A Ratchet Black Yogi’s Guide to Mindfulness and Unf*ckwithable Magic
What power do you possess to dictate when it is your breath?
What is it within your own being that allows you to wake up each day and take that first breath?
As a brown, kinky, and curvy yoga instructor, I’ve never fit into a box. I find myself tagging that very box I never fit in with symbols of ankhs, incense, and bumping Erykah’s latest mixtape as I throw my black power fist inside. “To be black in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” –James Baldwin and whereas I imagined an ideal yogi to be of a small frame, quiet, kind, at peace individual; here I am, loud, thick, ratchet, angry, and desperately searching for sanctuary for the mind.
STEP 1. Pay attention to everything.
It is only when we take our own hate speech and illuminate it with pieces of reality, mix it with our overdrawn emotions, and add a dash of bad situations that bring us to unproductive conclusions. The paranoia associated with a good friend you think you do not deserve. The angst of being in an unfamiliar space with doubt filled thoughts of “I’m not supposed to be here” slips in. The ‘me against the world’ mentality that stems from misplaced hurt. To be mindful is to be aware of all things, good, bad, and indifferent, and to sit with that. To be at peace with all that is because we are but one part of the equation in a mathematical problem that we ourselves did not create. Play your part. Get onto your axis and strive onward accordingly. Your destiny has been calculated by a power we cannot grasp.
Stay up and stay woke.
“There’s beauty in the struggle.” –J. Cole I find peace in my practice. I find joy in my culture. The struggle of being a young, black woman in 2018 in this America is a position many cannot imagine, yet we live through. It must be, by a higher power that we find strength. What better meter of proof, than the breath?
STEP 2. Assume nothing.
Validating your feelings is a 24/7 job. These sensations are real and deserve a space to be explored. At times where we feel we are ‘doing the most’ is when we find ourselves displacing our emotions. They fill up a jar you aren’t pouring into. Take facts in and accept what is while maintaining a sense of peace within yourself by engaging and evaluating your emotions. It takes balance. Fluidity of thought between what y’all up to and what I’m finna do. Stepping back and assessing best steps forward. Value your sensations no matter how little or small. Look deeper into your origins of thought and continuously reassess. We come equipped with one brain that can do wonders beyond our own imaginations. You can do it. Step back from being loud and proud, proclaiming the wrong things.
Don’t be a hotep.
“Breath is the king of the mind.” –B.K.S. Iyengar and it is with our breath that we tract every instance of living, of being purposeful, and simply for existing and being here. You can’t count how many breaths you breathe in a day, nor can you determine your destiny step by step. It’s simply not for you to decide. But you can obtain autonomy over your mind as you journey through life. This earth mound has space for you. To evolve, engage, expand your horizons and be whatever it is you are destined to become. It is not a road of ease, but a road set out for you.
STEP 3. Don’t take it personal. EVEN when it’s personal.
Turn your palms to yourself and look for a moment. Really. Take your hands, give it a solid 8 seconds, and see what is there. Acknowledge you made none of who you are, truly. Let’s begin by remembering that we have been created and molded by power greater than us. We are bigger than what we go through, and the battle has never been our own. All to say, we take too much credit for what we don’t even own. Once we can acknowledge that anything we take personally is but a ploy to destroy the energies we put out in the world, the better off we become. There will be many a time where people, situations, and everything in between will attempt to rob you of your joy. It is a trick and a lie. Do not take it personal. Think objectively. Not to say we avert from assessing our emotions (which are very real), but to say we will not think narrow-mindedly anymore to assume it is ever about us (EVEN when we are convinced that it is), and to practice critical thinking is to use your brain for the greater good.
Keep building, keep growing, and keep going.
“I will keep on hurdling and keep on hustling.” –Gucci Mane If no one has told you today, I am proud of you. I am thankful for all that you are. I acknowledge the intentions you bring into this world and only hope that your blessings manifest as they are to be produced. Remain unapologetic, do ya’ thing, and stay magical. Namaste.
Rose C. Porter is a health and wellness professional with a passion for community engagement as well as all things revolving around Erykah A. Badu. As a yoga instructor, Rose tackles the issues of intersectionality on the mat. Off the mat Rose has since birth been quite the loquacious one and finds herself spreading peace and love through spoken word and motivational speaking. Rose's favorite quote stems from The Lorax "UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not." She hopes to evoke a sense of caring and a spirit of mindfulness to all that encounter her, as well as serve as a healer on this earth mound that needs so much love.