Trailblazing Resiliency: Pivoting Humanity for CommUnity Wellness

Portrait of smiling woman with headscarf

Pivoting humanity for CommUnity wellness is at the forefront of every beings physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual dimensions. In times like these, the essentialness of valuing interconnectedness becomes nonnegotiable.

Living together, in spite of our differences, propels each of us to seek out commUnity wellness. Wellness from the commUnity aspect fosters opportunities to build relationships utilizing trailblazing resiliency. Thriving while facing unexpected, unknown, and repeated challenges results from each being tapping into a place of adaptation that includes creating paths of connectivity that were not previously explored. The commitment to compassionately and creatively responding to the impacts of trauma, stress, financial instability, protests, work/life/school/family/business imbalances, and managing day to day activities, has cultivated a commUnity of wellness formulated from individual and collective contributions.

The 2020 vision of the pandemic, racial unrest, business upheaval, and isolation has been an eye opener for how I now see commUnity. As a black woman trailblazer, I have been the first in many aspects of my life, the first to go to college in my family, the first to become an electrical engineer, the first to become an executive leader, the first and only black woman Director of an accredited yoga therapy training program, and the first black owned yoga studio in Alexandria, VA.

PIES Fitness Yoga Studio, an inclusive, accessible, and compassionate commUnity where all beings are welcome and valued, was birthed out of the intersectionality of the lived experiences of my ancestors and my lived experiences. “My Body Don’t Bend That Way”, the PIES flagship yoga class, exemplifies the intentionally of PIES - regardless if your body is flexible or inflexible, regardless if you feel comfortable getting up and down from the floor, regardless if you are a new or seasoned yogi, you are welcome at PIES. PIES existence during these uncertain times has amplified the importance of commUnity and inclusivity.

Every aspect of the PIES experience is inclusive, from the first welcoming phone call, to the delivery of favorite food items to clients who are not able to access their favorite foods due to COVID-19 restrictions, to the greeting of each client by name as they enter the space, and to the thank you for supporting PIES as each client leaves PIES to rejoin with the remaining commUnity. PIES, a role model for what commUnity looks and feels like, embodies compassionate action in every aspect of its existence. Because of the empowering PIES experience, everyone authentically transforms their physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual lives.

Like every small business, PIES has been impacted in an uncountable number of ways. The insurmountable impacts have caused PIES to pivot business in ways that were never considered previously. Business decisions to release one of the two physical spaces that served as an integral component of the PIES commUnity, that predominantly served populations that normally were not served, was heartbreaking. Fortunately, as a trailblazer, armed with the skills of resiliency, I have not given up my vision and mission of ensuring wellness opportunities are available for everyone.