Talking Wellness with Natalie Cosby, Founder of Stacked Yoga 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

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

Music for the Spirit – India.Arie

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

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 Source: caltal.com

India.Arie told us over ten years ago she would not fit into society’s narrow beauty boxes. “I’m not the average girl from your video,” she sang on Acoustic Soul (2001), without apology, “my worth is not determined by the size of my clothes…”

What? This made it on the radio, I thought as I listened intently. I remember those lyrics vividly; her words were living with so many of us brown girls. She unpacked our truth in one song: we, too, were beautiful, we merely needed to believe.

India.Arie’s music heals, elevates and nourishes the spirit. This is heart and soul music, transformative, life affirming, it questions your perceptions as all moving art should.

Perhaps more than any other point in my life, as I struggle with insecurities, fear and obstacles, I hear her most clearly, urging me to release those shackles and welcome freedom.

Here are a few of my favorites songs, with moving lines such as “I am light. I am not the things my family did. I am not the voices in my head. I am not the pieces of the brokenness inside.”

Live In Color! – Emelda

Sending Compassion When Judgement is Easier

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

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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“To speak ill of anyone is to speak ill of yourself.” – Afghan proverb

Her voice sounded harsh, an abrupt contrast to subtle smiles in the children’s eyes, their faces, the color of pennies and cinnamon were filled with naive wonder. I thought of my own young daughter, and waved hello, but felt her stiffen, moving further away.

I watched her patience quickly lessen with each of their attempts at closeness. I wondered how someone could eschew such innocent affection. I dismissed her, and turned my attention back towards waiting for the bus and heading to work. I forgot the incident until weeks later when I watched The Price of The Ticket , a documentary about my favorite writer James Baldwin.

He spoke candidly of a childhood marked by his stepfather’s bitterness and stern manner not with anger, but compassion for that man’s own struggles – poverty and suffocating stubbornness. Again I thought of this young mother on the bus stop, and how easily I judged her, how quickly we all judge in various moments, without reflection and compassion. What do any of us know of someone else’s life, but what we assume?

Social media and the Internet make this particularly effortless; comments on websites are sometimes shared anonymously, there is little regard for others feelings. We hurl criticisms blindly, mostly because of the fear to face our own inadequacies and insecurities.

Compassion requires looking deeply, embracing vulnerability and love. Many of us struggle with this in one way or the other. Yet if we are ever to begin judging less, the first step is committing to seeing others not as separate from you, but as a part of you.

How can you be more compassionate in everyday life?

Live In Color – Emelda