Lotus in the Mud: Blackness, Decolonizing Yoga and Tai Chi and My Teaching Practice


DrHerukhuti - Lambda 2014 ReceptionBy Dr. Herukhuti

I started learning yoga, pranayama, tai chi chuan and chi kung when I was 14. Our school, the Temple of the White and Gold Lotus, Shrine of Amen-Ra, was housed in the parlor floor of a pre-gentrification, Bedford-Stuyvesant brownstone that our teacher had reclaimed from abandonment by squatting in it with his family. The tightly-woven, blue rug covered the tattered and well-worn wood floors underneath.

Our bathroom was downstairs in the back on the ground floor. We walked past a mass of junk that resembled the exterior set of Sanford and Son to use it. Cold in the winter and cool in the summer, I can’t remember doing anything but urinating in the bathroom, washing my hands and quickly escaping to cleaner air upstairs. If you didn’t wear your clothes for class to Temple, then that’s where you changed–quickly. I think there was a litter box down there…

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