by: Tierra Briscoe | August 17, 2020
As a yoga instructor, my journey has been far from linear by any means. There have been highs and there have been lows. But one thing I know for sure, is the highs outweigh the lows. It has honestly taken me over a week to figure out what to say in this post because there is so much I want to cover, but I know this will all happen in due time. So, I will start with what got me in this position in the first place. Oh wait! Let me formally introduce myself for those of you who do not know me for real.
My name is Tierra Briscoe aka YogiTB aka Yogi Bae, I am a product of PG County, MD the DMV for those who are not familiar. I am a daughter, sister, friend, cousin, niece, granddaughter. I am the first generation in everything in my family. First to graduate college, get my masters, and leave the government because it wasn’t for me. Explore being an entrepreneur, pushing my body to its limits - I never thought it could do. Travel the world alone, enter a doctoral program. Re-enter the government. To follow my own path. I have been practicing yoga for 12 years of my life, it all started as part of my gym credit in my freshman year at Penn State. I was the only black girl in class, but this practice just spoke to me and my instructor poured so much into me. During this time, the only other person who I knew that looked like me practicing yoga was my uncle, who travels to Kripalu and other places to practice. But I never saw anyone who looked like ME. Yoga became my therapy, my safe haven, my outlet, my comfort during the storms, and my light when I felt I was lost in the dark. I don’t think I began taking my practice seriously until 2014 when I went through a very toxic relationship break-up. I was also dealing with a lot at work as a Federal Police Officer, I was trying to get promoted as one of the youngest officers and in this male dominated field - that was not acceptable. I began practicing more and sharing my journey, and then I realized there was something more in this for me. But, I’ll get more into my background another day. Let’s get to the point.
I never thought in my 30 years of living (30 in November! Can’t wait!), I would be living in two pandemics. Dealing with COVID-19 and a whole race war. My life has literally been a rollercoaster since March, besides being in quarantine and finding ways to stay fully grounded in my space, my life has been turned upside down, inside out literally. I lost my Grandfather (my rock) to COVID-19. I do not know how I’ve survived mentally and emotionally. In the midst of everything, the amount of police killings of black men, women and children being publicized increased and it hit a tipping point with George Floyd. Blatantly being murdered in cold blood on camera hit differently. Being a black woman in America, black period is not safe. With protests erupting all over, it got to the point where people and companies began scrambling to save face to “show their support and solidarity” with the black community. Where does all this align with you? You may be thinking… Well, I am a black female yogi in a business dominated by white women who look nothing like me. I have to go 10x as hard to prove my worthiness in this field that was created by brown people and ultimately white washed which glorifies the skinny body types, high end fashions and your worth is calculated by your follower count on Instagram.
I began calling out companies that I not only work(ed) with or I support their brands that do not support the people that look like ME. I stepped into the role of yoga activist for the men and women who have experienced the same prejudices and racial injustices as me. Sharing my story really opened up so much for me. I never knew so many other BIPOC yogis had experienced the same things as me. Being ignored walking into studios, people going out of their way to not touch you during class. Feeling obligated to buy the expensive mats and clothing so they know you mean business when you step into a class or want to work with a certain studio. Being a black yogi is buying products from brands, showing them love and they ignore you. The list goes on and on. There are not many BIPOC yogis who hold large platforms either.
It has been so many times where I’ve prayed to God to show me and allow me to step into my purpose and I believe I have fully stepped into it in this moment. Granted, this is not what I was expecting, but I know my purpose and calling are so much bigger than me and if I can pave the way for others and reach people, I am honored to do so. I will dive deeper into my story and experience as time goes on. For right now, I just wanted to start the conversation and let you know where I come from. As I am typing this blog entry, I am sitting outside in beautiful West Palm Beach, FL with tears in my eyes, because I never thought I would be here. I never would think I would be so supported, reaching so many people, being a part of changing lives, still grieving my Grandfather (which has been a struggle). *Cue Conquerors by Kirk Franklin*I literally just put my two weeks in at my job June 26th, because it became evident they do not value black lives. I am not worried about money, I know abundance is going to flow as long as I stay in alignment with Source. Who am I? How dare I? I know there is so much coming my way, this is only the beginning. So, if you are in for the journey, the ride, let’s go!!
I’ll talk to you soon... till then, be authentic, be YOU!