WOC in Wellness: Sashah Rahemtulla

This is the second in a series of Women of Colour (WOC) in Wellness – an audio blog dedicated to diving into diversity in the industry through candid conversation.

Each blog will feature a WOC in the wellness industry, where we chat about their career and how we can bring more diverse voices into the spotlight.

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My second feature is Sashah Rahemtulla, a South Asian woman from Vancouver, BC who has roots in East Africa and Gujarat, India. She connected to yoga as a teen and has gone on to share her love for the practice and passion for social justice with youth through teaching Girlvana Yoga, as well as in roles of social worker and counsellor. Sashah is currently living in Mwanza, Tanzania exploring her East African roots and working as a Gender Equality Advisor for a Canadian NGO.

Three things sashah recommends we can do to support more diversity in the wellness industry:

  1. Seek out voices of color and be mindful of the emotional labor they incur through the educational work they do – whether it's through books, Instagram, etc.

  2. Support women of color in wellness by learning from them and paying them – actively show up for their events, classes and engagements once you understand the discrepancies in the industry.

  3. Take meaningful steps to deconstruct your privilege (yes, we all have some form of privelege) and how you can use it to dismantle systems of oppression. Sashah recommends starting with Spiritual Activism by Rachel Ricketts.

Full Transcript:

Zafira: Hi Sashah, thank you so much for joining me today for the second interview in my Women of Color in Wellness series! Before we get started, do you want to just share a little bit about you and what you're up to in the world with people listening?

Sashah: Yeah, sounds great. So, hello, I'm Sashah. I am right now working as a gender equality advisor in Tanzania. But usually I live in Vancouver and when I'm in Vancouver, I've been doing work in counseling and social work. I'm also a yoga teacher and I do a lot of yoga for youth. And most of my work in social work has been with youth as well. I'm super passionate about inclusion, diversity, and representation, especially for women of color. So I'm super excited to chat with you about that stuff!

Zafira: Thank you so much. So let's chat a little bit about your relationship with wellness and how it's been factoring into your life as you grew up. Tell me a little bit about your childhood and how has wellness continued to be a part of it and led you to what you're doing now?

Sashah: My childhood was really not very focused on wellness. I would say it was maybe a lot about diet culture. Like a lot of us that grew up in the 80s –that kind of thing. So I really became pretty focused on wanting to be healthy because I think I saw that as related to self worth a lot. So I always was really focused on food and being healthy and things like that. Looking back, I don't know if that was very healthy, but I also, when I found yoga in my teen years, it has become probably the most constant sort of wellness practice that I have in my life. And I'm in my thirties now. So it's been a lot of years of doing yoga on and off and eventually doing my yoga teacher training and stuff like that.

Zafira: Do you currently teach yoga actively and are you usually based in Vancouver? Tell us a little bit about like geographically where you operate.

Sashah: Yeah, so usually I am in Vancouver. I'm on a one year contract right now and I will be back in Vancouver in September 2019. So this year when I'm in Vancouver, I do usually teach yoga. But my focus had been teaching yoga to youth through a program called Girlvana Yoga for teens. So that was the majority of my teaching in the last sort of year or so. And then I also, when I was working as a counselor for youth, I had a youth focused trauma-informed yoga program that I ran at my work which was really amazing. And yeah, when I come back, I plan to do that again. I'd also like to extend that – I'm planning to do some more yoga for not just youth, but for adults as well. And I'd really like to do something specific for women of color and allies when I get back to Vancouver.

Zafira: Awesome. I'd love to know your thoughts on the yoga environment in Vancouver as it relates to diversity. Can you share a little bit about your thoughts once you started teaching or once you started exploring those avenues in the city, if this showed up for you in a way at all?

Sashah: Yeah, for sure. So I actually did my yoga teacher training in India in Rishikesh, because it was really important to me to learn from someone who is a part of the culture from which yoga came from. I wanted to send my dollars that way and I wanted to learn outside of sort of what I saw as in Vancouver being really fitness focused. And oftentimes, culturally appropriative. I wasn't really interested in doing my training in Vancouver or otherwise. So I did my training in India and then when I came back to Vancouver I think I kind of thought like, oh, I'll just be able to go to a studio and meet someone and teach. And it was actually really difficult.

