In our new month-to-month profile collection, Fitbit is looking for to amplify variety on the planet of wellness and health by that includes the voices of POC trail-blazers on the helm of those industries—industries which have discredited voices like theirs for too lengthy.
For our July profile, we’re highlighting the unbelievable work of Dr. Stacie C. C. Graham and her new guide Yoga As Resistance: Fairness and Inclusion On and Off The Mat. We’re excited to share the dialog we had with Dr. Graham about how she bought began in wellness; her model, OYA; and her guide.
Initially from Miami, FL, and now primarily based in London, UK, Dr. Stacie C. C. Graham has a different skilled background. Nevertheless, one fixed has been her work as a administration and technique advisor. She’s additionally a licensed coach, mindfulness teacher, and E-RYT 500 (a yoga teacher who has taught no less than 2,000 hours—500 of those hours being after finishing the 500-hour certification, and has a minimal of 4 years of educating expertise).
Dr. Graham shared that her imaginative and prescient is a world the place there’s a collective settlement and consciousness that each human (and even sentient) being has the proper to be properly. “The understanding of being properly should be generative, non-linear, and inclusive of individuals of various talents,” she says.
As to how she bought her begin in wellness, she informed us that as a younger athlete she suffered from a recurrent damage and was ultimately really useful to strive yoga. “Outdoors of bodily apply, I additionally developed a mindfulness apply in parallel,” she says. “It was not till a few years later that I realized extra concerning the origins of each yoga and mindfulness and located my very own path to aligning these practices.”
Now with a profitable model and a brand new guide, Yoga as Resistance: Fairness and Inclusion On and Off the Mat, beneath her belt, Dr. Graham continues to make waves within the trade for Black and POC girls. Preserve studying for a deep dive into her spectacular work.
FITBIT: Are you able to inform us about your model, OYA?
DR. GRAHAM: I based OYA: Physique-Thoughts-Spirit Retreats in 2016. It’s a holistic wellness model providing weeklong, weekend, and day retreats for Black girls and girls of shade. After internet hosting a digital Circle of Sisterhood to supply help throughout lockdowns and sheltering in place because of the pandemic, we additionally just lately launched everlasting digital areas for motion, mindfulness, and breathwork.
I work with a college that’s made up of girls who’re consultant of the folks whose wants we’re striving to fulfill. Our college consists of individuals from totally different backgrounds with respect to our intersectional social identification classes. We acknowledge that our target market serves as the biggest group of caretakers of the world. They’re typically so busy taking good care of everybody else, that there is no such thing as a time left to care for themselves. OYA Retreats is dedicated to creating experiences and areas by which Black girls and girls of shade can merely be.
We will talk about our challenges with extra ease and understanding. We will really feel seen and heard. OYA college supply instruments and practices that our group members can combine into their each day lives. We love a spa day! However OYA Retreats is targeted on the mixing piece. It’s not an away day. It’s a sort of self-care that we are able to apply every single day if we’re prepared to prioritize our wellbeing.
FITBIT: OYA is devoted to underrepresented communities sometimes underserved by the mainstream wellness trade. What drew you to this work?
DR. GRAHAM: It was not one thing I spent loads of time interested by and planning. I had performed a lot of my very own work in many various communities, and I used to be all the time the “just one”—it didn’t matter which non secular retreat or yoga area I used to be attending. If I used to be someplace in Europe or North America, I most all the time discovered myself to be the one Black lady or Black particular person or particular person of shade. That’s actually difficult when attempting to take part in deep non secular and therapeutic apply. Ultimately sufficient was sufficient.
On the time, my craving was to create areas for these of us, as a result of I see them. I wish to honor them. I wish to have fun them. I wish to maintain them in no matter approach I can. It was solely later that I made the connection to my very own experiences (sure, this may appear very apparent, but it surely wasn’t for me initially!).
FITBIT: Why, in your view, is it so essential for there to be communities like yours which can be supposed for Black girls and girls of shade?
DR. GRAHAM: If we’re the bulk group of caretakers, and we aren’t taking good care of ourselves, what does that imply for these in our care? Collectively, we’ve a lot work to do. If we have a look at what’s going down across the globe, and within the US particularly, we are able to see that folks and the planet usually are not properly. The local weather disaster is actual, and the folks disproportionately affected are Black folks and other people of shade. Populist politics within the US and Europe is placing Black folks and other people of shade beneath intensified menace. Systemic oppression impacts our our bodies in ways in which fashionable science is simply catching as much as in recent times.
For instance, Black girls are three to 4 instances extra probably within the US and 5 instances extra probably within the UK to die from being pregnant or childbirth-related problems than white girls. A major variety of these deaths are preventable. Research clearly point out that these outcomes are associated to the adversity that’s particular to their race and gender. That’s why we emphasize holistic, built-in wellness. It’s not nearly a exercise, and it’s undoubtedly not about reducing weight. It’s about discovering calm within the chaos. It’s about expression of grief. It’s about releasing disgrace. It’s about understanding and discovering pleasure within the physique.
FITBIT: How do you hope to encourage and inspire others in your group with OYA and your different work?
DR. GRAHAM: I’m probably not motivated by inspiring others. Greater than something, I hope that my work encourages and empowers folks to belief themselves extra, to like themselves unconditionally, to hunt, construct, and nurture group.
FITBIT: What are some core themes and takeaways that you simply’d wish to share out of your guide, Yoga as Resistance: Fairness and Inclusion On and Off the Mat?
DR. GRAHAM: I don’t wish to give an excessive amount of away. There’s a entire chapter devoted to the TL;DR of us. The best takeaways can be that all of us play a job in oppressive techniques and—deliberately or unintentionally—replicate them in our actions. Thus, all of us have a job to play in undoing them. It’s doable to take part within the yoga “trade” and, on the identical time, reduce the hurt we trigger folks of South Asian heritage, who’ve grown up in these knowledge and religion traditions. It’s doable to create areas by which everybody—regardless of how they present up—can absolutely take part. Nobody particular person can do it alone, but nobody particular person is just too insignificant for his or her actions to matter.
This info is for instructional functions solely and isn’t supposed as an alternative choice to medical analysis or remedy. You shouldn’t use this info to diagnose or deal with a well being downside or situation. All the time test together with your physician earlier than altering your weight loss program, altering your sleep habits, taking dietary supplements, or beginning a brand new health routine.