Name: Briana Young-Roane
Location: Raleigh, NC
Home town: Inglewood, CA
What led you to practice yoga? I originally found yoga after a dance injury in college as a way to recover. However I didn’t actually start taking the practice serious until about 03’. It was a way for me to escape and find something that was mine. I started going regularly and fell in love with my teacher. She changed the way I thought about my body, the connection with my spirit and my skin. It was like magic had been missing from my life. It filled the void of the physical lost of dance, but gave me so much more on a spiritual and emotional level.
What tips do you have for beginners who are starting a practice? Yikes, this question scares me. I’m so invested in the practice of yoga I find myself being a stickler for rules.
- First thing would be to do your research. There are so many different styles that offer a different experience, and it’s important that you find what works best with who you are.
- Second, would be to try different instructors after finding the style you like. Instructors are like ice cream, we come in a variety of different flavors and we bring that into our practice. You may not like one, but the other instructor might be the perfect fit.
- Third, commit! Practice when you don’t want to. Practice when you need to. Practice, practice, practice. Last, your practice shouldn’t just be physical asanas. Practice mediation, practice journaling, practice self reflection, and then practice the physical postures.
How important is it for you to see your image reflected in the media when it comes to yoga?
Vital! I have been teaching since 07’ and it still surprises students when I walk into the room, and introduce myself as the instructor. It’s important that our image be exposed to our own community. There are so many preconceived notions about the practice of yoga and then miseducation of religion that even our own community is uninformed. Yoga is like healthy eating, most people of color think it’s unobtainable to their daily lives. The only way to change this is to kick down the door. Open the world of the practice to everyone, not just the people who can afford $18 classes. It sucks that I still attend workshops, conferences, and trainings and I am usually the only Black person in the room. Sometimes I’m the only Black person most of my clients know. I have two little girls who think the world is filled with rainbows and endless possibilities, and I want them to always feel that way. That can only happen if we (African Americans) are in everything, doing everything, and being everything.
What keeps you coming back to the mat?
Sanity! I’m completely lost in the world most of the time. I’m emotionally affected by everyone and everything I touch. I’m a daydreamer and wrapped in universal magic, so unrolling my mat or just dropping into downward facing dog on the kitchen floor makes life understandable. Yoga keeps coming back to me, I don’t control it. It’s crazy, but I know it was destined for me. In one of my favorite books to re-read it states: “Nothing happens in the world according to our will; that is definite. Everything in the universe occurs in accordance with the will of the Universal Self, not man’s desires.” – Yoga Mala
How can people work with you? Do you have any events/classes coming up in your area? I offer Private Sessions, Classes, Retreats and Workshops. Currently, I have two workshops coming up in the next few months (March & April). I teach free classes at Athleta in Raleigh. I teach regular classes during the week in Raleigh and I have a Weekend Retreat happening in August in Matthews County, VA.