Alexandra Kaufmann proves melanin and yoga are a powerful mix
Alex Kaufmann, better known on Instagram as @bahayogi, is one of the few women of color represented in the yoga community.
Her flexibility and bod will encourage a couch potato to get involved in someones yoga practice, yet she’ll tell anyone that it all comes from patience and dedication. Bringing positive vibes to everyone across her platforms, she’s using yoga to communicate a greater purpose.
Check out how she got her start as a yogi and her insight on WOC in the yoga community below!
What made you get into yoga and how long did it take you to become a natural?
I started yoga when I was pregnant with my daughter in 2013. I began practicing as a way to stay in shape, thinking solely about the physical aspect but soon after unearthed so much more than that. A natural? Haha, I think everyone has a yoga natural inside of them — breath and movement — we all have that and that’s all you need for your yoga practice. But I’ve been practicing for almost 4 years now.
What were some of the challenges you faced when first starting out?
Comparing myself to other yogis who were much further into their journey than I was was the biggest one! This is the worst because you really lose track of how amazing and fruitful your own practice and growth is. Other challenges would probably be finding time to practice which came down to just making that personal commitment to find time. Oh, and stepping out of my comfort zone was like pulling teeth — it can happen so easily and it still happens to this day — I find a flow or style of postures that I’m good at and just kinda hang out there, haha. That stagnancy though is a progress killer. Beware!
Top 3 yoga poses?
Splits (Hanumanasana), Wheel (Urdhva Dhanurasana), Lord of the Dance (Natarajasana).
You have lots of pics on the beach, what’s your favorite beach to practice your craft?
I don’t have a favorite beach per se, but any beach with little to no people, crystal clear water and flat, hard sand is ideal!
What advice would you give to our bb’s reading that want to get into yoga but don’t know where to start?
Find a class near you at a yoga studio or gym. Remember, there are many styles of yoga so try different classes and find which style works best for you. If you don’t have classes in your area, try online yoga videos to start. YouTube and apps are where I started. Also, look out for my online videos coming soon to www.bahayogi.com 🙂
As a WOC what changes are you hoping to see in the yogi community?
More of a presence and integration in yoga magazines and prominent yoga social media outlets. It would also be great to see more lovin’ for WOC of all sizes! Yoga is for everyBODY.
Why do you think there’s a lack of black and brown people in the yoga community?
Mainstream representation of yoga is — and has been for a while — a skinny white woman. I think this has set a narrative that POC don’t do yoga and aren’t represented, so why try it? Looking through IG now makes me smile though because the amount of melanin is growing and I’m loving it.
What are some active steps many could take to welcome more black/brown people to the community?
I think a lot of it starts with representation with big brand yoga companies. We need to be represented more — all sizes, all shades, all genders. After that, the growth through IG and other social media outlets — more yogis of color, more support, more integration, more education.
Who are your favorite yogi’s?
Doing yoga on the beach vs. doing yoga at home, which do you like better and why?
On the beach! I love to be outside, especially near the ocean. Yoga is deeply rooted in breath and there is something magical and cleansing about breathing in salty air. Also, the sand breaks all of my handstand falls!
Finally, what is your ultimate goal that you’d like to reach within the practice of yoga?
Ultimately, from my practice I personally want three things — self-acceptance, respect and growth. With my practice I hope to ultimately share the power and benefits of yoga — mentally, physically and spiritually.