We had the good fortune of connecting with Tracy Lynn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tracy, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Yoga is a very funny business to be in in 2020. Especially now in the midst of a pandemic that is causing studios to shut around the US. Additionally, yoga as an industry is under a spotlight right now because of its lack of inclusivity to specific communities and social classes. The boutique studios, designer gear, the $25 drop-ins (and that’s the average price) is indicative of privilege. But this concept is not new, this is how a “modern” version of yoga developed in the East and I want to highlight that fact before I segway into my thought process around starting my own business. Yoga in the West was brought over by B.K.S. Iyengar. Originally yoga was reserved for men of a specific social class in India and the able bodied. Many of today’s practioner do not realize this, they see a friendly space that touts acceptance and wellness. But Iyengar’s Guru, Krishnamacharya, felt him to be too sickly and poor to participate in what was usually a show-like display of physical abilities. Iyengar of course surpassed these challenged to become the person he is now, but new he wanted this practice to be accessible to all bodies including his wife and daughters. Yoga has become a massive industry, and an important thing to highlight especially now is the symbiotic relationship of the yoga teacher and the studio. Now that many teachers are being forced online or making the decision to strap on a mask and gloves to teach while socially distancing, the role of the studio in a teacher’s life is under scrutiny. Studios are realizing that they do not have business without their teachers. I started my own online studio and private contracted work over a year ago because I saw the fallibility of studios. I wanted to be in control of my work, and I saw a major flaw of inaccessibility with the behemoth that are yoga studios. Not everyone could afford a membership, some couldn’t even afford a drop in. I wanted to create customized content for clients, and have online resources for people that wanted to study with me around the globe. Plus I wanted everyone, if their budget was nothing, $1 or $15 to be able to get their needs met and bodies tended to. Nobody should be shut out of their wellness.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I can’t talk about my career as a yoga teacher without talking about my career as a dancer. I don’t even like those titles if I have to be honest, I feel more comfortable describing what I do as movement. My movement style is influenced by many modalities that presented themselves as opportunities to heal. Both of my parents were professional athletes at one point in their lives, but their movement methods didn’t fulfill me in the same way it did for them. I started doing yoga in college after I sobered up from years of drug addiction, alcohol abuse and sexual trauma. Everything in my life was dark and I didn’t want to lose my darkness because it felt genuine to honor it. I felt darkness and light move through me simultaneously when I practiced yoga, so naturally I did my yoga final exam I taught a yoga sequence to Tool. The instructor thought that I had a unique interpretation of the physical practice and encouraged me to go into dance. Over the years I found myself fusing yoga with whatever came in my path. This is what set me apart from other teachers, I was starting to understand the human body in its multifaceted form. I didn’t want to just teach yogis, I wanted to teach everyone. I started to teach in mental health facilities across Los Angeles, I was teaching to Jiu Jitsu practitioners, I was teaching breast cancer patients with double mastectomies, I was teaching people that had massive body trauma from gunshots and active combat, I taught rape victims and victims of sex trafficking. None of it was easy, when I watched incremental changes happen in my clients, I became motivated to keep going. In 2018-2019 I had a huge wave of deaths amongst my mental health clients. Suicides and overdoses on fentanyl. I couldn’t leave this path because of those enormous and painful moments. My whole world opened and it was clear that it was my dharma to continue helping people even when they weren’t ready to change. I want people to feel celebrated, accepted. This is why my motto is, “helping others unapologetically be themselves.”
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ll tell you right now what we would do, it’s mostly food related. Torchy’s Tacos for breakfast. Walk around Hermann Park. El Tiempo, I dream of El Tiempo, buttery filet fajitas with some dusty tortillas. Pappadeaux is always a go to as well.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
HOOO! This is tough, I have so many people that have collectively buttressed my process as a human being. I want to dedicate this shout out to my partner, Kamar Adeniji-Adele. He is a Houston-native and has brought me around his hometown and made me fall in love with it. He is the reason I am my own business owner, I know that I did the footwork, but he has encouraged me endlessly, loved me fiercely, and expanded my field of vision. When I started to fiddle with my first camera and felt frustrated with quality, he said “just start.” And I have kept those words near and dear to my heart. Every day I choose to “just start,” and because of that thinking I get to be better every single day. I love you Kamar. I can’t wait to reveal our master plan to the world.
Tahneinei Roy, Kamar Adele, Dr. Paul Koudinaris, and Jenny Littrell