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Confessions of a Brown Yoga Teacher

Cramped next to the dining table, clad in pajamas, we’d sit cross-legged, eyes closed, breathing. It took place on Sunday afternoons, when a family friend or two would come over, bringing a cassette player that leaked gentle chanting into the room. I only remember bits and pieces—feeling light-headed from rounds of kapalbhati, reading passages of the Bhagavad Gita before bed, my dad falling asleep during meditation—but the practice of yoga was firmly entrenched in my childhood.

Years later, I often find myself standing at the front of a room full of yoga mats, where fifteen lithe, white bodies look back at me, waiting for class to begin. When I press play on my phone, my Spotify playlist hums with the same chants from my memories, melting my nerves.

Since practicing with my family as a child, I have reliably come back to yoga during any stage of pain or discomfort in my life. It has been integral to my healing and growth, and my decision to become a yoga teache