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Agni Yoga Offers Self-Care For Queer People

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Self-care is vital. Sometimes you need emotional self-care, like watching your favorite movie or spending time meditating or with friends. Sometimes you need physical self-care, like going for a run or eating salad. Agni’s Queer and Trans Yoga Class offers the best of both.

This weekly class is specifically geared toward protecting the mental and physical health of people from marginalized communities. This yoga class is two parts yoga, one part poetry slam; the class leaders incorporate poetry and the healing practice of reiki into each session.

Above all, this class aims to be a safe space. One of its organizers, E. Parker Phillips, describes the class as “fat-positive, body positive, kink-positive, multiracial, multigenerational, and feminist.” Before the class, organizers put signs

The class tries to be as accessible as possible. Before the class, organizers put signs on the male changing rooms that those rooms are open to people of all genders. “We seek to create a space where transgender and nonbinary people don’t have to worry about where they are going to pee, especially when they are there to take care of their selves and their bodies,” Phillips says. The center is wheelchair-accessible. And while many yoga spaces across the US are the domain of wealthy women who can afford to spend hundreds of dollars per month, Agni asks only for a suggested donation of $5.

Every aspect of the class is designed to encourage emotional openness. The organizers read poetry before and after class and even perform reiki healing. And instead of the physically intensive hot yoga that is encouraged for losing body fat, Agni focuses on the yin style, which requires participates to hold poses for longer periods of time and focus on their breathing.

This is more than just a yoga session. It’s also a learning space that emphasizes the link between self-care and resistance. Each class educates participants on “transgender stigma, sex worker stigma, the destructiveness of white supremacy, and the limitations of capitalism.” Many people wander into these sessions by accident, not expecting a queer-friendly self-care movement, but leave educated and empowered.

Currently, Agni is only in Miami, but we all hope that other studios will follow their model. If you’re interested in yoga, then learn more about the class to drop in or start a similar practice in your area.

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