Today we’d like to introduce you to Jaimee Ratliff.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My yoga journey started in high school. I was introduced to yoga after undergoing a spinal fusion to straighten my back after being diagnosed with scoliosis. Back then I tried it out because my surgeon told me it would help keep my spine mobile. Fast forward to today and I use my yoga practice not only for the physical benefits but for the mental and spiritual benefits as well. I became a certified yoga teacher in 2016.
In 2017 I started teaching hip-hop yoga classes to bring more diversity to the practice of yoga. I got frustrated never seeing anyone who looks like me in the studios. And so, I set out on a mission to close that gap. Yoga and wellness is for everyone, despite what images are being projected in mass media. I want people of color to know the importance of self-care and to feel safe and supported in my classes. To feel like they too belong.
So far, I’m accomplishing that mission. I teach classes, workshops, playshops and big events where people of color are the majority. Right now I’m doing a hip-hop yoga tour in partnership with City Winery. I’m visiting New York, Chicago, Boston and Nashville leading my signature ‘Hip Hop Yoga Warriors & Mimosas’ events.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road to entrepreneurship is never smooth, but that’s what keeps it exciting! There are bumps, u-turns, abrupt stops and times when I feel like I’m in cruise control. I’m grateful for all parts of the journey. The challenges are what helps shape me into the person I am today. There are often late nights where I’m up and exhausted. But as an entrepreneur in the wellness space, it’s important that I take care of myself first. I can’t pour into the large amounts of students I teach if my own cup is not filled abundantly at all times.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am a certified yoga teacher who leads Hip Hop Yoga classes to bring more diversity to the practice of yoga. I’ve also recently added in Soulscape Sunday classes where we flow to the tunes of one soulful artist. Think Sade, Jhene Aiko, India Arie, Bob Marley, etc. I am most known for my work in Atlanta of teaching sold out hip hop yoga classes and events: introducing more people of color to yoga.
I am most proud of the things my students have said after attending one of my classes. Many have never done yoga before, have never wrapped their arms around their legs while laying on their back, giving themselves a big hug. I’ve had students tell me they cried in savasana and that the experience I provide in my classes is just what they needed. It feels good to know I am helping people come back to themselves and loving themselves just a little bit harder. I think what sets me apart from others would be that I always show up as my authentic self. I share parts of my own journey online a lot.
I’m relatable and human. I don’t try to pretend to know it all or be the most enlightened yoga teacher. I stumble and struggle just like my students and I’m very candid about it. Also, when students walk into my class, they don’t feel alone. We do community building activities that involve them getting off their mats, introducing themselves to someone they don’t know and sharing something they love about themselves. We lock arms in tree pose. We build a real community where people feel comfortable being exactly who they are.
What were you like growing up?
I’ve always been an ambitious, adventurous, organized and creative person. I was also very disciplined. I remember I used to iron my clothes and lay them out on my bed the night before school at a very young age. I’d have my mom set my alarm clock and as soon as it went off, I’d be up getting myself ready for school without needing to be told to get up. I’ve also always had a way with words. I love to write and express myself. I won the D.A.R.E. essay competition in fifth grade as well as the school spelling bee. I’m type A plus a Virgo so that pretty much sums it up!
- Single yoga classes are $16
- Class packs of 5 are $70
- Class packs of 10 are $120
- Website: https://www.jaimeeratliff.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaimeeratliff/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaimeeRatliff/
Loyall Hart Photography, Simone Renee Photography, Lize-Anne Bonhomme, Jazzmin Jeter, Ross Oscar Knight