Tag: yoga

Brown Girls Yoga

Date #349 – Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A: I was really bothered by this experience:

I recently got back into going to yoga (I go 2-5 times a week for months then stop… Bad!) and I rushed to Kula to catch a class. Yoga keeps me sane and I really needed it today. Because I was rushed, I looked at Tuesday’s schedule instead of Wednesday’s and, when I got there, the only class available was Brown Girls Yoga or hot yoga. Having asthma and anxiety, I can’t take hot yoga. “Can I take that class?” I asked, pointing at Brown Girls Yoga. The woman at reception just looked at me, pausing, then said, “No.” I said, “Because I’m not a brown girl?” I felt really angry. I wanted to say, “I have brown girlfriends.” I hated that I wanted to say that. To identify my friends only by their skin colour, just so I could be included. I was so angry at myself for messing up, for relying so much on needed to be there/to do yoga, and for not being able to take a class at a studio that is so inclusive.

I never thought about Brown Girls Yoga before. It didn’t bother me because I chose my schedule around that class. I get that it’s important to offer a safe space for those that feel excluded, but it was the strangest feeling to feel so extremely excluded myself, knowing that this feeling is exactly what the class was created for. Does that make sense? Yes, I am white, but, in my world, I don’t care what colour my skin is, or yours. I care that I am and you are nice and respected and supported and loved. I care that I and you feel safe and welcome and listened to. I care that we work together to create a great world, and a fun world. If it was queer yoga, I wouldn’t be turned away, I thought. If it was yoga for those with anxiety, or mental health squabbles, I would be able to go. I couldn’t help but think this class was for all the things that you can physically see. Well I felt excluded, and caught off guard. I left and passed a “brown girl” walking with her yoga mat and I felt so jealous. It was awful! I pretty much cried at B’s place, but he was really good at talking to me and making me feel okay about how I felt. I am happy that, of all places, I had his to go to.

B: Let me start by stating the obvious. A and I are white. We are not brown or of Indian descent and will never fully know the plight of brown women. For that matter, I will never fully know the prejudices, hate and other mean things women endure daily. I won’t know this about many groups. 

What I do know is that your skin colour does not limit your ability for empathy and understanding. Regardless of skin colour or sex or gender or pretty much anything else we have the ability to sympathize, try to understand, and lend a hand. 

Whoever programmed this class and made the “brown girls only” rule missed a great opportunity here. They missed an opportunity for a non-brown woman to walk into a class where she was the opportunity and for her to learn from her fellow human beings. The others in that class missed out on the opportunity to be shown that people of other races are willing to ask, “what unique challenges do you face as a brown woman in Toronto?”

I assume that this class was created in the best of intentions. It was created as a way to make more people feel welcome. I believe that the “brown girls only” rule was a simple mistake in short-sightedness. 

When I hear of this kind of segregation I think, “that is not what Ghandi died for.” That may be extreme and I may be missing something. Things may be so bad for brown women in Toronto that they feel they can’t do yoga with people of other races.

If that is the case it is horrible. 

I think we need to create safe spaces that acknowledge the imperfections in the world. I also think it is important to do this looking for more creative ways to create these spaces that are focused on inclusiveness.

We can’t try to create more segregated spaces while also trying to promote tolerance. It doesn’t work that way. 

After A told me about this experience I told her about how historically black colleges have been accepting people of other races while teaching a black-focused curriculum, and how women’s-only colleges are facing a similar dilemma with transgender applicants. 

We spoke about segregation and how in an attempt to create less of those negative actions, Kula somehow did the opposite.

People make mistakes and I am going to chalk it up to that. I hope A returns and I hope she gets to enjoy yoga with many people of all sorts.

Deathmatch Day 1 – Date #175 – Jan 20, 2014

B: Back on Date #118 A wrote a story in a coffee shop. Eventually this story became Eraser and was accepted into a short-story competition called Deathmatch. More specifically, Eraser was 1 of 8 stories accepted into a WORLDWIDE short-story competition!!!!


So the way this whole thing works is that the stories are matched up and then “compete” for votes. So, it’s like a tournament. And yes, you can vote (we both would really appreciate your votes – I think A would also love you to actually read the story and comment). There are 3 rounds, the first one ends Jan 26 the second begins Feb 17. 

So yeah, on this date A and I met up at my place after I did some Crossfit and she did some yoga. We then discussed the competition so more and other artistic things before doing another day of our 30-Day Yoga Challenge

A: YOU HAVE UNTIL MIDNIGHT JAN. 26TH TO VOTE – and you can vote every hour!

Broken Pencil’s Indie Writer’s Deathmatch is such an amazing opportunity to be a part of. I took a creative writing workshop in university and, there, I got feedback on my work that I’d never gotten before. The opportunity to hear how others perceive, read, and interpret the things I write was life-changing in regards to how I approach and learn about my process. Having that again, here, is invaluable. 

It’s funny to me, with this competition, that people are able to leave anonymous comments critiquing or hating on the stories. I’ve been lucky so far, with no one saying yet that my work’s a piece of utter trash but I’m still holding out for that. Maybe in the next round….

Either way, B has been so supportive, including defending my story to someone saying harsh words about it. I even had two other friends tell me they’re finding it difficult not to comment and defend why my story is good so that is really nice to hear. I’m actually surprised at most of the reactions. I feel very lucky. And like I want to quit my day job and write.

Crossfit!! – Date #168 – January 12th

A: After the epic breakfast pictured above (it really isn’t impossible to transition into better foods and both of us can catch over coffee if you’re keen) I did an intro class, which B did too, at Academy of Lions. It was awesome. I can definitely see how people can get really into the sport. It’s fun to fantasize about doing crossfit with B because this class was so fun and I think we push each other to try hard and work hard and to feel good. It’s important to both of us. One day when I’m rich I’ll be able to everything I want – yoga, crossfit, swimming…….. #goals! For now, other than swimming, B and I are doing some exercises at home.

We joked about recording our home sessions but I don’t think anyone wants to see us half naked and extremely haggard at 11pm doing yoga or skipping while trying to keep two cats off our mats. It is a pretty hilarious time, though.

B: For anyone who is wondering, the breakast is a mixture of Hemp, Chia, and Buckwheat with Hemp Milk. Here is the recipe. I also made some sport drinks with lemon juice, dates, coconut oil and more.

I’m happy A is so interested in Crossfit. I can tell that if she starts doing Crossfit it will push me a lot more. Which is awesome. The daily yoga we’re doing is great too!

Hot Yoga – Date #119 – November 11, 2013

B: A and I have never done yoga, but both really enjoy going. I look at yoga as a compliment to my Olympic Lifting and Crossfit training. We went to a free class around the corner. I thought it was really relaxing and awesome. The whole time I kept thinking about how A was right beside me, while still remaining totally inside myself and focused. It was a really awesome balance.

A: Hi, my hair is from the 90s and I am here and now. B means we’ve never done yoga together. I am obsessed with yoga. But when I fall out of routine with something, I avoid it. Why? I don’t know. I was telling B why I love it – because it clears my head and helps me deal with life calmly and positively and, before going to this class, one day I said something harshly, or responded harshly or something and B retorted, “You need to go to yoga.” It made me laugh a lot because it’s true and he could tell. 

It’s a great studio – Iam Yoga. First class free and unlimited for a week for $20 (new students). Deal.