I snapped this photo while on my evening run through the hood.

I didn’t grow up on the “good” side of town and I still live in a low income area of the city. There are two Family Dollar stores within walking distance, but I have to drive more than 20 minutes to get to a health food store. Our sidewalks are cracked, missing gaps of concrete or overtaken by weeds and bushes at parts. There is beauty though. A gritty sort of sparkle that makes its way into the character of those from here.

I’m not surprised that there isn’t a yoga studio near me. What does surprise me is that in a city where minorities make up the majority of the population there is a lack of diversity in the studio. I wonder if this is due to location; a result of business owners targeting the more affluent areas. I think sometimes it may be perception, or rather, assumptions that yoga is only for the thin, wealthy women. Or is yoga out of reach? Are others from my hood so focused on surviving that we don’t have space for this luxury experience? How can we breakdown some of the barriers and create more opportunities to practice? How can I make yoga more accessible?

I thought a lot about our environment as I ran with my son. About how it affects what opportunities he is exposed to, even at his early age.  How it will shape his interactions with others, color their perception of us. I am never ashamed to name the hood I grew up in; I’m proud of where I’m from. Some might say that I’m successful in spite of the environment, I say that it is because of it. I am grateful. I have always known a warm home with food in the kitchen and love all around and my son will know the same. We will seek out the beauty around us and bloom where we are planted.

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