Yoga in Vancouver is extremely competitive. I'd say the majority of the teachers are white women. And there it was really hard to sort of find a space and teach the kind of yoga I wanted to teach it and have that be valued. And also even just find spaces or communities of other yoga teachers that were, what word respect yoga. I feel in the way that, you know, maybe it was intended to be respected or see it as what it is, which is like, you know, mind, body, spirit kind of practice, not just a physical practice. So it was definitely a challenge.

Zafira: What are some of the ways that you try to navigate it when that's what you're bumping into over and over again?

Sashah: To be honest, I stopped stopped teaching for a little while. I just focused on my work and really bringing yoga into my work. Like doing trauma-informed yoga with the youth I was working with. I've always been passionate about working with youth. So doing my Girlvana Yoga training and teaching – yoga for teen girls. So I really shifted my focus from sort of the larger yoga community to something specific that maybe still wasn't as diverse or inclusive as I hoped it would be. But it connected with my values in a different way around working with youth.

And then eventually pretty much right before I left Vancouver for my year in Tanzania, I discovered WOC Talks and that opened up a whole new world to me of other women of color in Vancouver who might be yoga teachers or it might be in the wellness world, or even just women of color doing other things, but just a community. And I was like, wow, this is so exciting. I want, these are the people I want to collaborate with and these are the people I want to be, you know, connecting with. And then of course I was leaving for Tanzania, so it was a little bit bittersweet, but I think a lot of them will still be there when I get back. So I'm looking forward to that when I get back, connecting with that community again and seeing where we can go.

Zafira: I love that that space has been carved out in the city. What did it feel like to find a community that you know, was passionate about diversity and brought together women of color? Especially being in Vancouver for you?

Sashah: It was groundbreaking – it was so amazing because also at that time I was really struggling at my job with issues around diversity and inclusion. I was really advocating to my bosses and my supervisors in our hiring process that we should be trying to hire more people of color. We worked a lot with Indigenous communities in that job. So I was especially advocating that we should really be trying to hire Indigenous folks to work with us, and that we should at least the very least we should be doing is finding training for our, for our staff around diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias and stuff like that. And I was being met with a lot of resistance – I would even say contempt. It was really not welcome, any of my questions or concerns and suggestions. So I was really feeling alone in that and kind of needing support of other women, especially women of color that had maybe experienced that or just that I could talk about that kind of stuff with freely. So it was like a breath of fresh air. It was amazing to find that community and I was like, I can't believe I'm finding it now right when I'm about to leave Vancouver, all this stuff. But I found it and it's there. And just knowing that is like a huge, huge support. So, so grateful to have found it.

Zafira: Thanks so much for sharing that. With your previous job – if you're comfortable sharing –I'd love to know what some of the justifications were from your employers around why they were not accepting your recommendations for more inclusivity and diversity in the workplace?

Sashah: It was pretty interesting because I worked for a nonprofit, so, you know, on the surface they would really say that their values were aligned with mine in creating safe spaces for every kind of person. But they weren't quite able to get, I think the importance of representation or lived experience. And in a job where you're counseling, you're literally helping people through some of their most difficult times. And it also has a bit of a power dynamic to it, right? Like, especially with youth. So they look to you for advice even though that's not necessarily what you give, but they look to you as role models. So if they're only seeing one kind of person in that role of role model or mentor, then that's telling them something about themselves without even saying anything. And I think the people that I worked with really had a hard time understanding that. I think they just thought like, we know that we're, we're a great resource and we're doing great work and yeah, that would be nice to hire Indigenous people or more people of color, but we're also just looking for the best applicants by our standards.

