Meet The Community: Erica Gaines

Meet The Community: Erica Gaines

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.

My name is Erica Gaines and I’m from Gilbert, AZ. My spiritual journey began in 2016 at Election time. It was an insecure and unsafe time for me. I was figuring out what it meant to be a Black woman in “leadership” in a white megachurch, to be a woman with a failing marriage, and to leave it all behind. Leaving was what started the snowball effect of life’s spiritual lessons, one after the other, which led to growth and change.

“I’m finally in the position to just figure things out on my own, which is both terrifying and liberating!”

Up until my 30’s, I’ve done what everyone else wanted me to do. I became who I thought my family wanted me to be. I wasn’t making my own decisions or exploring the world — something I had dreamt about so many times. I’m finally in the position to just figure things out on my own, which is both terrifying and liberating!

Shortly after leaving my ex-husband, I lost physical sensation to my arms, stomach, and vagina due to emotional trauma. I began daily to be mindful of the outer edges of my skin. After about 6 months of intense focus, I was able to regain feeling and awareness. Once this happened, the emotional healing began because I could FEEL again.

Within most yoga studios (which tend to be predominantly white), there is this culture of being polite, quiet, and thin. My natural volume echoes without wooden floors. I don’t feel the need to be nice to your face, but speak ill of you behind your back — you’ll know how I feel. Because I have a muscular frame, I had a lot of body dysmorphia triggers when I realized that I couldn’t be extremely thin.

However, embracing my history and where I’m from gave me the courage to stand alone and do my own thing. In that freedom, many have felt permission to do the same. As an instructor, if I can liberate someone from either their own judgment or someone else, they have so much more space to do what their body intuitively knows to do.

After recognizing the need for self-aware police officers to be a part of effective, sustainable change, I focused my energy on offering healing services to the law enforcement community. Until people can see themselves, they can’t see us clearly. I teach officers how to identify emotional triggers in themselves and others, how to develop resiliency to stand alone, and make the right decisions in their work and personal lives. The program counts towards their state-required training hours!

To find out more about me and what I do, you can find me at: Instagram/FB/TikTok/LinkedIn/YouTube: tacmobility and my website

If you want to see more “Meet The Community”, click here.

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