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.
I’m DeShauna West Anderson, MA, ERYT-200 from Berkeley, CA.
I started my spiritual journey in 2010. I took my first ashtanga yoga class after experiencing a lot of things in my life. The body movement and use of breath made me realize how much we can control our bodies. I realized that this action doesn’t have to take place on the mat, but can happen off the mat. My yoga practice became such a big part of my life that I wanted to dive deeper. I have a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology, so mentally I had an understanding of human behavior, but I wanted to understand how behavior affects us physically.
“Our journey is a practice, not perfection.”
In 2015, I became a 200-HR Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor. Around that time, I was also introduced to life coaching. I love partnering with people to reach their goals. Therefore, I became a certified transformation community coach in 2018, where I now create a hybrid approach to wellness, using both coaching and body movement.
My life has changed since making my spiritual journey a priority because I now have a foundation for getting grounded. My spiritual practice affirms that I shouldn’t try to help anyone else if I’m not ready. Most of the time, we try to ignore weaknesses or inabilities, but we have to honor our bodies and rest when necessary. Our journey is a practice, not perfection. Outside of yoga and coaching, some of the additional healing tools I’ve experienced include: meditation, restorative practice, acupuncture, therapy, and fasting
“As Black women, there’s an expectation for us to be strong. When we’re passionate, we become a threat.”
As a Black person in the wellness space, one struggle I face is the pushback that comes from other Black people when I suggest focusing on their own healing. In particular, with yoga, the demographics of people we see doing this practice in Western culture are White females. I would love to see more people that look like me and built like me doing yoga. I also don’t see many wellness spaces in the Bay Area. This is so necessary and important.
When thinking about my successes in this space, I can’t help reiterating that success, as a Black woman, is hard. No matter what, it always feels like a competition. As Black women, there’s an expectation for us to be strong. When we’re passionate, we become a threat. Even if we’re observant, that can be taken as a threat. Instead of thinking of this as a weakness, it’s a great opportunity for energy shifting — allowing all these assumptions to be turned into fuel and proving the world wrong.
I’ve worked on a bunch of projects over the last 10 years. I’ve lead a few rounds of Yoga Alliance-approved yoga teacher training, with hopes to get more people of color to teach yoga. I’m also partnering with Blooming Willow Coaching, a coaching firm that certifies individuals to become healing life coaches. Blooming Willow Coaching has a cohort beginning in October 2020. Lastly, I plan to do some virtual workshops to support individuals with their healing journey. I have a breath workshop coming up on July 27th for one-hour at 7 pm.
To find out more about me and what I do, you can visit my website (www.themellowestspace.com), Instagram (themellowestspace), Facebook (www.facebook.com/themellowestspace), Twitter (mellowestspace), and my Black Yoga Society Listing.
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