The owner of a yoga studio that offered a class specifically for “people of color” has apologized for the “discriminatory language” she used in advertising for her class and has put classes on hold “until further notice.”
Rainier Beach Yoga offered a monthly class called “Yoga for People of Color,” which was aimed at “people of color, and of all sexualities, ages, body sizes, abilities, genders, and experience with yoga,” but asked that “white friends, allies and partners” not attend. The class was met with controversy after KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson broke the story following a news tip from a listener.
Laura Humpf, the owner of Rainier Beach Yoga posted an apology on her website, saying she “never intended to exclude anyone based on race or ethnicity.” The message said the intention of offering her space to “POC Yoga” was to offer “a widely inclusive healing space where all people could receive the benefits of yoga.”
Teresa Wang, co-founder of the specialized class, said the class was started by five queer people of color who came together to create a safe space for people of color who might otherwise be uncomfortable.
On Friday, Jason Rantz said he’d seen unconfirmed social media reports that the class had been cancelled because of threats. MyNorthwest.com could not reach Humpf or a representative of Rainier Beach Yoga to verify those reports. Although Rantz said he disagreed with the premise of the yoga class, he decried the use of threats to get something accomplished.
“You can fight with words, you can bring a spotlight to individual actions and ideologies and, whatever it is you want to do,” he said. “…But to go that step further, and commit a threat, if that’s true, that is just absolutely disgusting to me.”