About this project.
This website was created to raise awareness of Ottawa yogis who identify as Black persons, Indigenous Peoples or Persons of Colour (BIPOC), and the varying sense of belonging felt by these yogis in mainstream yoga and wellness institutions.
BIPOC Yogis of Ottawa was initiated in 2020 by co-founders Kethy Sosso-Kolle (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Stéphane Ippersiel (email@example.com), two yoga teachers based in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, shortly after the epic Anti-Racism / #BlackLivesMatter peaceful protest on June 5th on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
The BIPOC Yogis of Ottawa project is a labour of community love that was born out of deep-seated frustration over racial inequities and a urgent need for remedial action, asking that yoga and wellness institutions in the Ottawa-Gatineau region deeply reflect in their complicity to the under-representation of Black folks, Indigenous Peoples and Persons of Colour (BIPOC) within their staff, instructors and client membership.
Our mandate is threefold:
(1) Elevating the images and lived experiences of the Yogis in the BIPOC community who live in the Ottawa-Gatineau region through our online Photo-Journaling platform, www.bipocyogisottawa.ca;
(2) Raising scholarship funds for Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) certification programs through crowd-funding (www.gofundme.com/f/fund-a-bipoc-yogis-teacher-training) to support aspiring BIPOC yoga teachers living in the Ottawa-Gatineau;
(3) Encouraging yoga and wellness institutions to adopt more inclusive and sustainable practices that will increase the number of BIPOC staff, instructors and clients in their spaces.
#RepresentationMatters: our hope is that more folks of the BIPOC community will be encouraged to join and/or continue the yoga and wellness lifelong journey as they see themselves in these images and stories. All the stories featured in this website were provided by the participating yogis.
Photography by Stéphane Ippersiel.