“Say More” with Tulaine Montgomery and AfroFlow Yoga
New Profit Managing Partner Tulaine Montgomery recently launched an Instagram live series titled “Say More: Live Conversations with Tulaine.” As we face the COVID-19 pandemic and a renewed and growing call for Black liberation and justice, the series unites Tulaine and thought-leaders in conversation about self-care, creativity, history, and much more. Together, Tulaine and guests will explore questions such as how do we care for ourselves? Why is it important? What are we all missing about what self-care can bring to our work?
This show is for people who love their ancestors, value kindness, believe in joy, and feel the urge to change things.
On June 24th, Tulaine kicked off the series with Leslie and Jeff Jones — co-founders of AfroFlow Yoga, a yoga practice that bridges the dance movements of the African Diaspora with meditation. Grounded in diversity and inclusion, AfroFlow Yoga’s mission is to “celebrate, honor, and respect our shared humanity and cultural differences through the deep wisdom of our personal stories and traditions of our ancestors.” The practice has been featured in The New York Times and The Oprah Magazine and was voted Boston’s best yoga class in 2016 by the Improper Bostonian. We had the honor of witnessing the power of their work when they led the New Profit community through a practice at the Inclusive Impact Action Summit, a gathering of social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and other leaders in the social sector. You too can experience the power through their virtual classes, monthly workshops, and teacher training in Boston, New York, and worldwide.
During the show, the group engaged in an inspiring conversation about the ways in which individuals can bring wellness, vitality, and reflection into their lives. “Think about the resources that you are tapping into that help you get through,” said Tulaine. “Whether it’s a song, whether it’s a dance class that you attend religiously, whatever it is.” The group encouraged this deep self-reflection as essential to the healing process, as essential to grappling with history and the systemic inequities in our society.
We must pursue our own healing journeys in order to make change. The journey starts within each of us first.
In addition to self-reflection and healing, the group touched upon the importance of doing your homework. In order for humanity to come together, each individual must be willing to learn about cultures and histories apart from their own.
People have to do their homework. That’s what is happening now. Everyone has to do the work and be committed to learning about other cultures. Once everyone does the work, the system can begin to be corrected.
Leslie shared an idea with us that made a lasting impact on our team, and judging from the chat, on the rest of the audience too.
Imagine a chair. Black people are the legs of the chair of white supremacy. We are holding it up, it's sitting on us, it’s oppressing us. Yet, the message is: we are focused on the weight of white supremacy, however the shift in consciousness is thinking about the strength in the legs. Without the legs there is no chair.
Leslie encouraged the audience to recognize our inner strength through taking action. “Once we recognize strength, we shift where we are putting our energy. If we understand our power and move the legs of the chair, then we can create change.” Tulaine, Leslie, and Jeff discussed the importance of meditation and exercise as sources of fostering this inner-strength, in addition to reading and listening to empowering ideas and voices.
We need to train like we are spiritual warriors by strengthening the mind, the body, the spirit. Whether it's meditation or prayer, keeping the body strong—we need to do this every day.
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
- Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown
- AfroFlow Yoga: Anti-Racism and Healing Resources
- Urban View on XMRadio
To watch the full episode with Tulaine, Leslie, and Jeff, click below: