A local organization is helping to heal negative body image through the power of yoga and community. Read on for more.
They say your vibe attracts your tribe. That’s where one local organization, the Good Vibes Tribe Cincinnati, aims to help.
“Good Vibes Tribe Cincinnati is a yoga outreach organization that offers free community gatherings each month in an effort to heal negative body image through the power of yoga and community,” says Katie Wagner and Jessica Smith, Founders and Facilitators of Good Vibes Tribe.
Good Vibes to Wagner and Smith means acceptance. “Being fully present even when the vibes aren’t so good,” they say. “Tapping into that mindful awareness creates a shift which leads to self-acceptance and eventually self-love.”
In November, Good Vibes Tribe will be celebrating three years of community gatherings. As of right now, Good Vibes Tribe doesn’t have a specific location. “Our tribe is nomadic in nature as we travel to a different location in the Cincinnati area each month,” Wagner and Smith say. “As a non-profit organization, we use donated space from local businesses to host our gatherings.”
Wagner and Smith are both survivors of eating disorders and found recovery through yoga. “Yoga allowed us to reconnect to our bodies in a way that was thoughtful and gracious, while community circles allowed us to listen to the stories of others and then share our own,” they say. “There’s a unique power in combining the elements of mindful awareness with the safety of speaking our truths.” With the name, ‘Good Vibes Tribe,’ “It is our goal to spread positive awareness and let others know there is a brighter side to the darkness of negative body image.”
The gatherings of Good Vibes Tribe have included a variety of different offerings. “At each monthly gathering, we begin with an hour of yoga followed by an hour of discussion with our guest speaker. Topics of discussion have previously included: Acceptance with a Certified Yoga Therapist, Stress Management with an LPCC and Spectrum of Emotions with a Certified Body Talk Practitioner. We also partner with other non-profits such as NEDA, The Giveback Yoga Foundation and Project Heal to help increase awareness and break down the stigma surrounding mental health,” Wagner and Smith say. “In addition to our community gatherings each month, we offer several workshops relating to self-care and mindful eating, both being terms we are seeing more frequently in our culture. Rather than how-to guides, our workshops offer space to dive deeply into the self and discover what it is that our bodies and souls are actually craving.”
The organization defines success through people going for themselves. “If you are new to the practice, it can feel intimidating coming to a yoga class because our society has created an unrealistic image of what it means to have a ‘yoga body,’” they say. “It’s also challenging to show up for yourself in our culture because there is such pressure to be in constant motion…we are always doing and not necessarily for our own well-being. In effect, we aren’t taking the time for ourselves to actually address our physical or emotional needs. We offer that space. All you have to do is show up.”
Good Vibes Tribe wants to be a safe place for the community of Cincinnati. “There aren’t enough safe spaces for people to gather, connect and share their truths without fear of judgment or shame, especially for those who might not have the financial means to participate otherwise,” Wagner and Smith say. “We are out in the community each month offering a service that is completely free and accessible. We’ll even lend you a yoga mat if you need one.”
The organization holds gatherings that meet once a month, but they work on a daily basis. “We work daily because we are passionate about what we do. Because we’ve been there,” they say. “We’ve both suffered with our mental health and well-being but have learned how to reconnect to ourselves through yoga and community. This is what inspired us to become instructors and facilitators… to show others there is a door, all you have to do is knock.”