Personal Growth

Is Inclusion Important?

I am guilty of making plans and cancelling them. Yes I am that person. All plans sound good at the time of making them, then the day comes + life happens. I have to feel deep down inside that I am not the only one out there like that right?

At any rate, a month ago I stumbled upon this EventBrite for this free CBD yoga session and thought hmm seems very interesting. The over zealous past me thought it would be a great idea to attend this yoga session after completing a weekend of yoga teacher training. If I could go back to past me, I would punch me right in the face!

Fast forward to the day of the event, in true fashion after a weekend of teacher training, I am beyond tired. My body, bones, mind hell even my damn skin ached and hurt all over. The very last thing I wanted to do or give my time to was another hour of yoga. Its funny because earlier during that same day I had the opportunity of going through a Sunday Service flow where we talked about our choices creating certain experiences. Basically each choice we make, good, bad or indifferent essentially shapes the types of experiences we have. I could chose to be mad that I got stuck in traffic and miss the experience of a good time with family and friends once I got to my destination. The list goes on and on in the choices we make, but the real beauty is the experiences in our lives are really are within our power based on those various choices.

I decided to power through and attend; mainly because I had registered to go and the last thing I would want to do to an up-incoming entrepreneur is bail on them. I truly wanted to support and make connections with those who also had a love for yoga.

This particular flow class was held in a CBD shop and incorporated CBD within the flow. So although I have had CBD in the form of gummies as well as in honey sticks for anxiety when traveling I have never “smoked” CBD or hemp. When I walked in I was greeted with so much love and acceptance. Now mind you that’s the “norm” environment for strictly yoga places HOWEVER this was completely different. The energy was so very tranquil and welcoming it felt like a hug almost as I walked in.

Not knowing what to expect I came into the class with 0 expectation, figured it would be a typical flow with some added CBD to the mix. What shocked me and I am ashamed to even say this but the class was full of people of color! Never in my life have I ever been in a yoga or a Pilates class full of people like me! I am a Classpass member (for like the last 5 years) so I have been to all kinds of studios in various parts of Charlotte and its surrounding boroughs/towns. Never once have I been in a class where I felt represent. I’m not gonna lie, when I go to classes I notice if I am the only one or if there only 1 other person. I notice how the class goers look at me, some in shock, some in unity, some like I don’t belong and some I’m sure don’t pay me any attention. All of these things bring me anxiety until I am able to refocus get on my mat and do my own thing.

Sitting there I couldn’t help but think, wow there are like 15 of us in here and we are really here for ourselves. We all got up, made a commitment to come to yoga for ourselves and here we were. The instructor obtained information from each of us in a personal but quick way that I’m sure made each person feel heard and acknowledged. We were educated on the uses and benefits of CBD + how it worked. After the brief yet informational portion of the class was completed 6 or 7 CBD pre rolls were lit and started circulating the room. I know what you are thinking, how the hell can you flow with a pre roll lol. The answer to that question is simple we didn’t. The pre rolls were more so during the meditative portion of the class where we really were given opportunity to ground ourselves and prepare for flow.

The flow itself was very restorative + slow, but by no means does that mean it was an easy flow because it can be just as challenging to hold a pose as it is to go quickly through 100 poses. I am so very happy that I chose to have this experience, not only was it tranquil but it was very eye opening to inclusion + representation.

It makes me sad that as diverse as our society is there isn’t much representation. In fact for the most part at alot of studios representation of everyone isn’t exactly the focal point when it should be. There is no telling how many people of different races, creeds, ethnicity, genders, age, ect miss out on things because they don’t feel represented or included. I would hate to even consider how many people avoid the studio for that simple fact. Truth be told if my love and need to be in a studio wasn’t as great as it is I could easily see myself not attending a class based on the looks I get at certain studios. I would have never fathom or thought there could be a full studio out there with people who look like me had I not stumbled on it. It was refreshing, it was calming and it gave a since of community.

Representation is important. There is no way around it. There are not specific “workouts” for one type of person, or one type of “body”. I believe we truly live in a day and age where anyone from anywhere can become anything and its about time that seeps out into all areas. Wake up studios, be the place for “EVERYBODY” like you claim.

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