Black Girl Yoga Magic
My name is Kala Lacy. I am a community healer, wellness warrior, activist, student, raging water sign, and teacher of holistic health who works within underserved communities across the nation to provide education of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness. I believe that we each hold this transformative power within ourselves and seek to guide my students back into their truth.
I am a second year graduate student studying the practice of psychotherapy. I connect my extensive knowledge of the body, spirit, and mind with a critical analysis of structural violence, considering them inseparable. Since 2015 I have published several articles for popular collectives such as BlackGirlYoga and Black Girl in Om. I have been a featured guest on health conscious podcast, Calming Sense by Kendra Bell and led several healing workshops nationwide.
I consider it my responsibility to provide, fight for, and challenge conceptualizations of care in oppressive spaces. I continue to spread awareness of the importance and complexities of healing at every opportunity, every day. My passion and love for my community pushes me forward and with force. My mission is to help the disenfranchised heal.
I connected instantly with this free spirited Cali native. You will thoroughly enjoy learning more about Kala’s journey to being the creative inspirational healer in the wellness community. Often times we don’t’ get to see the story behind the face of those within the wellness industry. So let’s start right at the beginning!
Please tell me about yourself and your business…
“Similar to water wells found around the world, The Well is a holistic and inclusive resource dedicated to the health and healing of disenfranchised communities. A well holds water, and water provides the nourishment and cleansing necessary for a full life. The Well contains culturally relevant wellness events, tools, and education hosted by activist, yoga teacher, rootworker, and psychotherapist trainee, Kala Lacy.
Techniques derived from the east, west, dirty south, the streets, academia, and our ancestors are interwoven to create accessible, conscious, and transformative wellness tools designed to heal the whole person. Healing is resistance. The daily violence experienced by Black and people of color calls for creative and loving intervention to combat the physical disease, mental illness, emotional stress, and spiritual trauma collected individually and across generations. The Well celebrates and honors all expressions of gender, all bodies, and all ages from every walk of life. Welcome, Wellness Warriors. Come drink and be well.”
What was the light bulb moment that allowed you to see monetary value in your calling?
To be honest, I still struggle with this sometimes! I have found it difficult to ask money from the communities I’m most passionate to serve- low income, queer, women, and non-binary folks, Black and other people of color… communities suffering deeply from oppression. Economics is one of the issues that hits us hardest! So for a while, I did not think charging was an option I should consider. But in supporting others’ dreams, I realized I’m a member of this community too and I deserve my time, my energy, and my effort to be valued. My work is not about money, but money is a necessity so I can keep doing this healing work. I receive funding from other places, offer sliding scale, and even bartering options so that I remain accessible. So, I haven’t had the light bulb moment, but many small revelations over time.
If you had one piece of advice that you could give to an individual looking to transform their life to a lifestyle of wellness, what would it be?
MEET YOURSELF WHERE YOU’RE AT. This means being honest about who you are, what stage of life you’re in, and your needs. This means dropping the expectation that you will look exactly like your hero/inspiration. Be gentle with yourself; this a journey and it will take time. A wellness lifestyle is really just learning to make new choices each day. Breaking old habits is hard!
Where do you pull inspiration from in order to provide others the motivation that they need to make lasting lifestyle changes?
Firstly, my intuition, higher wisdom, god(dess), the universe, whatever your name- that is what leads me. There’s no way I can always know what to say as a therapist, yoga teacher, or friend, but connecting to others’ experiences makes me tap into a deeper part of myself. I also pull a lot of inspiration from my own ups and downs. I have a lot of lessons to choose from! My life story won’t resonate with everyone, but many of us are having really similar experiences.
How has your ethnicity and sexual identity impacted your work? Provide insight on any challenges that you may have faced in your industry.
It has impacted every part of my work thus far, actually. I was introduced to mental health after mine severely declined from constant misogyny and anti-Black racism. I grew up involved with a really violent community of privilege. Hitting my rock bottom showed me a need for culturally sensitive wellness practitioners. I needed someone who looked like me to validate my experiences and tell me I could survive. That was not an option, which I think is a problem. So my journey began with becoming who I needed. I’m a yoga teacher, a training therapist, and inclusive and loving wellness educator. As I continue to grow I remain connected to where I came from. I’m still fighting for that little Black girl who was suffering just for being her.
How do you implement wellness into your personal life on a daily basis when you are not providing support to others?
Self-care has not been easy and I am still working on it! I have learned you have to MAKE time. I follow a general schedule of wellness along with honoring what my needs are each day. So, I know every Monday I need to be on my mat, every Tuesday I have promised to meditate for 30 minutes, take vitamins every day, stuff like that. In addition to this, I know my anxiety loves to play games. So wellness in my personal life is also recognizing when I will be or am triggered and doing deep breathing, stopping my critical thoughts, or telling someone I need help. I am finding the motivation in the love for myself, and for the fact that I love others so much. I can’t give what I don’t have. You can’t pour from an empty cup. I have to take care of me in order to be there for others.
What is one alternative remedy that you cannot live without?
I try not to be so attached to anything that I cannot live without it. But the key word here is “try,” and I really love incorporating roots and herbs into my life! I love to use sage to smoke cleanse my home, fresh ginger when I am sick, or cannabis for an enhanced relaxation. I think Earth gives us so much to use and I get excited when I am able to heal myself naturally.
What have you learned from mistakes made when first starting your wellness business?
I have learned that I need to be my own WELL of motivation. I emphasize “well” because in starting my business, The Well, I really struggled to believe in myself. I needed a lot of validation to push forward with formalizing my dreams. I was scared. When the time came to buy a domain name I remember I called everyone on my favorites list to confirm if I should do it- NOBODY ANSWERED! It was up to me to make the decision to pursue my dreams. I’m glad no one picked up. It means so much that I moved forward from my own will and strength. Now I carry that power with me as I start with my journey growing BlackGirlYoga, a global community of Black women practicing yoga and healing themselves.
What is one life memory you recall most that has affected your career path?
The honest answer is one of the most difficult times in my life. I mentioned earlier that I had a rough time in the community I grew up in; that’s sort of an understatement. I was in bad shape right before I went to college. I was struggling with really violent racial antagonism and abuse. Life did not seem worth living if this was what it meant to be a Black girl in this world. When it became clear I needed therapy, I was hurt again because there was no one available who could reflect my experiences. I am thankful I am still here, because those traumatic spaces gave me direction. I found purpose in those lows. I needed to go to school and learn important skills so I could heal myself, my family, and people who look like me. That time of my life changed everything. Now I am a holistic community healer with a mission.
What was the most difficult decision you’ve had to make with regard to wellness?
I had to decide to love myself. That meant really confronting the parts of me I do not like and breaking down the reasons why. That’s a whole lot of emotional, mental, and physical labor! That’s a whole lot of trauma to work through. But it has also been one of the most rewarding decisions to start a real and radical self-love journey. It is one I have to recommit to every day. Sometimes I’m better at it than others, but I am always trying.
How do you navigate the Guru syndrome to empower clients to see that they are the masters of their destiny and to not look to you for ALL the answers?
Thankfully, life always is reminding me I do not have all the answers! My ancestors, family, and friends keep me humble. But really, if you’re not encouraging others to recognize and return to their power, are you really helping or just building a clientele? I try to keep it very real with folks I am working with – I do not heal you, only you can do that work. I have a lot of knowledge, but no one is more intimately aware of your needs, space, and process than you. I am here to support and walk with you along the way as we seek out what’s blocking you from that knowledge. Guru syndrome doesn’t fit with what I am trying to do.