Ran into a New Year’s blog post that calls for queers and trans to “forget the gym, occupy yoga studios.”
I had to read it.
It’s written by Qui Dorian, a transexual Asian, yoga instructor.
Everything he wrote resonated with me and the mission I’ve set forth for Just B Yoga and especially our LGBTQ yoga class. He was crying out to find community in yoga studios that are accepting and reflective of who is he – as a man, as a transexual and as a brown person.
Yoga has so much to offer us all – not just rich people or white people or thin people – the mainstream image portrayed for yoga.
Yoga helps us transcend these physical trappings and cease the negative dialogue we have with our bodies.
“And [as a trans man], I love that yoga made me not hate my body anymore.”
When I started teaching the LGBTQ Yoga Flow at Just B Yoga I didn’t know how transformative it would be for me. I wanted to create a safe and inviting environment for my students but I have truly been the one to benefit and grow from the process.
In the early weeks I had a student ask why my registration required them to check male or female. I hadn’t even known it was required, and inside I think I thought, “really? is this a big deal?”
But then I reflected on how as a young person I fought the system of standardized tests and forms that required me to choose white, black, Asian, Hispanic or “Other”. There was no bi racial, multi-cultural. Instead I was just “other” and I resented that. As though I was less of a being.
I got into the computer system and found a way to remove the sex requirement.
The Just B Yoga LGBTQ Yoga class resembles a potpourri of bodies, shades and shapes. It’s truly a rainbow and it keeps me on my toes as a teacher. I teach big and tall. Older and younger. In transition and not. Athletes and couch potatoes.
I stumble on my language now and again – guys and gals, ladies and gents. My students seem to forgive me for those trespasses.
I’ve even had a slip of my hand adjusting a pose accidentally touching breasts that I didn’t know were there on someone transitioning to male.
But you know, I’ve accidentally touched body parts in non-LGBTQ classes. I apologized and moved on.
What I’ve learned the most and appreciated the most is how this class has helped me open my eyes to how yoga can create a safe ground and common ground for us all. If we’re all standing on one leg trying to find balance, that’s who we are at that moment. Nothing more, nothing less. And we support each other in trying to succeed. We celebrate the milestones of first-time poses. We laugh together when poses are just plain ridiculous. And in this environment of laughter, support and celebration we accept our truest selves.
“I dream of seeing a queer/trans/brown/round yoga studio in every community, with classes being offered on a donation basis, because I want everyone to be one step closer to their most authentic self, no matter when in their life they find a mat.”
I support Qui Dorian’s proposal, forget the gyms, it’s time for queer, trans, brown and round people to occupy yoga studios because our greater community needs it for healing, growth and transformation.