? 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.