This week’s Yogi in the Community is Tie Simpson! I had a great time learning more about Tie as she talked about developing a home practice, diversity, and the presence of yoga in social media. Tie even offers great suggestions for beginners who are interested in developing a yoga practice on a budget. Enjoy this brilliant light and Happy Tuesday!
Name: Tie Simpson
1. How long have you been practicing yoga?
I’ve been practicing yoga since July- August of 2013. So approximately, 6 months.
2. What led you to your practice? What type of yoga do you practice? Well for a while, I was mainly focusing on meditation. At the time, I didn’t know what I was doing was actually considered a form of yoga, Pranava Yoga. I would chant a mantra, mainly “Aum” while focusing on my breathing, clearing my mind all together, or channeling my thoughts only on something that I needed to mentally tackle.
I attempted my first IG yoga challenge in June 2013, and had a blast. Initially I’d only done the challenge because it looked challenging and fun. I love a good challenge. After it was done, and a month went by, I remembered how alive I felt in the month of June. I wanted that feeling back. I’ve been doing it almost every day since. I initially adopted Hatha Yoga, and it’s still one of my favorites because I can combine asanas, breathing (pranayama) techniques, and mediation. The ones I do most often are Ashtanga (Power), Iyengar, and Bikram yoga. Sometimes I combine them, other times I just focus on one at a time. One I haven’t tried but appeals to me is Baptiste Yoga. I plan to try it soon.
3. How important do you think it is to see diverse images practicing yoga?
I think it’s important to see diverse images in any form of exercise and health because it sometimes appears that African Americans aren’t health conscious and that just isn’t true. Within the yoga arena, it is still an uncommon practice in mainstream African American culture. That’s why websites like yours is important, to break those barriers. People like to be able to identify, and when seeing people that “look like you” doing something that you haven’t done before, you’re more susceptible to trying it. We need to show that yoga is not a “color” thing. It’s about health of mind, body, heart, and spirit. It’s not just a life-style, it’s a life-changer.
4. How does social media platforms like Instagram support or inspire your yoga practice? Instagram has had a major impact on my yoga practice. In fact, it’s how I began practicing yoga. Following the right people can really help motivate and enhance your practice; however, you have to be sure not to fall into ego traps with social media. It can begin to feel like a competition if you’re not careful. You have to keep in mind that your practice is exactly that, YOUR practice. Yoga is a personal journey and sometimes social platforms can hinder that if you begin to compare your practice to that of someone else’s. I have had to remind myself of this every now and again, and remember why I do yoga.
As long as you keep those things in mind, your practice will nourish so much more with the help of the Instagram yoga community. I’m definitely a better yogi because of it. I honestly don’t think I’d be as far as I am without them. It has also allowed me to make great connections with so many amazing yogis, and develop great friendships on and off the internet. I’m even hosting IG challenges now. I hope to soon get licensed, and start hosting workshops and teaching classes. Yoga is definitely my passion. It would be amazing to do yoga for a living.
5. What advice do you have for people who want to practice yoga but may not have the resources to attend classes regularly? Great question….Ironically, I’m 100% self-taught. I am a real life example of what consistent practice, persistence, and motivation looks like. I’m a stay-at-home mother of two small children, so personally I didn’t have the time, or finances to attend classes on a regular basis. Going to classes are great, and very beneficial. You have someone there to tell you when and how to breath, correct your alignment, support and push you, and even assist your calm or meditative state. When at home, it can be a bit more challenging to do those things, however; there are also benefits to doing it at home. You can flow at your own pace and you don’t have the feel or worries competitiveness with other yogis. You can pick how you choose to run your practice and adjust it to your own desires and needs for that particular day.
For my personal practice, I use a variety of yoga outlets for assistance. Sometimes with a little work, I can find places, or parks that are hosting free classes. The IG community has had a huge influence in my practice. When I first began, I found yogis who hosted challenges that were geared towards beginners. I chose the ones that had step by step instructions for proper alignment. I also downloaded yoga apps that offered classes and tips. Youtube also has some awesome channels that teach classes similar to what you would receive in an actual class, and there are also tons of websites that offer classes for the various types of yoga interest. Some are free and some require that you get a membership. So, there are definitely many ways to get your yoga on. You just have to want to do it. J
6. What is one piece of advice that you wish you’d had when starting your yoga practice and wish to give to others?
“Yoga is a journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” Your practice is YOUR practice. Don’t compare, and don’t expect too much too soon. Challenge yourself, but always listen to your body; it will tell you when to stop. Don’t get injured trying to do something that your body isn’t ready for yet. Lessons that are learned on the mat should be projected into your daily life. THAT is what yoga has been for me. Not the asana, or the breathing; but what I learned while journeying through that asana/sequence and through the inhale and exhale of that breathe.
Yes, with time and practice, my asanas have begun to form nicely and LOOK great, but what has been my biggest accomplishment, is how I FEEL on the inside. Strip your ego; turn your attention inward to understand what is real in each moment. Eyes wide, heart and mind open, and you are on your way. “Practice and all is coming”. Journey on.
To keep up with Tie check her out on Instagram!
Or, email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org