Talking Wellness with Natalie Cosby, Founder of Stacked Yoga 

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Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Tell us about more your yoga journey. I understand it helped you to release emotional baggage. How, specifically, did this practice do that for you? 

My introduction to yoga was in a movement acting class about 16 years ago. Yoga was the warm-up which helped us to get out of our heads, and connect to our bodies. At first, I was wondering why in the hell are we doing this, it was uncomfortable and annoying.

Then one day, I was having just a crazy day, and decided I needed to stop resisting what was going with me. So that day, we did the eagle pose (Garudasana), and I started to tear up while in the pose. Since then yoga has become therapy for my life.

Yoga has helped me get through toxic relationships, crazy jobs and body issues. Life has become little easier to navigate when I get on the mat.

We are living in times of tremendous stress from the political environment to police brutality. How can yoga help many folks to cope, particularly folks of color? 

Yoga allows people see the possibility in themselves, which is extremely empowering! You start remove blocks and fears, discover what you can really do. We hold so much in our bodies that is  toxic, and [then] create unhealthy habits to cope with our pain. Yoga help us to work through the scars physically and mentally by connecting to our “tangible” selves.

Especially since the election and police shootings more people are coming to studio to not just relieve stress, but for the support of the community. We have talks to support and try to bring awareness and diversity [into] wellness, [helping folks] to lift their spirits and find their Shanti (peace).

Stacked Yoga’s goal is to bring diversity to the mat, so we can heal and empower folks to become peace warriors. Lawd knows we need it!

I notice Stacked Yoga is not confined to a yoga studio, and you teach classes in diverse locations, such as Martha’s Vineyard. Why did you choose this approach? Do you also give instruction by Skype? 

Even though I live in Brooklyn, Stacked’s first class was in my hometown of Louisville, KY. I travel a lot and originally wanted it to be a mobile studio. Wherever I landed, I taught, because the practice has been such a gift to my life, I wanted to share.

People were so receptive and open when I was traveling. So for me, to keep it a mobile studio made sense at the time. We do not offer classes through Skype even although we are considering videos.

Also, I never planned to have a physical studio in the heart of Brooklyn, but the opportunity to have a studio on Tompkins Ave. has been blessing to Stacked, as we have built a community [full of] flavor and light.

Your studio focuses on 5 principles of yoga – breathe, exercise, diet, mediation and relaxation. How do all of these principles strengthen the practice of yoga? 

These principles are here to guide people to mental, physical and spiritual growth. We try to keep it simple, but that is not always easy. Yoga is just not about getting on the mat, it’s about who you are off the mat, and do you make an conscious effort do these 5 things in your daily life.

Prime example, food is a challenge for many and finding the balance of what agrees with your body is important.

In terms of diet, is there a dietary practice you all follow which you believe is most beneficial – vegan, vegetarian, etc.? 

At Stacked we don’t push any particular diet. I have been from vegan to losing my mind over a weekly dosage of bacon. You have to listen your body, because it will tell you what is for you or what is not.

Keep up with Stacked Yoga Online: 
Facebook

Instagram

Attend their next event: 

Stacked Yoga Swag, 1 year anniversary Studio Day party – Zen cocktails, healthy eats, grooves and giveaway

March 11, 2-6pm | 405 Tompkins Avenue | Brooklyn, NY

The Revolution Starts When You Turn Off Your Phone 

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Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo Credit: Greg Rakozy Graphic created by Live In Color Blog

I did it, y’all. I stood in line for nearly twenty minutes, surrounded by the chaotic noise in a Chipotle on Saturday night, and I refused to scan my phone – no emailing, IG posts, tweeting or Facebook. Nope. I chose mind REST. I am escaping the land of overwhelm and productivity one bar at a time. Who’s with me?!?!

Is it easy? Heck NO! I felt myself fidget nervously, but then I looked at folks around me, heads buried in the captivating luminosity of their iPhones and Androids, and thought, if I don’t continue this mindful practice, I’m loosing thousands of hours of life to a device. Who has that kind of time?

Waking Up    

“A conditioned mind is not free because it can never go beyond its own borders, beyond the barriers it has built around itself; that is obvious. And it is very difficult for such a mind to free itself from its conditioning and go beyond, because this conditioning is imposed upon it, not only by society, but by itself. You like your conditioning because you dare not go beyond.

You are frightened of what your father and mother would say, of what society and the priest would say; therefore you help to create the barriers which hold you. This is the prison in which most of us are caught, and that is why your parents are always telling you – as you in turn will tell your children – to do this and not do that.”
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

A few months ago, my Dad hung out with us, and we were eating. He looked over at me, sort of befuddled, as I sat, chewing bites of food, pausing to post on Instagram and said: “Do you ever put that thing down?”

I brushed it off, mumbling something about a deadline but his sentence took root in my spirit,  becoming the catalyst for a kind of subtle inner revolution. No viral videos or Twitter hashtag announcing this cause, just a girl who is stepping into mindfulness anew.

How did I become a woman who jerks away from silence, choosing, instead to run headfirst into a suffocating busyness? Me. The little girl who dramatically announced to her family that she needed “quiet time to write.” Where is she in this era of constant communication, but dwindling connection? I am bringing her back to life, one mindful moment at a time.

Why Leaving Our Cell Phones Home Some Days is a Good Thing

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Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo Credit: Greg Rakozy

“I imagine a world where we smile when we have low batteries, cause that will mean we’ll be one bar closer to humanity.”
– Prince EA, “Can We Autocorrect Humanity?”

The other day I left my house in a flurry, chasing a luxury which eludes me mostly (and many other women) –  a few hours for myself. Then I did something which is rare for this organized Mama – I left my cell phone home.

I panicked, y’all. You know the tense feeling that floods your gut, nearly overtaking you. Yep, there I sat, in rush hour traffic, praying for a red light so I could continue digging for my phone.

I remembered packing my Kindle, but soon discovered that battery was nearly dead, too. I know. I am an addict. Did I just type those words?

Finally, I made peace with the silence, and became present. No checking my apps or scanning for music. I simply sat, surrending to contemplation.

Funny thing happened along the drive to the salon… I noticed buildings previously ignored, rolled down my window and heard  the natural rhythmic movement of city life anew. Ideas for blog posts filtered in one after another – and all because I allowed my mind to rest.

Perhaps we should all leave our cell phones and mobile devices home more often; digital fatigue is real. And in many ways, friends, this push and pull to stay connected is changing us. Rest is becoming a mirage in a world obsessed with productivity and multitasking.

We fill our moments with checking emails and social media, jumping to answer text messages, and apologizing for late responses. Is it really that awful if we take a few days to reply to someone?

Spoken word artist Prince EA has a line from his song “Can we Auto Correct Humanity?” that comes to mind in this moment: “Did you know the average person spends four years of their life looking at a cell phone?”

Let’s take our years back now.