The idea of practicing Yoga is starting to catch on in our community, due to the efforts of African-American Yoga Instructor, Ebony Smith. Ms. Smith, who has been practicing Yoga since 2009, decided to share the idea of utilizing Yoga for self-preservation in the South Dallas and Southern sector two years ago. The name of Ms. Smith’s practice is Yoga N Da Hood. Ms. Smith created this unique name for her business because of the absence of Yoga sites in her area.
Ms. Smith realizes she is offering a new way of exercising, therefore she does her best to make Yoga as UN-intimidating as possible. Most people who know very little about Yoga, have come across at least one photo in their lifetime, which displays someone whose body appears to be twisted into the shape of a pretzel. Not only is this intimidating, but it appears to be unachievable to someone who has zero experience with Yoga. Another factor which turns people off to wanting to learn more about Yoga is the people we see practicing Yoga who have the “perfect body type”. Contrarily, Ms. Smith is a full-figured woman, who recalls being approached by students and instructors who couldn’t seem to wrap their mind around the idea of a full-figured woman having an interest in wanting to practice Yoga. As soon as she walked into one of the Yoga studios in the Dallas area downtown, someone would always pull her aside and say, “Hey, we’re practicing Yoga here. Which class were you looking for?” Today, Ms. Smith’s students range in age from 2 to 70 and they have the whole gamut of body shapes and sizes.
Presently, Yoga N Da Hood meets outdoors every Saturday at 10:00 a.m. at Kiest Park in Dallas. (When the temperatures begin to drop outdoors, a different location will be announced). Ms. Smith has tailored her classes for the hood by using popular R&B and rap songs. Also, she tries to refrain from using the Sanskrit language when possible, to refer to many of the Yoga poses.
This year has been the biggest and most successful year for Yoga N Da Hood. The class attendance has tripled in 3 years time. Eventually Ms. Smith would like for Yoga N Da Hood to be a household name and more of a part of popular culture. She says, “One of my dreams since I started offering classes, has been to travel to India to obtain more knowledge about Yoga and return to the States and incorporate what I have learned abroad in my classes.” Presently, Ms. Smith has a certification as a Wellness Coach and a separate certification as a Trauma Informed Yoga Therapist.
You may follow Yoga N Da Hood on Facebook or visit their website at www.YogaNDaHood.com Private lessons are offered, as well as a 1-week University which focuses on Wellness, Mind, Body and Soul. The contact number is 214-951-6002.