Ishi in a tree of life pose

Who are you?

I am a former dancer (12 years of dancing professionally) who’s found solace and peace through yoga and meditation. My classes encourage you to tap into your inner strength. My poses (asana) are geared towards internal resilience, an important quality to have as queer folx. Particularly living in a world that would rather see us crumble. Yoga is another tool in your arsenal (has been for me at least) that can help you smooth out those edges. So come lay your edges with me this Black History Month!

What’s your project?

It’s an intro yoga class for queer POC black folx, holding space for marginalised folx to tap into the ancient wisdom of yoga. Its’ goal being to make it weekly at Glasshouse London . All depends on demand . So folx should keep an eye out.

What’s your pronouns?

he / they/them

Does your queerness influence your yoga practise?

Fuckin’ ell, that’s a deep question. Absofuckin’ lutely. Contrary to popular belief, yoga attracts a lot of weird energies, to a certain degree aggressive and at times broken souls. That’s the reason why they turn to yoga, to find some sort of healing and to smooth out some unfinished businesses that they have in their own personal lives.

It might not come as a surprise, but a lot of people who do yoga are actually white women, who have a lot of sexual tension. I am a queer black man, who doesn’t necessarily live with their queerness in favour of making other people feel safe. You know how sometimes, us queer folx, particularly male identified or male bodied folx act hyper feminine in order to make our female counterparts feel safe . I don’t do that. So I show up how I feel when I feel how I feel in that moment and sometimes it makes the white women in the class feel drawn to me in a way that is untoward and unwarranted and unwelcomed and unsolicited and so it makes me feel quite vulnerable, because I do yoga for my own personal development.

Like, I want to feel safe in my body and yoga can facilitate that. But part of feeling safe in your body is also feeling safe with the bodies around you. As a queer black man sometimes, if not all the time I have to contend with all those external forces that are distracting me away from my ultimate goal, which is liberation.

Has your yoga practice changed through the struggles of the Covid years?

Believe it or not, I came to Yoga through the pandemic. It was at the beginning and at the peak of it when I became very fanatic about yoga almost. Like one of those fanatical Christians I did a yoga class every morning and every evening and it had a tremendous effect for the positive on my mental health . I feel like, right now, I’m much more able to regulate my central nervous system, I have better command of my moods. Prior to taking on yoga as a practice I used to have fluctuating moods. As in, I woke up at the wrong side of the bed and that was basically an indication of what my day was going to be. Whilst nowadays I can wake up at the wrong side of the bed but I know that I can recalibrate my energy sphere and turn it around if I do certain practices, like pranayama, which is breathing techniques that you learn from yoga. They then help me get better command of my body.

Why a QTPOC specific yoga class?

Because there isn’t any other class like that around and I wouldn’t mind if in a class someone felt attracted to me they would be attracted to me for the right reasons, meaning a fellow queer person. The race element is specifically added on as it’s black history month, but my hope, as I mentioned before is to make a weekly class for specifically queer folx of all races. In this day and age it’s a bout creating spaces for ourselves, rather than waiting for others to create spaces for us . I’ve also applied for Arts Council Funding. Fingers crossed. If I don’t get it this time I’ll try again in January with the help of other queer folx and collaborations. So yeh, that’s my goal, to create space for me and people like me, people who are queer.

Check this for future events

here’s our interview with Dolly Trolley, who does drag aerobics