Melanated men feel disenfranchised in our neighborhoods, cities, states, countries, the world and often times in our own home. When a cop car is behind us, we face an anxiety that our ancestors felt running from slave catchers. And now we are called men of color; which reminds us that our ancestors were called colored. Many of us are great fathers who take great pride and love providing for, protecting, nurturing and loving our families. All of my friends light up when they talk about their kids. Yet still we are feared and treated like crime is in our DNA. We are fed-up, sick and tired and done.
I talk to several melanated men, especially since the quarantine started, and most “suffer in silence” and “drown in discouragement” because nobody cares; and we know that some in other races enjoy and take full advantage of our second-class citizenship.
Our mental health is unstable at best. I went through a midlife-crisis when I turned 40. I was dangerously overweight and chronically sad. I put my pride to the side and took a yoga class. It was not my first yoga class, but something was different this time. Yoga sparked my warrior spirit while soothing my thoughts. The more I practiced yoga the more control I had over my emotions; I cured my road rage. My confidence in myself, inner and outer, shot through the roof! I took the vital life lessons from the mat and incorporated them in my life. Yoga was and is the foundation of my transformation!
I became a yoga teacher because I love to teach and the best way to repay yoga for all of its gems is to pay it forward. I recently created “A Leading Man Yoga,” nicknamed “Grown Ass Man Yoga” for men to have a place to grow from within. I created milestones from my company, A Leading Man’s LM Lifestyle. Our major intention is to live an in-tune, in-flow and on-purpose lifestyle.
I am removing the stigma of yoga being for soccer moms while enlightening and empowering melanated men to heal and save themselves from within. During this vital time in our country, it is of utmost importance for regal brown men to enhance their wellness lifestyle.
We have received plenty of feedback and ideas of how the health and wellness industry can be more inclusive. Much of the responses have been to add Black leaders and role models to branding, make teacher training and yoga accessible in Black communities, to eradicate the stigma around our "white washed" wellness culture. While we don't have all of the solutions, and while we understand that our efforts are just a tiny piece of the overarching puzzle, we have partnered with My Vinyasa Practice to offer scholarships for yoga teacher training to members of the Black community. For more information on our 200-hour yoga teacher training certified courses, enroll online here.