I don't think they were giving the value to lived experience and to representation or even to not being open to capacity building with somebody who may be had less experience but had a lot of lived experience. Like I just didn't feel like they were willing to basically do the work to do it would take to organize a training or to, you know, really put in the energy and effort it would take to capacity build with somebody or something like that. And so it was really disappointing because I really believed in that program. I really believed in what we were doing. And so that was a huge disconnect for me. In the process I also felt really like I haven't heard and silenced, which is a really common experience I think for a lot of women of color. So it was just compounded in a place that I had thought, you know, would be a good match for me.

It was really, it was really disappointing and I didn't really understand the reasons why they were not really interested in progressing at least in a tangible way. They would kind of say yes and like, "Oh yeah, we could look at that" or, but whenever it came to concrete actions it was really, really difficult to get them to move and do anything. Yeah. because it sounds like you're putting a lot of the work in to get that conversation moving and put you know, some tangible structure and systems in place, set them up for the future.

Zafira: And yeah, it's really disheartening to hear about – like you said – it's unfortunately an experience many people of color go through in the workplace then. Is that an experience you've heard shared between other communities of color that you have interacted with before?

Sashah: Yeah. Definitely, once I started talking about it, I realized that this is something that happens all the time, which is both comforting in that I wasn't alone, but also really disheartening. And knowing that this is so common because you don't want that to be the experience. I almost wanted it to just be an isolated incident with these people that I was working with and I knew that it wasn't.

But when you start to hear from other people, you realize there's a lot of talk and not a lot of action. I think happens especially in a lot of companies or organizations that want to appear that they're doing the right thing and maybe in some ways and in some aspects of their work, they really are doing great things. But to me, especially if you're working for an organization that values supporting people and values or say that they value being a safe space for every kind of person the work in that never ends to me. To me, that's a lifelong commitment to learning. And growth. And so what I saw a lot of was what we were doing. We're doing really well at this. So we don't need to continue to grow. We don't need to continue to learn. We already have the experience or we already know that what we do is important and good, so we're not going to strive to be better or be safer for more people. And that's really sad I think and really contradicts, you know, I think what they ultimately are trying to create.

Zafira: Yeah, absolutely. And I want to flip this switch a little bit and dive into your experience with Girlvana, because I stumbled across a blog – where I think it was an email chain between you and the founder – and it was so wonderful to reading through that, about your motivations for wanting to join and ultimately how accepting they were of those reasons. Can you dive into what that whole experience was, how you approached them initially and the reasons why?

Sashah: Yeah, definitely. So that was actually a great experience because like I said, I've always been passionate about working with youth and then of course yoga, so they fit together so well. So when I found Girlvana, I was like, this is amazing! This is something I need to be a part of. And I did the training with at the founder and it was awesome. And then I feel like once you open your eyes to diversity or the lack thereof, especially in yoga or wellness, you really can't unsee it. So I just started, you know, obviously I was following Girlvana on Instagram and stuff like that and I just noticed like, man, all the mentors are white women and what message does that send? Like who is welcome there? What are we telling these young women about who can be leaders again and who can be not just who can participate, but who can be a leader in this, in this world of yoga? I was just seeing a lot of the same people or same faces that you know, you see in the yoga community.

So I knew a little bit about Ally Maz who's the founder, and I knew that she might be open to the conversation. I hoped she would be open to it, just knowing what she posts about and what her interests are. I just was like, you know what, I, to be very honest, I don't want to be a part of Girlvana if we're just replicating the status quo – I want to be a part of something that's empowering all women, women of color and recognizing privilege and power and all those dynamics that come into play. So I just wrote her an email and opened up my thoughts and let her know how much I loved Girlvana, but also that these were the things that I noticed.

We just started writing back and forth and she really was open to hearing what I had to say. She really acknowledged my lived experience as a woman of color, especially in the yoga world. And ultimately we, yeah, we really like came to this beginning I think for Girlvana of really exploring what diversity could look like, what we could do with Girlvana and she compensated me for my consulting, I guess you would call it. Which is amazing, because I think a lot of women of color do a lot of emotional labor and, and educating and are never compensated for that.

