How did you become involved with YBB?
Prior to moving from Vermont to Seattle nearly two years ago a friend had mentioned YBB to me and suggested I look into getting involved. I researched the organization and fell in love with what I saw. My first month in Seattle, at dinner, I coincidentally was sitting next to Natalie Celie’s little brother who connected me to her. Soon after, I was enrolled in the YBB yoga teacher training and became the first instructor at the juvenile detention facility, Remann Hall, where I continue to teach. The chance meeting continued when I met Cedra at Jess’s yoga retreat. Cedra then helped guide me towards the path of joining the YBB board. I truly believe that YBB was set in my path for a reason and I am excited to see what the future holds.
Do you have a YBB teaching experience/anecdote you’d like to share?
In June, a local news crew came to film one of my yoga classes at Remann Hall and conduct interviews…This was the moment that YBB’s work truly hit home for me. One boy at the detention facility said, “It helps me get thoughts off my mind and helps me think about positive things and it keeps me calm. My family at first thought it was funny because I didn’t like it but now they think it’s cool that I’m doing something that’s keeping me calm and keeping me out of trouble and they like it and appreciate this program. I ain’t ever done or thought about doing no yoga but I heard about the program and I wasn’t really feeling it. I was like, ‘man, I don’t know about no yoga.’ But then I started doing it and it was cool and helped me relax. I started doing it more often and it’s cool, I like it.” I am so grateful to have this opportunity to bring yoga to those who otherwise would not have access to it and seeing their development unfold before me.
What have you learned through teaching with YBB?
YBB has taught me so many things including detachment, patience, focus, and flexibility. Every day is different and every class at Remann Hall varies substantially. It’s difficult – if not impossible – to set expectations. It is an environment with countless distractions and varying levels of focus and participation from the students. It is important to remain focused and lead by example – not letting the distractions detract from the practice.