Regina, an instructor at Shakti Barre in Brooklyn, New York, came to yoga by way of Ayurveda. During her training to become certified as an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor, the importance of maintaining an asana practice became evident to her. She immediately pursued her 200-hour certification.

“During my 200-hour training, I realized I really enjoyed teaching,” said Regina. “I got a lot of joy out of using my background in dance and knowledge about the body I’ve gained over the years to lead people through the poses. I was also in a place of really wanting to do what I loved as a way to make a living. I didn’t want to hate or resent my job. I knew yoga and Ayurveda were how I wanted to earn a living.”

As an instructor, Regina works to diversify the yoga industry — a community known for being represented predominately by white women. She encourages any and all bodies to see if yoga is a fit for them.

Regina

Regina

“I want to see more people of color (POC), more queerness and differing types of bodies represented in the spiritual and yoga world,” said Regina. “It shouldn’t, but it still shocks me that studios still operate having zero POC as part of their teaching staff. It’s 2017, this is ridiculous. I won’t practice at a studio that has no POC teaching.”

One way she has worked to diversify the industry is by offering pop-up classes marketed toward POC.

“I celebrate racial diversity, and it is through acknowledging differences we can work on building unity and community,” said Regina. “That’s why I started offering pop-up barre classes for POC. I saw the lack of diversity in barre and wanted to draw attention to it, while also creating a space to welcome POC into barre classes.”

As her work continues on diversifying the industry, Regina is also exploring unique avenues and opportunities for teachers outside of the studio classroom — mainly with a focus on retreats.

“I enjoy the bonding and deeper exploration that comes with being fully immersed at a retreat, and I’d love to teach in this format,” said Regina. “I’m not really one to take on leading a week-long event, but I definitely see myself on a staff teaching.”