Owl's RTY fundraiser

Note: This is a tough time for me as I am experiencing homeless and joblessness, but things are looking up.

My name is owl and this is my journey to becoming one of the only QPOC (Queer person of color) yoga teachers in Richmond. My journey with yoga began in a dark cold room. I always had a calling toward fitness but I never felt a true connection to my soul.

I felt as though I grew up with a handkerchief over my eyes. The idea that love could be bought with gifts and material items was hardwired into my parents’ brain. I grew up yearning to know what love truly is. My parents were born in the streets of Brooklyn before it became hip and filled with college students and young professionals. They were raised in the hood where Christmas sometimes never came and birthdays were overlooked. Where fights and deaths resolved issues and gunshots were as common as a bird in the sky.

My mother wanted more for me, but having me at 17 years old made things very tough. I lived in countless foster homes and shelters throughout my life yet I continued to persevere and stay positive. My life did have its ups, but they never seemed to last as long as the downs. Overtime, yoga found its way into my life and with it I transformed everything. I found yoga through P90x at the time of my mothers’ first marriage and felt hooked.

I was living in Providence, RI with a very abusive partner when I discovered my calling for teaching yoga. My partner abused me, lied to me, stole from me, and even threated to throw me out countless times. He was a raging alcoholic and it reminded me a lot of my parents who also dealt with the demons of substance abuse. When I gained the courage to leave this toxic relationship, my life truly began to blossom.

I was sitting in a field on the east side of town with a book called, "the anatomy of yoga" when my initial awakening began. I would study the poses for hours under the sun and eventually started to do more online videos. I found my way through perseverance and dedication to the craft. Someone then told me that the best way to learn more about something and yourself is to teach it. I was so scared back in 2014 to teach to my friends let alone others in the neighborhood.

Street yoga was born in 2014 at the Brown street park in Providence and I began to host classes for friends and whoever would decide to join in from the community. The goal was to get people outside in the warm sun and to stretch away all fears of others watching. I kind of knew how to organize a class but always wanted to further my education.

From street yoga, I inspired others to go off and teach yoga around the country. I knew that through healing myself I was helping others to help others and the ripple effect started to give me chills. I started to take weekly classes at AS220 with Julie Shore and she became someone I looked up to. Eventually she and I talked and I started to rent my own space at AS220 in 2015 and began teaching classes in y first ever studio setting. I fell in love!

Overtime, it became hard to create a following because I did not really know who I was. Then I started to study organic foods and from that knowledge started my own skincare venture. I worked so hard to promote myself but it was hard to keep this up while working full-time so I put the jobs behind me. Things went south with a business partner at the time and I had already decided I was done with college. I left my small room in Northside PVD and moved up north to Boston in Dec. of 2016.

Boston taught me so much about myself and my place in the world. I never felt so engrossed with Queer black magic in my life until I moved here. The bigger city excited me and also taught me to find comfort in loving all people from all backgrounds. I found a yoga studio in town and was so poor but knew that teaching yoga was in my calling. I eventually got in contact with Daniel Max from JP Centre Yoga and was invited to join them late into the training with a payment plan. But, as it goes life happened and bills started to become higher than my income. I had to leave the training midway and it truly devastated me, But I STILL KEPT GOING.

LGBTQIA Yoga was born in the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, Boston in March of 2016. I posted in the Boston Queer Exchange group on a whim. This was a way for me to continue to hone my craft of teaching but also to meet fellow LGBTQ+ folk in the Boston area. The first day was a cold day and I didn’t think anyone would show up, but they did. and the people of Boston believed in me. The class met once a week and I began to establish a following. Eventually, the bills of Boston began to overwhelm me and I thought the next big move would also influence my music career as well. I sold what I could in a yard sale, packed my bags and set off for Austin, TX.

Austin was.... amazing and HOT as hell, but I felt finally free. The train ride was so scenic but things were difficult here when my close friend bailed on me hard. Being queer and of color made me even more of a minority in the big X. a few months later I left Texas and moved to NY to be with family and figure things out. I met with other likeminded souls and eventually found out mom wanted to move down south and I was all about a new adventure so I set off on this new journey with her.

Forgiving our horrible past of living together, (we never got along), but I knew that she and I needed each other at this time. When we arrived to Richmond I did not know what to expect. I found some yoga pages and I knew there was a queer exchange page but it seemed like no one ever knew of it or even posted in the page as frequently as other exchanges I was a part of. I set off to recreate the page and it started to blow up.

Excited I started to add whomever I connected with on the "Yoga and more" Facebook group run by Desert Canvas Appalachia. I eventually made my way to the gatherings and discovered the beauty, diversity, and potential of Richmond. The queer exchange even helped me when I needed to leave my toxic living situation with bi-polar mom and moved into a falling apart Victorian home in Northside Richmond.

My journey began cold, lonely, and scared, but overtime I started to meet more folk who I could connect with. As the queer exchange blossomed I finally gained the courage to offer LGBTQ+ classes in Richmond at Jefferson park. I found this park through yoga & more's events and knew this land had some scared juice to it. Overtime I built a following but the weather began to change so we needed to find an indoor studio location. That’s when I found soft web studio collective where I now teach LGBTQ+ Yoga weekly by donation.

I love to teach here because soft webs values fit finely in-sync with my own. We deserve space (as POC, queer/trans people, femmes, artists, witches, pretty bois, etc.), Our survival & thriving (esp. via art) is political resistance, to be part of our community requires TRUST, COMMUNICATION, RACIAL JUSTICE & ACCOUNTABILITY and We do the WORK of LOVE knowing it's the work towards LIBERATION.

It was truly the universe aligning finding this space to teach but now I need your help more than ever to finish my training. With your help, I will be training with some of the best at The Yoga Dojo in Scotts Addition right next-door to soft webs current location. The benefits of me becoming an RYT (registered yoga teacher) are countless in comparison to the cost. It helps eliminate countless liability issues and helps to keep myself and my students’ safe.

I was called to teach yoga and for every dollar donated I will give back accordingly to the community. I will continue to teach to the community and will strive to eventually open a QPOC LGBTQ+ Space where classes are held at low costs and also by donation. This is my dream and this is my goal and I need your help to make these dreams come true. My name is owl and this is my journey to becoming one of the only QTIPOC (Queer person of color) yoga teachers in Richmond.

Donations

  • Ashley Shoultz 
    • $20 
    • 25 mos
  • Alessandria Eastman  
    • $50 
    • 25 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 25 mos
  • Amy Paul 
    • $10 
    • 25 mos
  • Carrie Pearson 
    • $50 
    • 25 mos
See all

Organizer

Fa Bra 
Organizer
Richmond, VA
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