So that there was definitely tangible actions there with Girlvana to make me feel like my voice was important, it was valuable and that they wanted to hear it and they wanted to do better, which was like everything that I wanted from my other job and wasn't getting. It was really amazing to see the opposite effect of actually using your voice and speaking about things that are important and have people respond so well and actually value you.

Zafira: 100%. After you went through that experience, did you and Ally maybe talk about whether you really did see an impact of having like a woman of color as a mentor in the program – were there more women of color who attended, or might be more encouraged to attend, knowing that the representation is more diverse? What was the experience after you went through everything and going forward?

Sashah: Yeah, so after we talked and you know, ultimately shared our email exchange with the world just to share that these conversations can happen and they can go a lot of different ways and here's how ours went. Ultimately Ally invited me to attend the girls on the spring retreat that year as a mentor. I got to share my story and I really bring up some issues about privilege and power and diversity and talk to the girls that were there about it. And they received it so beautifully and we had these really amazing conversations.

To me, that's the ripple effect of starting a conversation like that. So now not only have me and Ally had this conversation, we've shared it with everyone on the girls on our blog. We've brought those issues to the girls on our retreat. Each and every one of those girls is going home with something and also has connected with me and know that they can ask me questions. And it was a space for learning. I think what I saw was a lot of learning and a lot of just a ripple effect started. That is the coolest thing to see. I think one of the things I love most about working with youth is I find that they're so eager to learn, that they want to know and support other people. And I think it's sometimes easier than with adults. So it was just really beautiful. It was amazing. I still keep in touch with a lot of the girls from that retreat and of course with Allie and the girls. When I'm back in Vancouver, I 100% plan to teach with Girlvana again. So yeah, I think it really just keeps going and all those little learnings hopefully continue not just with me but with all the other girls and women involved.

Zafira: Totally. I love that you're such a conversation starter and I agree – once something's sparked and everybody can carry that forth into the world, that's your work showing up in all the amazing ways. So let's dive a little bit the yoga industry specifically – I know you'd mentioned cultural appropriation and we'd briefly chatted about, you know, practices and products of Indian descent in particular and turmeric lattes. I would love to know what your relationship with yoga, ancestrally with where it was created and how you learned about it, but then how you also see it being used and marketed in the Western world.

Sashah: So I'm of Indian descent, but for a long time I didn't really connect a lot with that part of myself for a lot of reasons. Probably because of growing up in a really white neighborhood and a lot of my friends were white. And so, you know, when you're younger you just want to fit in. So I really just sort of put that part of myself to this side or downplayed it a lot when I was younger and I didn't really feel connected to like, my Indian history and ancestry that much.

That's really changed as I've gotten older. But also both of my parents grew up in East Africa, so their connection to India isn't that strong either. So it was interesting for me growing up. And so actually when I did my teacher training, my yoga teacher training in India, that was my first time going to India. And it was really through yoga and through that experience that I gained this deeper connection with my heritage. I actually wrote a blog post about this because it was so impactful for me that being in India and being around people that look like you and little cultural things that are just the norm there. Knowing that yoga came from my heritage, like that made me feel so proud and so connected.

It was really beautiful and I think that I really started to see how in the West and then like in Vancouver, Canada and the States, how yoga is not always that. I see yoga as being really dominated by white women and being kind of used as this chameleon for all different things. Like it's fitness, it's to help you with stress and it's so that you can perform better in our capitalist society and you know, it's to sell your products. And that's really not what yoga is about. So I think for me, what's sad about that is that number one, the people that do really engage with yoga and all of yoga often don't know where it came from. They don't know where it started, what the intention of it was. They don't know its roots. And that's really sad. That also really makes me angry too because it's, it's something, you know, that has been stolen in a way and is used for all kinds of different agendas.

