Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Downside to Teaching Yoga in My Hood

My big day to kick off my yoga series finally arrived. The roster said that twenty people registered and up to 15 people are on the waitlist. Old and new students emailed me all summer anxious to practice yoga on "our side of the bridge". I felt a sense of accomplishment!

It felt too good to be true. And too good it was.

Every neighborhood deserves a quiet and clean  place to breathe!
As I prepare to teach yoga, I notice kids and adults cheerleading outside of our door. Despite months of planning and preparation with the site manager, our yoga room is now housed outside of  a Chuck E Cheese play pen! I asked the director of the center about our agreement. He said that we must now share our space with a cheerleading practice, "There is nothing I can do about it."

Shocked and confused,  I took a deep breath. I proceeded to teach the 30 people who committed to their bodies. Everyone managed to block out the kids banging against the door during Savasana. But I couldn't block out my disappointment.  As a result, I have postponed the series until I can secure a serene, clean and dependable yoga space.

I felt defeated. I failed at my attempt to create a consistent regular yoga class east of the river. But I learned a major downside to teaching yoga in under-served neighborhoods.

We cannot depend on government sponsored centers or programs to provide quality health services. 

They do not offer stability, tranquility and professionalism. It is time to create real health businesses, just like in Dupont Circle, U Street or Capitol Hill. Yoga studios, vegan cafes & meditation rooms may seem like frivolous luxuries. But they improve the quality of life and help residents cope with daily stressors.

Our minds and bodies deserve more than an unorganized recreation center or an inconsistent gym. We will only improve if community members demand and expect the best.  I am asking for your financial, logistical and legal support to make a real yoga studio a reality.

Please email or call 202-581-0879 if you can offer a silent and clean location for creating and building a yoga studio east of the Anacostia River.


SNTR said...

Please don't be discouraged. I will follow wherever you go east of the river. Your yoga classes of beautiful mocha people of all ages is refreshing. Then you add Jill Scott, India Arie, and Erykah Badu to the playlist and a beautiful mocha yogi princess to lead the eager crew and you have one awesome mochalicious experience. I support you with my mouth, $, and my pen. Just let me know when to begin. This is home and I love it. We do deserve much better and can't depend on our government to do it for us. Thank you for sounding off what I have been thinking for many moons.

Zara Willis said...

I attened you class last Monday and loved it! Have you considere a Church? I go to EWHBC up the street on Branch and Alabama and its quiet and has a parking lot. E-mail me at

MsBrooks31 said...

I attended the Monday class and was blessed by my first yoga experience. I didnt feel out of place among the more experienced. You even blessed me with a ride home. I am flexible, and will be whereever your next class will be. A friend of mine suggested Deanwood recreation center. I hope this is helpful. I will keep my eyes and ears open for other alternatives.


Takeyah | Core Connection Lifestyle said...

Thank you for sharing your experience, Sariane. As a (former) East of the River service provider + yogi, I understand your disappointment. Unfortunately, what you experienced is a part of the experience. We deserve more and even in those community spaces, community members should also require more. Lack luster is not and should not be the standard. I trust that this experience will provide much fuel for growth.

Nae said...

This post hurt my soul. I truly admire the work you are doing. Although I am located in Montgomery County, I will check around to see if I know anyone that can assist you. Please don't be discouraged. Consider this: you never know who is watching and while I can imagine how disruptive the ruckus must have been you will never know the impact that passive exposure may have on the cheerleading group. Namaste sis.

AnacostiaYogi said...

Thank you for understanding and thank you so much for your written support. I am not discouraged. But I do hope people to understand why things don't happen on our side of the city. It is not about being a victim, but looking at the infrastructure that keeps our health disparities so high.

releasetheweightditchthediet said...

I would love to see how I can help! I work in a center in SE please connect with me at

releasetheweightditchthediet said...

I would love to see how I can help. I work in a center in SE and its clean and quite

Anonymous said...

This negative will become a positive, all the things you desire will come from this bump in the road. Keep me on your yoga class list, Martha