Welcome to Black Yoga Society’s Meet The Community! Every Monday and Thursday, we feature a member sharing their spiritual journey and discussing all their wins and losses along the way. If you’d like to be featured, contact us.
Peace. My name is Courtney Rohan. I’m originally from Connecticut, but I have spent most of my young-adult life living up and down the east coast. I now live on the west coast in Northern California.
As a young girl, I spent a lot of time running from the visions and messages that were being shared with me. I felt that these visions and messages left the path of Christianity that I was raised on. This scared me. I was afraid that I was following something other than the truth because what I was experiencing was so different. So, I found a way to distance myself and shut it down. I stopped remembering dreams. I shut down my clairvoyance and clairaudience.
“Christ, yoga, and the magical world of Spirit, all have shown me how to honor the gift of my life and breath, as a vessel for Love.”
As I got older and reconnected, I remembered home. Seeing Christ again as more than just a man, but also as consciousness, provided a path back to myself, back to visions and a truth for which I now have words. Yoga became an important portal back to myself. Christ, yoga, and the magical world of Spirit, all have shown me how to honor the gift of my life and breath, as a vessel for Love.
Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) which is not curable by western medical standards. This is my work for this time; we all have something that seems incurable. I look to heal the wounds of ancestors and those deep within my bone marrow where this blood disease originated. Through my diet, herbs, breath, meditation, and consistency of practice, I work to release healing that can’t be denied by those same standards that tell me it can’t be done.
As a black person in this wellness space for almost a decade and a half, I have found many covert experiences of racism. In 2008 while teaching in Philadelphia, there was a spree of robberies in yoga studios throughout the city. I was working the desk unassumingly one night when something went missing. I do believe this could have happened to anyone working the desk, but the fact that it happened to me meant that I needed to prove that it wasn’t me, or prove that I wasn’t working in concert with the thieves. When someone misplaced their wallet once during a workshop and reported it as stolen, and I was once again working the desk, until it was found, I felt all eyes were on me. One of the teachers, who happened to be white because they were all white except me, questioned my discomfort by asking me if I had taken it. And then, eventually, I was let go from the studio when another theft happened on my watch. I was punished for someone else’s dishonesty. Could this have been because I was black? No one else was let go, and I was not the only person this had happened to. If this had been something that I could have prevented, I would have understood, but I was welcoming all people to the studio. I was not questioning if they were there to steal, but rather hoping they were there to do yoga.
I have been welcomed into many yoga communities as they mean to diversify. More often than not, I am the only black person in the room teaching or practicing. This is not a problem for me until it is, like when the N-word is played during a New Year’s Eve Yoga Party class (true story). Instead of the teacher saying something to me during or after class, as I was the only black person in attendance, I had to reach out and deal with her white fragility. Somehow, she was the victim.
Black yoga teachers matter, but we have not always been held in high esteem. Black people, too, are more apt to take classes/receive services from a white person over someone who looks like them, believing subconsciously that what white people know is somehow more valuable. And, on the same hand, while living in South Carolina, some white students were visibly upset if I corrected them in class like I couldn’t possibly know how to help them, or how dare I do so even if I could.
Still, during my time teaching yoga, I have flipped my learning and experience for multiple platforms. For two years, I’ve taught yoga at Windsor High School in California as the only femme African-American teacher on campus. I also offer donation-based yoga classes on Zoom to place funds back into underserved black and brown communities, and Evening Wind Down classes through a local Sonoma County yoga studio, ‘Revolution Yoga’.
I offer two monthly blogs: one personal blog at www.courtneyrohan.blogspot.com for yoga inspiration, and one all about Joy through The Garden Society, a trusted cannabis brand for women. Furthermore this August, I’m opening a second cohort of The Dream Sessions, a five-day course of 20-minute sessions each, sent to your inbox to get you seeing and manifesting your dreams.
Learn more about Courtney Rohan’s offerings by liking/following:
Courtney Rohan Yoga Services & The Dream Sessions Challenge pages on Facebook
@courtneyrohan on Instagram
@yoga_rohan on Twitter
If you want to see more “Meet The Community”, click here.