Q&A

Yoga Journal - - 2018 GOOD KARMA AWARDS -

? YOGA JOUR­NAL: When did you start think­ing about racial di­ver­sity in yoga?

BIBI MCGILL: I guess it just came into my pe­riph­eral vi­sion over time—this real­ity that I didn’t see a lot of melanated peo­ple do­ing yoga. (I don’t like to say “black” and “white.”) I asked some of my friends in Port­land, “Why don’t melanated peo­ple do yoga?” My friend said, “Bibi, we do! We just don’t go to yoga stu­dios be­cause we don’t feel com­fort­able. I’ll bet if you taught some classes, peo­ple would come.” That was the start. ? YJ: Can you de­scribe the first event you did with Yo­gis of Color Crush­ing It?

BM: The first pop-up I did for peo­ple of color here in Port­land was a smash. It was in­ter­est­ing to see the di­ver­sity. We had Filipino peo­ple who par­tic­i­pated, Korean and Ja­panese peo­ple, peo­ple from East In­dia and Iran and Per­sia, from South Amer­ica and Africa. It was a great feel­ing to look out into the crowd and see every­body smil­ing, every­body feel­ing safe. ? YJ: Do you plan to ex­pand Yo­gis of Color Crush­ing It?

BM: Ab­so­lutely. There’s a need for this all over the world. I want peo­ple of color to ex­pe­ri­ence the prac­tice. I don’t want them to feel like they can’t go to a stu­dio be­cause the teacher doesn’t look like them and no­body in the class looks like them. I want them to have a place to come where they’re go­ing to be loved and feel safe.

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