Teacher Spotlight: Chelsea Jackson Roberts
What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?
I was inspired to become a yoga teacher during my tenure as a classroom teacher in a public school. Overwhelmed and underpaid, I began to develop anxiety on a daily basis. I began to deepen my personal yoga practice and wanted to go all the way by earning a certification. I received my certification while I was a full time teacher in 2007 and never looked back. Now, I am no longer in the traditional classroom and I currently conduct research on yoga within marginalized communities and focused my doctoral dissertation on yoga. I also train yoga teachers who want to integrate culturally responsive ways for teaching yoga.
How have you and your teaching evolved over the years?
I began practicing yoga in 2002 and began with a purely physical understanding of the practice. It wasn't until 2007 that I really began to go deeper with the philosophy (yoga sutras, upanishads, etc.) and making the connections off the mat that I began to experience an evolution within my practice.
How do you maintain your health and vital energy?
My daily sadhana includes at least 30 minutes of yoga, at least 10 minutes of meditation, and convening with supportive communities of women who self identity as Women of Color.
As a full time yoga teacher, where do you get most of your income?
I earn my income through speaking engagements, facilitating modules within Yoga Teacher Trainings that focus on cultural diversity and teaching yoga, and through the work of my non-profit, Red Clay Yoga, and our primary program, Yoga, Literature, and Art Camp at Spelman College Museum of Fine Art.
How do you create healthy teacher/student boundaries?
I remind myself to not get too personal. With spaces like social media, I share a lot and I am deliberate about what I share. I keep myself focused by following a posting schedule. Although I engage "followers" quite regularly, I also set boundaries in terms of the questions I answer publicly and the amount of time I spend on networks.
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