Yoga.Unity is Ottawa’s first weekly series of yoga classes for racialized, black, trans, cis-gendered, LGBTQ2IA+, Indigenous, First Nations, Metis, Inuit, refugee, newcomer or immigrant womxn or person of colour.
Started in 2015, our classes allow womxn of colour to benefit from the healing and nurturing properties of yoga & movement while building a community of wellness, trust, and care in a safe and supportive space.
Womxn of colour can reap the health benefits of a calming and restorative practice while being surrounded by others who share similar experiences. Our classes are introductory in nature – all levels are welcome and class is offered by pay-what-you-can donation.
Classes are held on the traditional and unceded territory of the Omàmiwininìwag (Algonquin People in theAlgonquin language).
Our founder: Emilie Jabouin
Emilie-Andrée Jabouin is the creator and founder of Yoga.Unity, a black woman of Haitian descent who believes in womxn manifesting their truest self through creativity. She started this project on May 12th 2015 with her sister Priscilla Jabouin as the first yoga instructor. Emilie came up with the name of this project because she believed it was important to establish a community for yoga that allowed for womxn of colour to come as their whole selves into a space to heal, support each other and build comm.Unity, hence Yoga.Unity.
Emilie learned about womxn of colour and racialized peoples’ spaces while working and volunteering at the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa. During that time, she learned valuable lessons about pragmatic anti-racist and anti-oppressive spaces and how to create space for people whose experiences are not reflected in mainstream services and institutions. The idea of creating a womxn of colour space that would not only be called on when there was a crisis, but that is a consistent space of healing and acknowledgement of life was at the root of Yoga.Unity.
Emilie is a community advocate who proposes service models, strategies, policies that enhance people of colours’ lives in contexts where many are forgotten. She is also a researcher interested in further documenting black Canadian history and transnational black consciousness movements. As a dance artist, Emilie seeks to tell stories and share her research through the educational power of the performing arts. She believes in the power of movement, knowledge and trusting one’s “blood memory” as ways of healing and harboring community for a more liveable future.
Emilie moved to Toronto in the fall of 2016 to pursue a PhD in Communication and Culture. She is pursuing a career in dance as well as in academia, and foresees the expansion of Yoga.Unity under another model in Toronto.