So it's really disheartening sometimes to be in Vancouver and go to a yoga class and be the only person of color or person of like Indian descent in that class. And have it just be about fitness – it's just missing something, you know? It makes me really reflect on things like colonization and cultural appropriation and how those really strip things of their meanings and make it work for whoever's using it. It really made me think a lot about like who's really benefiting from this, who profits off of this and and who does that support? Like does it support diversity and inclusion? Does it support people of Indian descent or does it just really create this, this bubble of white people doing what they want with whatever they've found and making it work for them? Which I think is, it's not very cool and really makes me, like I said, sad and angry.

Zafira: Yes – I can totally relate to this, especially being a woman of color in a yoga class here, this has happened to me too.

Sashah: Yeah. So it seems to be very split and that's all that's really about like how many calories you're burning or something like – I hate when those are the things that come up in a yoga class. Because you're like, we just want to like stand up and be like, no. Like, you don't get it. You just don't get it. And it's totally fine to exercise and to do things that work for you, but you can't call it yoga then. That's not what you're doing. You're just doing exercise and that's wonderful. But you know, it's not yoga 100%.

Zafira: Yeah. I grew up in Kenya and my yoga teacher was a really old Indian woman and it was just a lot of like breaths of fire and when I came here, it was so different. But I would love to chat a little bit more about, you know, who is kind of like leading the charge in the Western world when it comes to educating on yoga and the roots. I noticed that I don't see a lot of people of color who are fitness instructors or yoga instructors or people of Indian descent doing that educational work around here…

Why do you think that is the case? Do you think it's kind of related to what you were earlier about feeling disconnected from your roots growing up on the side of the world? I would just love to dive deeper into that and to why they're not of Indian descent, or why people of color are not the sole dispensers of this ancestral knowledge over here (in the West).

Sashah: Yeah, I think there's a lot of reasons and I don't think I have like a definitive answer, but I have a lot of thoughts. I think the number one thing that, that I think of when I think of loss of culture for many, for many people and people of color all over the world, it's colonization, right? Like colonization is when someone else comes in and tells you what you can do, what you can practice, how you have to be to basically fit in to their world. So I think about colonization, definitely. I know through like my own research and reading, like there were times when when Indian people couldn't practice yoga, couldn't practice their spiritual practices. Like, like so many other communities, like the indigenous community in Canada, like, you know, this happens all the time with all kinds of people. So I think colonization is a big reason maybe for that disconnect people have with, from their culture, from their heritage, from like the things that we see now being dispensed by white people.

I think another reason is that there's not often space for us, or at least it doesn't feel like there is space for us. Like we're just talking about being the only woman of color in a yoga class and that doesn't feel encouraging, right? That doesn't feel like: how can I be a leader in this community if I don't look like any of the leaders that are already in this community? And if you don't really have all the information or connections between them, why is that white person at the head of the yoga community or why is does this look the way it does? Then it's just easy to be like, I don't belong here. And what I say must not be a value or matter. I think unfortunately that is perpetuated by a lot of leaders. At times like I just, I don't know if you've heard of the Yoga Is Dead podcast – it's a pretty new podcast – but it talks a lot about these kind of issues. One of the women on there was sharing about how she is a South Asian woman of Indian descent and she was at a yoga teacher training run by other white women and they were talking about pronunciation, you know, like Sanskrit pronunciation – and she pronounced it one way and the teacher pronounced it another way. The teacher literally told her she was wrong in her pronunciation, even though it's her culture!

Sometimes I think, unfortunately people are pushed out – if someone's in a position of leadership and they're really benefiting from that, I think there's that scarcity mindset to push other people out – especially someone that doesn't look like you. Someone who you're afraid is telling you that you don't know as much as you do. So yeah, I think those are some major contributing factors.

Zafira: So I think we have an understanding that there is a big issue and we've talked about the ways that it shows up and some reasons why. I would love to know your thoughts on how we can begin to close this gap and what are some ways that you know, people can step up to either support more people of color in the wellness industry or start to shift their internal practices to be more inclusive. If you could give people listening three ways or three things that they could do to start making a shift in the right direction – what are some things that come to mind?

