Yoga. Tyrone Beverly: Crusader for Diverse Inclusivity in Yoga Tyrone Beverly, the founder of Im’Unique, shares with us a few great stories about his journey as a… By Wanderlust Tyrone Beverly, the founder of Im’Unique, shares with us a few great stories about his journey as a teacher, a leader and an inspirational guide to thousands of diverse yogis in Colorado. • • • Wanderlust: What is your yoga story? Tyrone Beverly: My yoga journey started when I became interested in becoming more discipled in all aspects of my life. Bruce Lee was the only example I’ve ever seen of the kind of discipline I was seeking. He inspired me to tune into something far beyond the physical realm. His mental and his physical ability was quite intriguing. So, in pursuit of a deeper understanding of my greatest potential, of my body, of life, I found myself looking for a conditioning video by Bruce Lee. By conditioning I mean mental conditioning, physical conditioning, environmental conditioning, and unfortunately/fortunately I found a Patricia Walden yoga video. At the time, I felt a little uncomfortable about the purchase I was about to make. At that time, yoga studios were not on every corner, in every health club, in commercials, and all the media platforms that it has today. I went home, put the VHS (yes, it was a VHS), in the VCR and an hour through the video I felt myself sweating, shaking, and I realized there was different levels of being in shape. I also realized I had found just what I was looking for. I mean, it wasn’t Bruce Lee, but it was just what I was looking for. How could something so gentle, and so soft, be so challenging? WL: What motivated you to start Im’Unique? TB: As a result of my personal experiences, I became interested in the social framework that governed health and wellness – the framework that governs our society as a whole. Despite the fact that many of us in the health and wellness sector consider ourselves to be doing the “right thing,” we still hold on to old standards and primitive ways of assessing success. We build new initiatives without sufficient consideration of barriers that indirectly fortify inequalities, create more division, and perpetuate the very things we say we’re trying to eliminate. In terms of health and wellness, I feel as though it’s time to address the entire person, the entire community – that being socially, physically, and also environmentally. Teaching a yoga class in a studio or gym, didn’t go far enough for me. I became interested in redefining the principles, the authentic essence of what we really mean and what we can achieve as human beings, to influence and reshape a culture. That was the birth of Im’Unique. WL: Where do you see the organization in 5 years? 10 years? TB: This program is driven by ambition. Results. Dedication. We plan to unite people all across the country in cultural facilities and institutions across the globe. We also have developed curriculum for the school systems from elementary, all the way up to post secondary education. In the next 5 years we plan on unveiling a new formula for education and technology as they both relate to health and wellness, reflect every day life, create accessibility, and genuinely create a more harmonious society. In the next 10 years we want to see our programming with global presence and effect, relevant to the times. WL: What is your biggest fear and how do you face it? TB: My biggest fear is getting a job, becoming complacent, and aging without contributing to a greater cause. Doing things that don’t matter, and have no substance. WL: What would you tell someone who is afraid to start practicing yoga because they don’t “fit in?” TB: I’d tell them to go read my main man Dr. Seuss. “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” (laughs). I would go on to say, you measure how free you really are by your ability to express yourself. WL: What is your favorite yoga pose / why? TB: Funny thing is, I have no favorite anything. I believe people enjoy things based on where they are in that present moment. Everything in my life is governed by circumstances. Wild card: Tell me a little known fact about you. When I was a kid, a box of doughnuts saved my life. I was riding in an old 60s pickup truck. We took a hard turn and the door I was sitting against swung open. I went flying out of the car and rolling over and over again on the asphalt. The box of doughnuts came rolling out with me, protecting my head from the road. Everyone thought the truck ran over me. I got up and the first thing I did was check on my doughnuts. They weren’t so lucky.