Adrianne “Ajax” Jackson is the owner of the Only Black owned Yoga studio in New Orleans. During a recent chat with her about her upcoming one year anniversary, she mentioned an interest in expanding her business to Nigeria or Ghana.
Since Shoppe Black is all about bridging the gap between Black folks on the continent and in the diaspora, we were curious to find out what inspired this decision.
This is what she had to say:
Expanding to West Africa
A big part of what I do is traveling and building relationships with people all over the world. It is inexplicably beautiful to meet people who are seemingly so different from you only to realize how alike we all really are.
Expanding to West Africa came to me in a very clear vision; a yoga & meditation hub on the coast of West Africa! I could see the windows, the architecture & the landscaping! Intuitively I knew that would be the next big venture.
As a Black woman and as a yoga teacher, I recognize the yearning for self knowledge in my students and in the Black community.
West Africa is a crucial part of our history and our heritage. Expanding there would enable me to use yoga as a bridge between my community here and communities there.
The literal meaning of the word ‘yoga’ is union, and I think there is something incredibly special and revolutionary in being able to unite two communities of shared heritage through something as positive and healing as yoga practice.
New Orleans Motivation
Watching new students, especially black men, explore yoga and begin to recognize the benefits for themselves is extremely rewarding.
These kinds of revelations that I see regularly, have sparked the desire to extend my student reach and also offer my students even more than the gift of yoga.
This community motivates and inspires me to build a close knit, cross-continental community that fosters the encouragement and support I work to continuously offer my students.
First year in business
Throughout this year of owning Magnolia Yoga Studio I have become increasingly aware of our communal hunger to reclaim our health, power, and self discovery.
We deserve and need know who we are. The practice of yoga and bridge to our ancestral land is a beautiful, transformational, and revolutionary way of learning and understanding ourselves as well as connecting with the diaspora in West Africa.
Yoga is the Key
I hope to inspire a collective healing through yoga and rediscovery of our identity as member of the African diaspora. I deeply believe that yoga is a key component to who we are as a people and where we are going. I love to be able to cast a wider net as to who I can encourage to practice yoga.
It is so essential in stress reduction, connecting with our bodies, and loving ourselves. I believe that each individual deserves to experience these benefits.
I would love to see this expansion foster personal and genuine relationships between my students in New Orleans and West Africa.
I hope that this goal of blending yoga and diasporic community building will become part of a larger realization that yes, yoga makes sense as a healing process and practice that will bring us closer.
– Sierra Armstrong & Adrianne “Ajax” Jacskon
Find out more about Magnolia Yoga Studio and their events here.