Exercise for All
n the October 2011 issue of B.L.A.C., we published an article about African Americans in metropolitan Detroit who are introducing more members the community to yoga. Having originated in ancient India, yoga is a form of exercise that can benefit not only one's physical health, but can help improve overall well being.
Whether you are already in great shape or you want to become more physically fit, emotionally balanced or peaceful, consider giving yoga a try.
Here is information from Yvette Cobb and Tim Clark, who were interviewed for the October magazine article, and from several other local instructors who will be happy to have you as a student. Among them are yogis who teach in health clubs, churches, yoga studios, homes and even outdoors. If you are interested in private lessons, be sure to ask if this option is available.
Read these teachers' thoughts about yoga, then contact them and stretch toward a healthier future.
Teaches at Fellowship Chapel and Range of Motion-both in Detroit
"Most of the practice of yoga is being comfortable and then people can make necessary changes for themselves. Yoga is a stress reliever. More African Americans are disproportionally stressed and we should definitely use it more. Some people look at it as if they have to be under 20 years old or thin to put their bodies in different positions and that is not at all the case."
Teaches at The Yoga Shelter in Grosse Pointe
"Before yoga, I was mad at the world, carrying around my life's baggage and getting angry or frustrated easily. Now, for example, if a driver cuts me off on the freeway, I stay calm. I am The Watcher of my life. I watch, then decide how to react, if at all. Yoga taught me to be grateful that the other driver did not cause an accident, and that everyone around us is safe. Once we understand what it's about, and unveil all the mysteries, and realize it may take two or three classes to understand it, then we love it,"
Teaches at YC Yoga for Life Center in Detroit and Birmingham
"Coming from a background of being a nurse, we only look at one part of the individual. In yoga, it makes the person start looking at themselves. It's effective for weight management, focusing and becoming more flexible. Since African Americans are very stressed and leading in every disease, it is important we use yoga. It's an alternative modality which heals the body temperature from inside out to reduce obesity."
Teaches at Powerhouse Gym in West Bloomfield
"The studies are many and vast of how yoga assists in managing a healthy lifestyle. I have the opportunity to approach yoga as a woman of color and appeal to African Americans in a special way. We need better ways to help us in dealing with everyday issues. Often we end the day overeating, arguing or discontent, giving this energy to everyone around us. We have the ability to change for the better just by learning a method that helps us cope with stress. Yoga is the gift that keeps on giving. It's not a destination; it's a practice."
Teaches at her home studio
"We are bilateral creatures. Our sides are very different from one another and the whole point of our practice is to make us more balanced. Although, I don't think this practice has any ethical or religious boundaries, African Americans should take out more time to practice. I hear a lot from African Americans that think they're too fat to practice yoga. Being overweight does not matter. I even hear complaints of not wanting to ruin their hair! Now what's more important; your heart or your hair?"
Teaches at private locations
"I think yoga is something we all can do because you really don't need anything but your own body. It's not expensive. If you have enough room to throw a mat on the ground you can just do yoga on your own. It doesn't take long. You can do it for 15 minutes and it makes for good time to yourself. Any exercise for African Americans is an improvement. It reduces a great amount of stress."