of my experience with colorful and committed yogis. I am inspired by my Black yoga heroes like Maya Breuer, Faith Hunter, Takeyah Young, Zaccai Free and Terence Olivierra. These instructors are very warm, compassionate and they have helped me to build a solid practice. Yet, I noticed that with the exception of Faith Hunter, few people acknowledged amazing instructors of color in the “mainstream yoga world”. So I thought, why wait for someone else to notice Black Yogis? Let’s celebrate us on our own terms!
AnacostiaYogi is more about a mindset, and less about race or color. I meet soulful yogis that run the gamut. They want what we all want in our practice, to be welcomed and acknowledged! I started blogging on www.anacostiayoga.com to explore yoga in my neighborhood in DC. I later focused on only yoga in my a tumblr. The next level is an online magazine representing diversity within yoga!
Why do you feel that there is the need for spaces like this for People of Color who practice yoga?
For the first 3 years of my yoga practice, I never stepped foot into a yoga studio. Everything I learned came from books, private instruction and my own home practice.
So when I finally returned to DC in 2005 and walked into a real “yoga studio”, I couldn’t believe the isolation and cold reception of yoga studios. I realized that yoga was infected by the bug of commericialism and capitalism. If I felt it, then I knew other yogis of color felt the same.I also noticed the dearth of diverse images within the yoga scene. I actively sought out caring instructors who put their ego aside to help me grow.
How has yoga influenced the way you participate in the World? Yoga makes me a better servant to the world. I am a better homegirl, sister, employee, lover and global citizen. All because yoga digs into the nuts and bolts of our spiritual being. I see my ego. I do my best to step outside of myself as a witness. I am learning to accept that most people are doing the best they can with what they have.
If you could describe your yoga practice in one word, what would it be? Fluid
Attention: All the Colorful Yogis around the world send Anacostia Yogi any events, workshops, Teacher training, and images to share on the AnacostiaYoga Blog and AnacostiaYogi Tumblr. Let the world know that your unique services exist!
If you are interested in staying in touch with Sariane Leigh and Anacostia Yoga, you can connect with her on:
Twitter: Anacostia Yogi
and Official Website: www.anacostiayoga.com