I can't wait for you to get into how yoga can lead to radical self care. Today's guest is fiyah! When Rev. Shelley visited her first yoga studio, she crawled away. While she had been interested in yoga for a long time, the reality of being ‘othered’ in her first attempt to learn yoga stopped her in her tracks. Her perception of a yoga afficionado didn’t look like herself and this was borne out by the behavior of the people at the first studio she visited. Being ignored by the majority is common for people of color, but being ignored based on her size was something very different.
Rev. Dr. Shelley Best is now a master practitioner in the art of of radical self care. She pursued a passion for yoga after reaching the age of 50 and is all about personal and community transformation. Her mission is to serve others by example. Listen to find out how she finds the courage to live confidently in the face of resistance.
In today’s episode we discussed:
- How Rev. Shelley got involved in yoga after 50
- How she crawled out of a yoga studio and almost didn’t come back
- Whether or not it’s ok for Christians to do yoga
- How sexual chocolate led her to gaining 100 lb.
- Why and how we shut down our connection to body because of spirituality
- One advantage of coaching over other helping professions
- How we can learn to love our ankles
Yoga and Radical Self Care – Rev. Shelley Best
Women of color get taught lessons that we need to undo. These lessons tell us that there are places we can’t go along with places and things that we can’t try. Yoga was an interest for Rev. Shelley but it took courage to go into unknown territory. In fact, it took her 3 tries to get started with yoga because she had to keep overcoming fear and obstacles.
She wanted to do something significant as a rite of passage to mark her 50th birthday. Originally she had planned to spend a month at Martha’s Vineyard but one night, at 3am, the voice of the divine woke her up and told her to take a yoga vacation in India instead. Can you imagine? She knew it was a God thing because it came so clearly and out of the blue.
What attracted a self-described, round woman, to yoga? She had identified herself as ’round’ for a lot of her adult life, but in college, she had been attracted to martial arts because she liked challenging her body. She was also in the military and went through basic training so she knew she could do anything. She wanted to try yoga to have the body experience combined with spiritual practice.When you hear from God, you need to do something right then, otherwise you might miss your opportunity or forget the Divine was speaking to you. ~ Shellie Best
There are still some poses that aren’t comfortable for her, but she shows up as a teacher anyway to open the door for other people to enter into practice.
Yoga gives you a gift of appreciating the vehicle (your body) that you have been given to move through your life. It teaches you to honor and appreciate yourself, just as you are. That’s life affirming.It's important to love yourself and be yourself, whatever body you're in.
Women are under attack for so many reasons, every day, and it’s something we need to address. We don’t want to harm ourselves or other women because of this pressure.
When you start to say things to yourself that aren’t edifying, underlying that is the belief you are wrong. Challenge that.
Rev. Dr. Shelley Best
Dr. Best is a visual artist who travels internationally as a human rights and interfaith ambassador. With a passion for yoga found after the age of 50, she is a certified Hatha yoga instructor who devotes her practice to the mission of personal and community transformation.
Rev. Dr. Shelley D. Best, is a nationally recognized leader in faith-based community development, and pastor of Redeemer’s A.M.E. Zion Church of Plainville, CT. Since taking the helm in the fall of 2017, she has led the effort transform the century-old ministry through “The Meeting House Model,” to practice hope, healing and “radical hospitality.”
For the last seventeen years, she has served as the president and CEO of The Conference of Churches in Hartford, CT and is widely credited for its revitalization through the creation of The 224 EcoSpace a $2.5 Million dollar social enterprise “where change makers work create and lead.” Through her leadership the organization has launched a number of nationally recognized initiatives, bringing American Reinvestment Act dollars to Connecticut. In 2016, she was invited to the White House to present a white paper on her innovative model of ministry.
The host of the WRCH 100.5 FM [Southern New England] Sunday morning radio talk show “Rich Answers,” Rev. Best served on the Hartford School Board and is currently an adjunct at Hartford Seminary. Rev. Best has a doctorate degree in ministry from Hartford Seminary, master’s degree from Hartford Seminary as well as a master’s in divinity (M.Div.) from Yale University. A native of Norfolk, Conn., she earned a B.A. in communication from Central Connecticut State University.
Transcript coming soon!