I had the pleasure of first meeting librarian Jazmyne Baylor at a conference in 2021. As two Black women in a predominately white and female industry, we found ourselves in similar workshops and networking groups during this gathering of librarians. It wasn’t until I came back home and connected with her on the socials that I found out something else we had in common: yoga.
I sat down with Jazmyne via a virtual chat to learn about how a library event led her to yoga, how her practice helps her flourish as a librarian, and why (and how!) libraries create more space for yoga.
Jazmyne on her yogic path: It should come as no surprise that Jazmyne’s first foray in yoga happened at a library. While working in Adult Services at a public library, a yoga instructor held an event and Jazmyne joined in on the fun. “I was so sore afterwards but I loved it.” That experience led to Jazmyne registering for local yoga classes and checking out YouTube videos, exploring different styles of practice. Although she figured out very quickly that Bikram yoga wasn’t her thing (“I cannot do yoga in heat, I’m sorry,” she exclaimed with a laugh.), Jazmyne’s interest in yoga quickly grew from being in class to someday instructing one. Starting her training for her yoga teacher certification this year, Jazmyne owes it all to her consistency. “At least doing fifteen minutes a day makes me feel still committed to my practice.”
Jazmyne on the similarities between librarianship and yoga: When I ask her what these two seemingly different fields have in common, there’s one word that came to mind for Jazmyne: interconnectedness. “Yoga is real big on grounding yourself,” she begins. “As librarians, we have to do a lot when it comes to working with the public.” I nod in agreement, feeling every word as I think of the many things we as librarians do in a day: holding events for all ages, managing conflict among patrons, training library staff…the list goes on. It’s because of this constant activity that Jazmyne says yoga, like libraries, is accessible to all and provides connection.
“Every library should implement some aspect of yoga
within their space.”
Jazmyne on why libraries (and librarians!) need yoga: “Because self care is community care!” Jazmyne answers with exuberance. She’s not only talking the talk, though. One idea Jazmyne plans to launch at her library soon is a storytime yoga event for college students. Yep, you read that correctly! After having success with a similar event for first and second graders, Jazmyne thought that doing the same for stressed out undergrads during finals week would have the same appeal. “Every library should implement some aspect of yoga within their space,” Jazmyne stated, wrapping up our conversation with a bold statement to library professionals across the nation. Let us librarians be as brave as she and heed that call!
See you on the mat!
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