Dr. Stacie C. C. Graham on Her Brand OYA, New Book Release, and More

In our new month-to-month profile collection, Fitbit is looking for to amplify variety on the earth of wellness and health by that includes the voices of POC trail-blazers on the helm of those industries—industries which have discredited voices like theirs for too lengthy. 

For our July profile, we’re highlighting the unimaginable work of Dr. Stacie C. C. Graham and her new ebook Yoga As Resistance: Equity and Inclusion On and Off The Mat. We’re excited to share the dialog we had with Dr. Graham about how she obtained began in wellness; her model, OYA; and her ebook.

Originally from Miami, FL, and now primarily based in London, UK, Dr. Stacie C. C. Graham has a various skilled background. However, one fixed has been her work as a administration and technique guide. She’s additionally a licensed coach, mindfulness teacher, and E-RYT 500 (a yoga teacher who has taught at the very least 2,000 hours—500 of those hours being after finishing the 500-hour certification, and has a minimal of 4 years of educating expertise).

Dr. Graham shared that her imaginative and prescient is a world the place there’s a collective settlement and consciousness that each human (and even sentient) being has the suitable to be properly. “The understanding of being well must be generative, non-linear, and inclusive of people of different abilities,” she says.

As to how she obtained her begin in wellness, she advised us that as a younger athlete she suffered from a recurrent damage and was ultimately really helpful to strive yoga. “Outside of physical practice, I also developed a mindfulness practice in parallel,” she says. “It was not until many years later that I learned more about the origins of both yoga and mindfulness and found my own path to aligning these practices.”

Now with a profitable model and a brand new ebook, Yoga as Resistance: Equity and Inclusion On and Off the Mat, beneath her belt, Dr. Graham continues to make waves within the trade for Black and POC girls. Keep studying for a deep dive into her spectacular work.

FITBIT: Can you inform us about your model, OYA?

DR. GRAHAM: I based OYA: Body-Mind-Spirit Retreats in 2016. It is a holistic wellness model providing weeklong, weekend, and day retreats for Black girls and girls of colour. After internet hosting a digital Circle of Sisterhood to supply assist throughout lockdowns and sheltering in place because of the pandemic, we additionally lately launched everlasting digital areas for motion, mindfulness, and breathwork. 

I work with a school that’s made up of girls who’re consultant of the individuals whose wants we’re striving to satisfy. Our school consists of individuals from totally different backgrounds with respect to our intersectional social id classes. We acknowledge that our target market serves as the biggest group of caretakers of the world. They are sometimes so busy caring for everybody else, that there isn’t a time left to maintain themselves. OYA Retreats is dedicated to creating experiences and areas through which Black girls and girls of colour can merely be. 

We can focus on our challenges with extra ease and understanding. We can really feel seen and heard. OYA school supply instruments and practices that our neighborhood members can combine into their day by day lives. We love a spa day! But OYA Retreats is targeted on the mixing piece. It’s not an away day. It’s a kind of self-care that we are able to follow on daily basis if we’re prepared to prioritize our wellbeing.

FITBIT: OYA is devoted to underrepresented communities sometimes underserved by the mainstream wellness trade. What drew you to this work?

DR. GRAHAM: It was not one thing I spent a variety of time excited about and planning. I had executed a lot of my very own work in many alternative communities, and I used to be at all times the “only one”—it didn’t matter which religious retreat or yoga area I used to be attending. If I used to be someplace in Europe or North America, I most at all times discovered myself to be the one Black lady or Black individual or individual of colour. That is basically difficult when making an attempt to take part in deep religious and therapeutic follow. Eventually sufficient was sufficient. 

At the time, my craving was to create areas for these people, as a result of I see them. I wish to honor them. I wish to have a good time them. I wish to maintain them in no matter means I can. It was solely later that I made the connection to my very own experiences (sure, this might sound very apparent, however it wasn’t for me initially!).

FITBIT: Why, in your view, is it so vital for there to be communities like yours which are supposed for Black girls and girls of colour?

DR. GRAHAM: If we’re the bulk group of caretakers, and we aren’t caring for ourselves, what does that imply for these in our care? Collectively, we’ve a lot work to do. If we have a look at what’s happening across the globe, and within the US particularly, we are able to see that individuals and the planet are usually not properly. The local weather disaster is actual, and the individuals disproportionately affected are Black individuals and individuals of colour. Populist politics within the US and Europe is placing Black individuals and individuals of colour beneath intensified menace. Systemic oppression impacts our our bodies in ways in which fashionable science is just catching as much as lately. 

For instance, Black girls are three to 4 instances extra probably within the US and 5 instances extra probably within the UK to die from being pregnant or childbirth-related issues than white girls. A major variety of these deaths are preventable. Studies clearly point out that these outcomes are associated to the adversity that’s particular to their race and gender. That’s why we emphasize holistic, built-in wellness. It’s not nearly a exercise, and it’s undoubtedly not about dropping pounds. It’s about discovering calm within the chaos. It’s about expression of grief. It’s about releasing disgrace. It’s about understanding and discovering pleasure within the physique.

FITBIT: How do you hope to encourage and inspire others in your neighborhood with OYA and your different work?

DR. GRAHAM: I’m not likely motivated by inspiring others. More than something, I hope that my work encourages and empowers individuals to belief themselves extra, to like themselves unconditionally, to hunt, construct, and nurture neighborhood.

FITBIT: What are some core themes and takeaways that you simply’d prefer to share out of your ebook, Yoga as Resistance: Equity and Inclusion On and Off the Mat?

DR. GRAHAM: I don’t wish to give an excessive amount of away. There is a complete chapter devoted to the TL;DR people. The biggest takeaways can be that all of us play a job in oppressive programs and—deliberately or unintentionally—replicate them in our actions. Thus, all of us have a job to play in undoing them. It’s potential to take part within the yoga “industry” and, on the identical time, reduce the hurt we trigger individuals of South Asian heritage, who’ve grown up in these knowledge and religion traditions. It’s potential to create areas through which everybody—irrespective of how they present up—can totally take part. No one individual can do it alone, but nobody individual is just too insignificant for his or her actions to matter.

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