I started off wanting to share several bikram yoga etiquette reminders but I was reminded about much more pressing issues. Like Black Girls Do Yoga! We are not all new, this is not our first time, and treat me like you treat all of the other customers, with peace & love.
Flashback to Saturday March 28th, I am knee deep in the North America Bicycle show at Cobo Hall. I am making my rounds, socializing, networking and so forth. I see Citizen Yoga, I ve also been meaning to try my hand at yoga in Michigan. I do binge on bikram yoga often but I have not found a yoga home since my return in 2013. Its not easy to find an authentic, non-commercialized studio with quality teachers. I stroll over to the Citizen Yoga table; 3 gals are on mats, having their go with inversions, 2 males, 1 laying down unengaged but not in the meditative state, in the on my cell phone type of state. There were 3 other people at the booth sitting in chairs, chatting amongst each other. I recognize 1 of the instructors, I had taken her inversion workshop at Shine On yoga last year. Walked over, I am grabbing items and flyers from the table, I was acknowledged but not acknowledged, if you know what I mean. They looked up but did not even bother to engage with a smile. Two white girls walk up while I am still at the table, one of the instructor's went over to the area where the two who just walked up and says "have you practiced yoga before" as her open ended engagement statement, she goes on and on about Citizen Yoga Detroit, the class schedule, parking..yada..yada. I am floored but not at all shocked! I am however annoyed.
Don't get me wrong there is upside to gentrification, new stores, new businesses, neighborhood renovations and new restaurants - who doesn't love new food options!! It seems like any new business would want to connect with the foundation of their neighborhood of where their business is, no? There are exciting things happening in Detroit, a lot of outside people with outside $$$ looking to make connections with each other. It's important for the outsiders to find value in the core base of Detroit. City politics aside, yoga is supposed to be an ego-less practice, it's origins are deeply rooted in Hindu & Buddhist traditions.
This experience is not my first rude yoga studio awakening, it is however my most recent, truly eye opening. I am a native Detroiter who subscribes to the practices of yoga, this experience touched my soul. You are a certified instructor, at a table representing your studio at a convention, be present and tap into why you are really here. Do better.
The whole purpose of booth at any event, is to generate awareness, create traffic in your store, sell merchandise, connect with the community which is why this is so disturbing. Not being acknowledge says that I am not wanted, no? Surely not welcoming.