Image by Kelsey Ann Linehan
A mindfulness, meditation and yoga teacher, we talk to Sandra Washington about her superpowers and the importance of accessibility and inclusivity in yoga.
Having studied the practice of yoga around the globe, including in Bali, Seattle and Auckland, Sandra Washington is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the ancient art. She is also the creator of the Marvellous Women Monthly Sisterhood Circle, with groups meeting in both Auckland and Christchurch that bond through guided activities and discussions.
Sandra enjoys her teachings as tools to build deeper layers of self-awareness and self-love. Her classes go beyond the physical yoga poses: “I teach asana as an avenue to more presence and connection in ourselves and in our communities. In my classes, workshops, and trainings, we aim to truly live our yoga practice even when we step off of the mat.”
Through studying and exploring various Eastern and Western modalities, Sandra blends this education and experience to share with her coaching clients to support their growth. Speaking of these practices, Sandra says, “all have value in their own ways; what’s most important is to discover the modalities and methods that truly feel good for you as an individual. To be a human is complex and layered, and so in my own life I have tried to allow my wellbeing practices to be wide-ranging. I have noticed I need different practices for healing past traumas, for being fulfilled in the present moment, and for igniting the life I want to live in the future. Being open to what works best for me has been my greatest learning!”
When it comes to accessibility and inclusivity in yoga, Sandra reminds us that “accessibility and inclusivity are imperative not just in the yoga world, but in all areas of the wellbeing industry.”
“As an African-American woman with a big body, I have experienced first-hand the exclusion that this industry can perpetuate. This exclusion creates more barriers to the education of wellbeing practices. These practices are often the ones that can greatly help to build more resilience and cultivate more peace within marginalised people who need these skills immensely. Exclusion keeps us separate; it supports the idea that “being well” and having peace is only allowed for a certain group of the population. This is simply untrue.”
“Being well” is a human right. Each person, no matter what their circumstance, should be allowed to access the practices that bring them more health, satisfaction, balance, and presence. What’s more, it is of the utmost importance for our communities to not only understand this concept intellectually, but begin to embody this personally, and professionally. In my work I do my best to provide access, I create safe spaces that honour and celebrate people’s unique intersectionalities, and I support opportunities for the community to come together in true curiosity, mutual respect, and compassionate understanding.”
Lastly, we ask Sandra what her superpowers are, and she says “I think of superpowers as the qualities within us that are innate, and that have a positive effect on the world around us. My superpowers are my curiosity, and my ability to see the forest through the trees. I’m grateful for the way that my curiosity shapes my mindset – I love learning new things and I enjoy finding magic in the mystery of the unknown (an outlook that has helped me a lot in 2020!). I also find that my superpower of perspective helps me stay grounded in my core truths, and helps me support my coaching clients in seeing their own challenges with fresh eyes.”
To find out more about Sandra including her upcoming Marvellous Women Sisterhood Circle, coaching & courses, visit her website at sandrawashington.com.