1- In less than a minute, tell us who you are and why we keep hearing good things about you.
As we flow through unprecedented times, it’s been my personal mission to help people rediscover or reconnect with their inner wisdom. It is in this connection to wisdom, we can make conscious empowered choice. I help people rest so they move closer to this wisdom.
2- What inspired you, if any, to join the Warrior Flow 200-Hour Yoga Training’s faculty?
After observing Adrian work and virtual footprint, I immediately saw alignment. I am dedicated to making yoga and meditation, accessible to all, not just in word, but in action. With a wide range of yoga teacher training’s out there, I want to be apart of a community of educators that are on the front line in changing the stigmas and issues within the industry and practice of yoga.
We don’t need more yoga teachers that are just focusing asana. We need more people who embody the philosophy of the practice, who in turn, want to share the full expression of yoga with other in community. I feel that Warrior Flow is pouring in to the full person.
3- In simple words, what does yoga mean to you?
My practice and approach is rooted in Yoga Sutra 1.2 - Yoga is the removal or calming of the fluctuations of the mind.
I see the practice, the full eight limbs, as a means for us to train and build a better relationship the mind. It’s in the relationship we create with the mind, that we have a better understanding of who we are, and who we are not. Yoga provides opportunity to connect to the depths of experience, depths that may otherwise be covered up by the busy-nature of an over committed, over stimulated, and often tired, mind.
4- What is the main difference between learning yoga now and when you took your first yoga training?
The biggest difference is representation. When I started practicing meditation nearly 16 years ago, and asana nearly 10 years ago, I never saw larger body teachers, male teachers, black male teachers, let alone, black male queer teachers in larger bodies.
Today I see the movement growing with diverse leaders in the yoga space more representative of the students they teach. Empowered teachers with diverse identities is the first step in bringing more people to the mat. Representation allows for possibility to be imagined.
5- In your opinion, why is this a key moment in time to learn yoga?
I am a firm believer that we are in a period of transition. Yoga has the potential to to help us navigate through that uncertainty, strengthen our stress resilience, and feel at home in our body. From covid, to a racial reckoning, to the brink of war, life has reminded us that change is the only constant.
Learning yoga now, provides a pathway to better navigate the world and be of service to those around us.
6- Who would you be without yoga?
Without the practice of yoga, I wouldn’t be as comfortable in the skin I am in. As a black queer man, I have navigated the world absorbing all of the qualities the world expects me to be - often times being unhealthy, stereotypical, and limiting perspectives.
Yoga allowed me to unpack it all. Notice what wasn’t me. What was handed to me. What was forced upon me. What was unfairly expected of me.
Over years of practice, that unpacking turned into observation of what and who was left after I released those perspectives. It was in the observation, I began to embrace and love all the nerdy, quirky things about who I am.
7- Who were your role models? And what pushed you to learn and become who you are today?
There are a handful of women who allowed me space to be held and explore within this practice of yoga, all imparting different gems within me. Those women are Tracee Stanley (@tracee_stanley), Chanti Tacoronte-Perez (@yantrawisdom), Octavia Raheem (@Octaviaraheem), Meryl Arnett (@merylarnett), Tamisha Ponder (@sankofayoga), Dianne Bondy (@diannebondyyogaofficial), and Davina Davidson (@iamdavinadavidson).
I will say that the common theme with these beautiful souls is that they saw potential in me, in some cases before I even saw it, and encouraged the embodiment of the practice as a teacher. They all have created space or made space for me to glow in alignment with the practices.
It is in the support, encouragement, gentle nudges, conversations, and examples, that I have been able to find my footing and place in this work.
8- What were the pivotal roadblocks and challenges you encountered along the way that helped you define your path?
Sometimes the lesson in life is shown through observed unskillful behavior. One of my earliest yoga studio memories that have stuck with me was one in which I was perceived as invisible. I came in to the studio, checked in, and put my mat down. I was never acknowledged by the teacher. All throughout the class, I was never spoken to. Even as the class ended thee teacher didn’t speak to me. I observed that she was jovial and engaging with other students in the class. I was the only black person in the space. I was the only male in the space. It was in the moment that I understood why black and brown folks and men didn’t see themselves within the practice. I felt small. I felt unseen. I felt unsafe. I vowed in that moment, that when I become a teacher, I will work to facilitate and equitable, warm, inviting space for others.
9- What can we all do right now to make this world a better place?
To make the world a better place, we have to simply slow down. I say this, not as a means to minimize the ills within the world, but as a vehicle for opportunity. Slowing down provides us with the opportunity to choose different, to choose with intention, and to choose in alignment. When we make choices from a more informed, intuitive, and integrated space, we are able to think bigger than just ourselves. We can remind ourselves of our connection to community and the world.