Blogging Again – Staying Woke & In Faith

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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Life comes at you fast.  Taking time for your art is tough, especially when you’re a creative mama juggling tons of ideas, building community (Pray with our Feet – the new website is coming soon + Women Creatives Chat, founded for women of all artistic disciplines, centering wellness and empowerment and authentic connections),  and still deeply disturbed about the state of the world. Being woke, y’all, can exhaust us; staying in faith when the logical part of your brain is screaming give up – even tougher.

And yet, here I am, back to blogging, asking God to give me grace and the words to continue lifting up the importance of faith and activism – one word, social media post, and blog at a time.  Because everyday, it seems, there is a new crisis – catastrophic storms (climate change), hatred propagated by the alt right movement, problematic rhetoric and actions from the Trump administration, the prison industrial complex’s growth and xenophobia disguised as immigration policies and on and on…

Feeling overwhelmed is totally natural, but we cannot stay mired in it. God is calling us to show up, serve and offer the light of faith (“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17).

And I believe, now, more than ever, we must cultivate community – it’s what’s driving me to create a new discussion series on Instagram @praywithourfeet – Woke Wednesdays (live on Instagram),  where we center conversations as a way to spark change within ourselves and the community. I’m super excited to vibe with our first guest, next Wed., Oct. 24, 7pm EST –  Alex Ambridge (@bridgerofgaps), a beautiful soul, yoga instructor, lover of life and self-described “open heart warrior”; he is on a continuous quest to raise his consciousness.

Alex served with the Peace Corps (2012 – 2014) and lived in Ghana which changed my life. He’s passionate about bringing people together from different backgrounds, holding space for personal healing and social change. He currently teaches in the studio YogaWorks in Fed Hill, and also volunteers teaching yoga and mindfulness to kids as part of the Food Project in West Baltimore.

Yoga ties everything together for me,” Alex says. “I am in therapy and regularly see an acupuncturist and also have a bachelors degree in philosophy. All of these things are reaffirmed through my yoga practice. I truly believe that everything within the universe is One vibrating on various frequencies of awareness.

Our minds are programmed to perceive the universe in terms of differences like me and you. Yoga helps me to get out of my head and into the body where the experience of oneness comes through.

Alex and I are delving into toxic masculinity (Why acknowledging this is critical for us all, and how men can learn to recognize the patterns within themselves and others), white privilege (mythology around whiteness, and the necessity for white folks to become honest about how they benefit from this daily), and finally, we’ll tackle breaking free from internalized oppressions (what does the daily work look like).

I hope you’ll join us and share with others – sparking change through conversation…

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