Not even 4 years ago I was gearing up for law school to be an entertainment attorney after finishing an undergrad degree in music business at Loyola in New Orleans. I’ve been a musician my whole life and business-oriented as well. People always saw those parts of me: blunt, outspoken, fierce, strong, even when I didn’t see them myself. Friends and teachers told me I’d make a great lawyer and I loved music, so I figured being an entertainment attorney made sense when really I never had a passion for it. It’s so easy to become the person others see in you and not necessarily who you are to you. Fast forward to now and I am working for myself full time as an accessible yoga teacher, public speaker, writer and advocate, giving women and femmes the tools to empower themselves, live authentically, and think critically.
My path changed when I decided to listen to myself. To tune into feeling and narrow in on what I really wanted out of my life and what gifts I had to share. Without realizing it, my yoga practice began to bring me home to myself after many years of self-loathing, depression, harmful dieting, weight loss and gain, and generally feeling out of place in the world and especially in my body. It gave me a sense of clarity and with that I knew I had to share what I was learning. As I gained strength and belief in my own abilities, my confidence grew. It grew so much that I found myself confident enough to follow my dreams, to begin knowing my worth, to put myself out there, to be unapologetic in being exactly who I am.
As I continued sharing the many facets of my life something very unexpected happened: people started paying attention. People started “following.” Publications started featuring me as a plus size “yogi” (a term I don’t associate with) and while I was and am grateful for all the coverage and the opportunities that followed, it was a total whirlwind. I decided to lean in, to navigate those waters, and knew I wanted to use the exposure to support others. I quickly learned the most effective way for me to do that was to be transparent and make space for vulnerability.
A couple years of working in modern yoga and wellness spaces opened my eyes in a big way. I recognized how strongly I was being tokenized by publications and brands as the curvy/fat/plus size yoga teacher – dancing the fine line of necessary representation and being used as a circus highlight. I recognized how precarious the intersection of corporate America and yoga as a cultural and spiritual practice remain. I realized how rampant fatphobia is far beyond my own experiences. I watched yoga, wellness, and body positivity get commodified together and I knew I didn’t want much to do with it unless I was also actively countering what it was becoming.
I decided to do something about it. I shifted to teaching more accessible yoga so those in fat bodies, those with less able bodies, those looking for something that isn’t what we see as yoga on social media, could practice, too. I started getting very vocal about the topics above and other insidious systems that keep people oppressed. My yoga is political; it is social activism and it means taking action. Eventually I realized I had more to say than could be summed up in an Instagram caption, so I decided it was time for a podcast. For the last year I’ve been working towards this rebrand of sorts, launching a podcast and creating other spaces for critical thought through speaking engagements and essay writing. I’ve honed in on what kind of brand partnerships work for me and how to maintain integrity in the process to set an example for the amazing community I’m honored to hold space for.
I am beyond excited for what’s to come. I am beyond grateful to have so much support, because supporting others has become the true light of my life. It works full circle and I can’t do it without you. I aim to continue creating accessible content and having tough conversations and I can’t say thank you enough for being a part of this work. I can feel my eyes swelling writing this, because there will never be enough thanks. Thanks to myself for finally showing up, for believing in me, and for letting both come together in a way that uplifts other. There will never be enough thanks to you all for making this possible for us (you and me).