Sashah: That's a great question. I think number one thing is what we're doing right now, which is talking about it, having these conversations. Putting it out there, hearing from women of color and people from color, so people of color. So really listening and learning from people of color I would say would be the first, the first thing. And, and it might not seem like there's a lot of this out there, but the more you become aware of them or find one, there are, there are more of us and there's lots of us out there and we all have things to say. So I think listening and learning from people of color would be the number one thing that I would say. And whether that be on Instagram or it be by, you know, doing your own research or reading a book or just seeking someone out and being mindful that they may be doing emotional labor when they explain things to you. So, you know, making sure that it's an energy exchange when you're learning from people. That would be the number one thing.

I think number two would be the support piece, which would be then once you learn these things and you feel able to understand what's what's going on is to really show the support. So that might just mean purposely picking yoga classes that are run by people of color. That's what I do. I really try to direct my dollars towards people of color and women of color when I have that choice. So there may be less women of color or less people of color in the wellness industry, but they're there and you can find them and you can choose to support them with your dollars, with your time, by attending their events, by attending their classes, by taking their workshops. So support tangibly by learning and paying them, I think is incredibly important.

And then I think the third thing would be just like committing yourself to acknowledging your own bias and how you might be benefiting from the status quo. So I know that sounds kind of complicated, but it doesn't have to be. So it's a process of locating yourself, like figuring out, okay, who am I and where do I come from and what are, what are my privileges in this world? Or even if it's just within the wellness world, really getting clear about how you are privileged is setting you up in your, in your world. And then taking the steps to either spend that privilege in a way that supports people who are not in that state of privilege and just really going within yourself in your own life to deconstruct what your privileges are and how you can use that for, for the best thing and how you can use that to dismantle these systems of oppression. And I don't know if you know Rachel Ricketts, but she's one of my favorite people. She has a course that really focuses on that, that I've taken because I definitely have privileges, we all do. So it's not just for white people, it's for everyone. But yeah, really taking that on for yourself and locating yourself and your own privileges and what you can do with them.

Zafira: Amazing. Thank you for sharing that. Because there are some really powerful takeaways and I love that you mentioned Rachel Ricketts for people listening, she does a lot of work in the diversity and inclusion space and she takes on a lot of emotional labor. Who are some other women of color or people of color that people listening can start to follow to learn from, support and you know, share the work they're doing that you look up to or are closely connected with in this space?

Sashah: Absolutely. Well Rachel is definitely one of them. I'd say. I'm not personally connected with her but Susanna Barkataki is is doing amazing work now specifically within the wellness world in yoga, with diversity and inclusion. I mentioned already the Yoga Is Dead podcast, which is run by two South Asian women and it's amazing and also a great resource. I recently did a takeover for an Instagram page called ABCD Yogi. And they are also a great resource and they focus specifically on yoga and wellness and supporting like the desi community or the people of Indian descent in those spaces. So that's really amazing. Yeah, those are some people off the top of my head. If I think of more, I'll just show when I get everyone following the right people. Yeah. You know, making sure that our feeds are, you know, just representative.

Zafira: Totally. And are there any brands right now – I'm thinking about anyone listening who might be involved in leadership or might be a decision maker – that you think are doing a good job at trying to close the gap or are showing up in a way that is supportive of, you know, people of color that are doing the right things for us to look to for examples of how to follow that?

Sashah: Yeah, so something I just discovered not long ago. For those of us that are, you know, doing yoga and doing yoga on the go, I like to do yoga at home and when I'm traveling and sometimes that means, you know, doing it with a class on my computer. And I just found this website called Setu Community and they're all about showcasing diverse voices in yoga and wellness. They feature a lot of people of color who are yoga teachers and you can stream their classes, do them at home and you can learn from them, which is something that I think is so amazing – because as somebody who really wants to support those people and people of color in that industry, it's hard to find sometimes. And a lot of the yoga sites and resources out there are primarily focusing or have features with white women. So that one's really great.

