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 Marquet Johnson. I am a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer, and Yoga Teacher (200hr CYT). I am originally from Baltimore, Maryland. I currently reside in San Diego, California.
“During the session, my dark skin, wide hips, and thick thighs stood out in the worst way.”
Growing up, there were no examples of anyone engaging in wellness practices, including yoga. I had a challenging childhood that left many emotional scars that became apparent as I transitioned into adulthood. At 21, I moved to California and my world changed when I was diagnosed with depression around this time. However, I noticed there were yoga studios everywhere. Before, I had never practiced in an actual studio and instead used DVD’s at home to practice. I decided to attend multiple studios to explore the various types of yoga offered.
In every studio I entered, I felt unwelcomed. No one made eye contact or introduced themselves to me. I noticed they were more welcoming to other newcomers. During the session, my dark skin, wide hips, and thick thighs stood out in the worst way. There were many furrowed brows and stares. No one in the room who looked like me. I found it hard to benefit from the session as I remained tense and guarded for the entire 60-90 minutes. It felt safer practicing at home. Despite my experiences in studios, I believed in the value of yoga in my life. I said to myself, “if I could become a yoga instructor, I would create a safe space that was truly open and available to EVERYONE.”
“I believe that all the power I need is already within me along with an infinite amount of love.”
I became a certified yoga teacher this year! Learning about the 8 Limbs of Yoga and living my life according to those principles has been transcendent. I’m discovering joy, pain, and love deep inside of me that I never knew existed. All the power I need is already within me, along with an infinite amount of love. My entire view of the world and my place within it has shifted.
I provide personal training services in addition to group and private yoga instruction. My specialties include Hatha, restorative, and chair yoga. I’m also interested in bodybuilding and undergo monthly acupuncture treatments and cupping to aid muscle recovery.
The reaction of George Floyd’s death has resulted in a lack of diversity in the yoga & wellness space to become a prominent discussion. What was once a whisper, turned into a roar. This is a positive sign as I believe yoga should be available to everyone. Many aspects of yoga, as we know it in the West, must change to meet this need. One of my biggest challenges in encouraging African Americans to participate in yoga. They don’t see it as a practice that’s available to them.
As we’re seeing the devastating effects of COVID-19 within the African American community, I see a greater opportunity to introduce the practice of yoga. We suffer from poorer states of health when compared to our white counterparts. The experience of illness is often more severe. This chronic state of stress, compounded with systemic racism, poverty, and emotional trauma leads to worsening health. The physiologic and mental benefits of yoga are desperately needed in our communities. We also need more African American yoga teachers. I’m looking to add certifications in kids’ yoga as well as pre-natal and post-natal yoga, as mortality among African American women continues to rise.
Currently, I’m taking part in Rocket Yoga teacher training. This training includes the largest group of black teachers in history. Rocket Yoga was created by Larry Schultz, based on his intense study of Ashtanga yoga. This 100-hr certificate course is offered by Carlson Calhoun for as little as a $1 donation for participants. The mission is to increase the number of black yoga teachers in the yoga space as well as donate funds to black-owned wellness businesses. Donations, which are being collected through July 31st , can be made at www.blmrocketyoga.com.
To learn more about me and what I do, I can be contacted through my website (https://www.tjfityogapersonaltraining.com), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Instagram (www.instagram.com/swaggi_yogiii) as well as through my listing with Black Yoga Society (tjFIT Yoga and Personal Training).
If you want to see more Meet The Community, click here.