We had the good fortune of connecting with Tereney McDowell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tereney, how does your business help the community?
In an industry where the target demographic looks nothing like me, I wanted to do my part in putting an end to that. I wanted DFW Yoga in Black to be something like a megaphone for other black yoga teachers, practitioners, meditation leaders, reiki masters, etc. Creating a safe space for black instructors/leaders to share more about themselves or their crafts, and a safe space for others in the black community within Dallas that are looking for their yoga home.
Representation is an extremely important part of fostering a truly inclusive community. How can anyone feel safe or comfortable in these spaces meant for healing when there’s no real diversity in many area studios? It is limiting when we are trying to teach those that come to yoga to let go of the limitations put on oneself whether it is self-imposed or learned through societal standards and norms. DFW Yoga in Black comes in as a place where other black yogis can learn more about the amazingly talented black instructors, and to show area studios that there are a plethora of skilled black instructors in this area that they may reach out to for opportunities.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
By day, I am a yoga instructor. In 2019 I had reached my limit with corporate America and made steps to venture out on my own as a full-time freelance yoga instructor. I’d taught classes here and there after work since 2015, it took a little time before I realized that a career in yoga could be possible for someone like me. However, no one plans for a pandemic! The year 2020 definitely threw a wrench in what I thought was my plan, but really it turned out to be the brainstorming session I didn’t know I needed and it birthed so many ideas for my future not only as an instructor, but for boosting the black yoga community in Dallas.
This entire entrepreneurial journey has not been easy at all. It is always in motion, hustling to find steady teaching gigs, private clients, building your classes/clientele, ensuring invoices are paid, marketing for yourself, continuing your education, and also maintaining a personal practice…and dare I say a social life! It is absolutely much more work than what many may realize when they think of a yoga instructor. It isn’t all instrumental music and chanting, it is WORK. Mentally, physically, and spiritually taxing. However, I and many like me do this for the love of the practice and the changes it can make for self and others.
When I’m not teaching at a few local studios, private sessions, or planning future workshops, I’m working on ways to reach out to more yoga instructors in the area to feature on DFW Yoga in Black and creating more paid opportunities for featured instructors to share their gifts with the community.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
A week in Dallas? Wow, this is really making me put my thinking cap on since I’m a hardcore introvert and my favorite place is my home! 🙂 However, I do have some favorite places that end up on my frequently visited lists. Blue Sushi Sake is one of my favorite places to go for sushi and ambiance. Their outdoor patio is bright and inviting, and the food/drinks are awesome. As an inconsistent vegan, it is nice to go somewhere that I know I’ll be able to enjoy a great dining experience without feeling like an afterthought.
I also love going to the Dallas Farmer’s Market on the weekends. Despite the crowds (and being slightly overwhelmed by them), I love walking around to see all the different vendors and stopping to grab lunch from Bam’s Vegan or Vegan Vibrationz. I always come home with the produce I needed and lots of things I didn’t know I wanted. I’m happy to see they’ve re-opened!
When it comes to yoga, my go-to places to practice besides my home are YogaSix White Rock and the DFW Yoga in Black outdoor classes held twice a month. I might be biased on that opinion, but I gotta rock with where I feel most at home!
I love to rollerblade whenever I can get the opportunity. However, I’m still fairly new to Dallas. I’ve spent most of my time in DFW in the northern parts of the metroplex, so I’ve been on the hunt for trails that are rollerblade friendly. If anyone has any to recommend, I’m all ears!
Also, I enjoy Deep Ellum a LOT! From the shopping, to the restaurants, and the night life, there’s never a dull moment.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a shoutout to all the black yoga instructors that came before me and paved a way for current and future instructors to continue bearing the torch of health and wellness for our community. A major shoutout to Georgette Dunn for being a shining example of what it means to empower the people you meet with love, compassion, and validation that each of us are worthy of great things. And of course my family, loved ones, and friends who have kept me afloat when I surely thought I was sinking. Last but most certainly not least, every single person that has been a part of DFW Yoga in Black (instructors, class participants, volunteers), you mean more to me than you will ever know! Thank you for making this dream a reality!
Instagram: @dfwyogainblack and @alananotgraceful
Youtube: Tereney Alana-Grace
Fleming Photos Taurean Jones