I've also been pretty impressed with MEC lately. And there sort of conversation around diversity and inclusion in like the, I would consider this wellness still like sort of the outdoors and industry of like people who hike and do stuff outdoors. I've been really impressed with them really owning that they haven't been very diverse and that whole industry has not been diverse really in the past and they've really been taking steps to change that. So I've been impressed with them and I think that's all I can think of at the moment as far as brands. because to be honest, like there aren't that many that are doing that great of a job. But there are a few and I'm sure there's more that I'm forgetting, but yeah.

Zafira: What are some things that you have seen MEC doing to, to show up and make those changes? What are some key things you noticed them doing?

Sashah: Well, so I'm part of the MEC community – not that I'm like extremely outdoors-y anything. So I get their emails as if you're part of the community. And I was just so impressed because they literally sent out an email to all of their members just saying, look, we know that we have not been doing a good job at this diversity and inclusion stuff and we recognize that the outdoors industry is typically not very diverse and we want to do something different. We want to change that. We want your feedback and we want to do better.

So I think that's step one, right? Acknowledging what is real, what is actually what is the reality. Because for so many people, that step is so hard, right? That's vulnerable to to admit like, we need to do better in this area. So I really was impressed by that. And then they gave a plan, a plan of tangible actions and that is everything to me, right? Like we care about diversity, we care about inclusion, we care about people of color. That's a really easy thing to say and it sounds really good, but I don't believe you, unless you have a plan that has tangible steps, actions, money, people behind it. Because if you don't have a plan, it's not going to happen. And then it's just performative and that's almost worse.

Zafira: Right. because then you're pretending you're doing something that you're not.

Sashah: So that has been, that was really impressive for me. And I think I mean, I don't see those as being very hard things to do, but I know that they get met with resistance a lot. So I was impressed by that for sure.

Zafira: I love that. Okay. So let's start to wrap up. Why don't you tell us a little bit more about what's next for you, what's coming up in the next year and what's lighting you up and how we can support what you're doing in the world?

Sashah: Yeah, so as I mentioned, I'm in Tanzania right now I'm working with the Canadian NGO doing gender equality work. So I'm working with women. I'm working with an organization, a local organization here to help support them in creating more gender equality in their programming, in their institutional policies, stuff like that. And I'm really, really loving it. It's really amazing work and I really wanted to be intense and because of my family history in East Africa, I really wanted to get in touch with that part of my roots. So it's been really amazing experience.

I'm headed back to Vancouver in September and when I get back, I don't know what I will be doing for work just yet, but I'm really hoping it will be in the areas of diversity and inclusion and be doing similar advocacy work like I'm doing here or capacity building work. So that's what I'm hoping to be doing. What I know I will be doing when I get home will be teaching yoga. I really want to be teaching Girlvana yoga again, yoga for teen girls.

What I would really like to do is teach some classes for the community that are focused on women of color and possibly allies, just to continue creating those really important spaces. Like I talked about, I'm finding for myself that it’s Women of Color talks. So I just really want to build on that and keep supporting that community to keep building that community and really carving out a space, especially in the yoga world for people of color and women of color. That's really where my focus is going to be. So yeah, I'll, I'll keep everyone posted and hopefully see some of you out there, because that would be the best.

Zafira: I can't wait to be there! And for people who don't live in this city, what's the best way to support you online and keep up with what you're doing?

Sashah: Yeah, my best, the best thing, the thing that I'm on every day is my Instagram account, which is @hellosashah. So I'm really, I'm really active on there. I post about pretty much everything I do. So my work, I post resources, I post conversations. So it's a really great place for you to connect with me and also to continue learning about the things we've talked about in this conversation because I'm always posting about them and talking about them. And it will definitely be where I would post my yoga classes and other types of things that I'll be doing. So it's, that's the best way to keep in touch with me. Website is coming. I'm working on it, so it'll be on there too.

Zafira: Well thank you so much for sharing all the resources and things we've chatted about just in the last like 40 minutes. So I'm sure people who do follow you are going to get a lifetime education! Thank you so much for sharing your time and your space and all your knowledge with us.

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