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February Newsletter: Celebrating the History of Black Yogis

Greetings friends,

Happy Black History Month! Here in Nashville, the National Museum of African American Music celebrated its grand opening in late January. As a black musician I'm really excited to visit the museum and learn more about the rich, diverse musical history us of the African Diaspora created & contributed--I purchased tickets for Valentine's Day weekend!

Did you know that African-Americans have been a part of the history & development of yoga in the United States for nearly as long as yoga has existed in this country? While the visibility of black yogis & yoginis has expanded significantly in the last five-or-so years, black yogis & yoginis have been practicing & sharing this practice in "non-traditional spaces" such as community centers, libraries, etc. at least since the 1920s. Civil rights leaders such as Rosa Parks & Angela Davis were practicing yogis, as were a number of celebrity activists such as Eartha Kit, and John & Alice Coltrane. If you'd like to learn a little more about the history of black yoga practitioners in America, I graciously invite you watch this brief documentary by Jana Long, the Executive Director and co-founder of the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance.

This month's newsletter is short & sweet friends <3 I'm on a personal journey of restoration & self-care for this month as I take a 4-week journey connecting to my black history through ancestral healing and unpacking some of the racialized stress & trauma that I've experienced throughout my life with the support a beautiful virtual community of melanated brothers & sisters. Yoga is a skillful practice that requires self-study, so I'm taking some time for deeper innerstanding.

I'll have more to share next month, but for now if you'd like to take an easy action to learn more about Black history beyond the typical dominant cultural perspective, please sign up to this amazing email newsletter 28 Days of Black History and don't worry you can check out anything you missed on the website. In addition, if you're interested in expanding your awareness & understanding of social justice, equity & anti-racism work sign up to Anti-Racism Daily to receive amazing daily content (or a weekly digest) written by a diverse perspective of BIPOC contributors, including my friend and Nashville yoga teacher Melissa Shah.

I'm a child held up from the mud,

To grow with the Trees.

Held up by a family

I cannot see.

Held up by those I do not know,

But they're me.

The dream of sleeping generations

Planted like a seed.

The seed of Spring,

One Summer to be free.

I'm a child of the mud

Growing up to be a Tree.

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