As we gear up to reopen the yoga studios for classes, we’re celebrating the Yoga District community members who stepped forward to lead that transition and manage the studios with loving care. Meet Christian, the new Assistant Manager of the Yoga District studios as he shares his yoga journey, his thoughts on inclusivity in yoga, and his experience with the Yoga District community!
How would you describe your journey into yoga?
As gradual. I began in less somatically inquisitive traditions, like western philosophy, before becoming more interested in vipassana meditative traditions. The focus on breath and inner perceptions in vipassana traditions got me interested in yoga as a practice of embodied emotions. Before long I was going to multiple classes a week, had a daily practice, got my 200 hour yoga teacher certification, and here I am.
Tell us about your background.
I originally come from the South, Florida by way of Georgia, but have lived in DC for over a decade. I initially came to the area to study International Relations at American University and decided to stay. I’m a musician, so the diversity of the scene here (pre-covid) really kept me around.
How did you come to work with Yoga District/Yoga Activist?
I had started interning as a way to give back to my local Bloomingdale studio and after a while a manager position came up, so I said, why not?
What do you like about managing at Yoga District so far?
I like being able to see the immense amount of energy that goes into the maintenance of the studios. It reminds me how necessary regular energetic upkeep is to maintaining positive spaces.
What does inclusivity mean to you? / How do you connect with the Yoga District / Yoga Activist mission to offer inclusive yoga instruction accessible to all?
Financial access is a critical aspect of inclusivity, but there is more at play than just material conditions. Yoga, in both its history and its modern execution in the West, is an elite practice. Too often the practices can be sold as advanced fitness regiments for the abled urban class. Making the practices accessible to all is a difficult, yet necessary task if the liberative insights of yogic practices are to be spread. Yoga District’s commitment to inclusivity in price and in its teaching is a great step towards spreading these insights.
What’s the best part of being a yogi?
I don’t like to call myself a “yogi” due to both the historic context of the word and the pernicious trap of overly identifying with your practices. But to me, the best part of being a practitioner is the systematic ability to use thousands of years of tradition as a manner for aligning present intentions. Whenever I’m stressed or confused, there is always something, somewhere in the literature, with wisdom to offer.
What teaching has yoga led you to that you’d like to share with the community?
All phenomena are impermanent; work out your salvation with diligence!