Chakras and Hip-Hop: A Chat with the OMie, Jaimee Ratliff

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Chakras and Hip-Hop: A Chat with the OMie, Jaimee Ratliff

By: Christine Pembroke (@ChrissyySunday)

Featured on numerous platforms such as Ebony Magazine, CBS 46, Fox 5 and more, certified yoga instructor Jaimee Ratliff is changing the game by bringing hip-hop beats to the yoga mat.

In between teaching classes and preparing for the next stop on her already sold-out tour “Flowin’ with the OMies”, Jaimee took the time to share her story with us. In our chat, we discussed yoga’s impact on her life, her highly popular classes, and why self-love is the best love:

TSB: When did you begin practicing yoga?

JR: After suffering from severe back pain cause by scoliosis all throughout middle school, my parents and I knew something had to be done. I got surgery right before I started high school and my surgeon suggested I try yoga. At that time, I’d say the pull was more physical than spiritual or emotional, not to mention I was young.  As I got older, however (and wasn’t broke!) I was able to practice yoga a lot more frequently. After going through a traumatic experience during a trip to Columbia, yoga was a critical component to my emotional healing. That’s when I realized how life-changing it was. I felt centered, focused, and it helped with my PTSD. At that point, it became a lifestyle.

I’m sure you get this question A LOT, but how do hip-hop and yoga go together?

For starters, there is no profanity in the music that is played in my session. I’m mindful of the lyrics shared because we internalize the lyrics we hear. I choose songs that are encouraging, and make you feel powerful which is what yoga is about (check out my NYC playlist here).  One of my favorite songs is “Feeling Myself” by Beyoncé.

What does a typical session look like?

A typical session starts off with a minute or two to introduce yourself to someone next to you. I remember feeling so isolated when I first started – I’d get into my head and silently compare my poses with others. By allotting some time for networking, people are more relaxed and comfortable before they begin. We spend 5 minutes grounding ourselves, then we enter various poses. We finish with a wind-down where I use lavender or peppermint oil for a heightened calming effect.

In some of the videos on your YouTube channel, you mention needing to do self-work before really finding your peace. What was that work and how does one do that?

For me, most of my self-work was overcoming Imposter Syndrome – the feeling that I wasn’t really qualified to lead or live the life I dreamed. Self-work starts with loving yourself unconditionally and taking care of your needs as an individual. I think this is particularly needed in the black community. As women of color, we’re taught to take care of everyone else first. Plus, there’s a stigmatism about mental health. We can’t pour from an empty cup. My self-care regimen consists of writing often, eating right, seeing my therapist, reading books I enjoy, and going to church. The other day I made golden milk and it was everything.

Do you have any advice for someone who is feeling stuck, suffering with imposter syndrome or is beginning their self-work?

Yes! You have the power to get yourself unstuck. Whatever you want to accomplish, put it down on paper and ask yourself real questions like what’s holding you back, or what are you afraid of. Then think through those things and make small actionable steps to get past them. There is magic is letting fear go, so don’t quit before you start Our lives are shaped as differently as we are so don’t compare your path with anyone around you. Nothing happens arbitrarily – so there’s a purpose in whatever it is you’re going through. Above all, be kind to yourself.  

For more information about Jaimee and her upcoming events, visit www.jaimeeratliff.com or follow her on IG @JaimeeRatliff.