Yogapreneur Leslie Salmon Jones discusses her unique blend of African spirituality, yogic principals and the freedom of movement.
by Suncear Scretchen Posted: September 24, 2012
Leslie Salmon Jones is equal parts passion and Zen. That dichotomy is present not only in her personality but in her yoga business, Afro-Flow Yoga – a fusion of enthusiastic live drums African dance and calming yoga. Salmon Jones has been in the yoga game since her days training as a dancer at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where she experienced the connection between the two forms of movement. Full article
Afro Flow Yoga was featured in an article on Yoga Journal, Afro Flow Yoga Celebrates Diversity.
Yoga touts benefits for people from all walks of life, and yet there’s an lack of diversity in many yoga classes. This is one thing yoga teacher and professional dancer Leslie Salmon Jones would like to see change. Full article
An article in Exhale magazine spring of 2010, Leslie Salmon Jones discusses the powerful impact of positive mind over matter!
Read the article here: http://www.exhalelifestyle.com/2010-2-1/LeslieSalmonJones.html
Leslie has been featured multiple times in Exhale Magazine–a publication which promotes healthy living–and as their cover model (shown left) in May 2009 issue.
Click here to read “Strength and Purpose” article: http://www.baystatebanner.com/local10-2009-05-28
ABC’s Liz Walker talks with Leslie about Afro Flow Yoga’s roots, rhythms, and benefits. Features AFY filming from December 2010 and from the Hope Lodge in Jamaica Plain.
What inspired you to create Afro Flow Yoga?
The inspiration came after traveling extensively throughout the Caribbean and Africa, dancing since the age of 7 and practicing yoga for nearly 20 years. After the passing of my father, Dr. John Douglas Salmon, who was born to Jamaican parents, I was on a spiritual quest to connect with my ancestors. I felt compelled to take a journey to West Africa (Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin) and shortly thereafter through my travels, experiences and ancestry, came the inspiration for Afro Flow Yoga. After doing extensive research, I later learned
that yoga in Africa has been around for thousands of years! I give such thanks to have been awakened to this ancient knowledge and I believe Afro Flow Yoga taps into a yogic life force that was created long before me and will continue on into the future.
The fusion of these two forms of meditative movement just seemed intuitive to me. In African spirituality, the connection of the elements–earth, air, fire and water–along with the four directions of north, south, east and west, are seen and used in various rituals and dances to unite with the divine. This connects one to the spirit guides, which helps to bring peace and order to humanity, which is common in many indigenous practices. Similarly in yoga, the elements are also used to bring enlightenment to those who practice. Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years in India as well as Africa and throughout the world. The notion that we are all One, coming from the same divine source, has become clear to me. The practice of self-love and extending that love to others, while connecting to the earth, breath and the meditative flow of the internal life force energies, are common principles of both of these practices.
What benefits does Afro Flow Yoga offer?
Afro Flow yoga helps bring balance, order, peace, joy and fluidity to one’s life. The removal of energetic obstacles, not just physically but mentally, spiritually and emotionally, gives way to a connection with one’s inner truth on the path of enlightenment, while also having fun! The idea of practicing Asanas (physical postures) on the mat and then dancing across the floor, all the while connecting breath and movement to the rhythmic drums creates a vibrant meditation that is powerful to apply to one’s own life. How do we find a way to dance and flow through life with obstacles and barriers, and yet transform them into lessons that give us strength, peace, knowledge and enlightenment? This is what we explore in Afro Flow Yoga.
What is your favorite style of African dance?
I love watching all forms of African dance but feel most connected to the dance forms from the African Diaspora such as Afro Caribbean, Haitian, Cuban and Brazilian dance.
What is your favorite yoga pose, and when did yoga become prevalent in your life?
I’ve been practicing yoga for 20 years and it was first introduced to me through my dance training at Alvin Ailey. Physically and emotionally, my favorite poses are the hip and heart openers because they help to release blocked emotional energy. However, I find strength and power in the warrior poses, virabhadrasana 1 and 2, because they constantly remind me of the importance of staying connected to a strong foundation, which is a principle that I carry through my life. I also feel that there is duality in the idea of a peaceful, spiritual warrior. It is important to take a stance in one’s beliefs with grace and faith as opposed to fear and resistance.
In your travels in West Africa, what was the most beautiful thing you witnessed?
There were so many beautiful things that I witnessed, from the natural beauty of the falls in Northern Ghana near Mole National Park to mountain tops in Togo (upper Volta region).
However, the most beautiful experience was looking into the eyes of the children there, with their sweet innocence and
enthusiasm for life. They had very little materials but an abundance of spirit!