The Social Impact Interview Series spotlights real-life stories and voices from yoga change-makers who have engaged in Yoga Alliance outreach work, detailing how their teaching and practice have directly benefited their personal lives, those they care for, and the communities they serve.
Roxanne Sanchez was born and raised in New Mexico and currently remains a native resident, with her roots very grounded and deeply invested into these sacred lands and the people. Her native name is Toh’tcho-OhLonē, Baby Hummingbird, Sister of WolfClan, Guardian of the North and Wisdom Keeper of the Earth. She is united with mind, body, and spirit; every single part of her life is aligned with yogic principles, and she adheres to the eight limbs as her Yog(a) practice.
How did you find yoga?
Yoga found me through a severe injury and chronic pain diagnosis when I was 21. I started attending college at University of New Mexico, and a friend suggested I take a yoga class. I attended this yoga class once, and I was only focused on breath and mediation. It changed my condition, life, and perspective immediately. My mother and other acquaintances supported my yoga path and extended my knowledge further about yoga. I chose yoga and received yoga as my guide to get closer to myself, manage my ailment, and activate my gifts and powers.
How would you explain yoga in one sentence?
Yoga is a lifelong practice of deepening your connection to the breath in order to be fully present and aware: aware of your contribution to the present moment, and aware of how you choose to develop your energies for the peace of all.
How has yoga benefited your personal life?
Yoga has benefited my entire life in keeping me centered, anchored, and at peace with every fluctuation, aspect, and facet of life. From internal and external, to global and spiritual, universal and intimate, financial and sacred.
How has yoga benefited your community?
I chose to sustain a yoga studio in my community that is faced with poverty, addiction, historical traumas, is a food desert, and lacks jobs due to how rural it is. I have been teaching yoga for six years here and working with the Pueblos. I am here to serve the minority, indigenous and people of color, to unite (do yoga) together for the generations, and to overcome inter-generational trauma so that a story of truth of love and resiliency can be expressed and settled.
By creating a public space for my community to access and experience yoga, the people in this community have opened up a little bit more to “outside” influences regarding wellness. Yoga has benefited this community in a way that extends from the Catholic Church. It’s a space to be connected to God and to have the freedom to move and voice their thoughts. It’s a space that is neither condemning nor judgmental. It’s a space to express and be surrounded by different elements that encompass God’s love. Yoga has brought people together in a new way of being with each other.
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