What Self-Care Looks Like To Yogi Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts

"Drink as you pour."

Finding Balance

In xoNecole's Finding Balance, we profile boss women making boss moves in the world and in their respective industries. We talk to them about their business, their life, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.

"Drink as you pour" is Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts' favorite yoga mantra. Yoga is her drink of peace. After quenching her thirst, she pours the practice into others, hoping they find the same solace.

Chelsea's a certified yoga instructor. Her Yoga, Literature, and Art Camp for Teen Girls at Spelman College Museum of Fine Art just completed its 5th summer program where she taught a small group Atlanta's teenage girls positive self-care through yoga and creative arts. Chelsea is a BOSS. She has a doctorate degree focused on the impact of yoga with Brown and Black young women. "Yoga as it is practiced today, places a lot of emphasis on the body and it is important to expand the definition for what yoga is today," she explained.

Chelsea uses her Ph. D to lead and serve a community where Black owned yoga studios and practitioners are scarce. As founder of Red Clay Yoga, her faculty and staff offer trainings on yoga, community, and engagement within marginalized neighborhoods.

"My favorite response from students has to be, 'I feel at peace.' This reaction keeps me encouraged that the yoga is working."

Chelsea is currently taking her passion for guiding others through a flow of body movements, breath, and meditation across the pond as a Global Yoga Ambassador for Lululemon. We recently had a chat with Chelsea on how she finds balance while teaching others how use their body and breath to relax, relate, and release.

You're a former third grade teacher. Why did you combine education with yoga in your doctorate studies?

Anyone who knows a public school teacher knows that the profession is rewarding and extremely demanding. As a result, I knew I needed to adopt a routine that would support my wellness, so I started practicing yoga and eventually became certified while teaching school. I started to notice how the breathing exercises and moving my body supported me when I would leave school.

As a result, I wondered what would happen if I introduced the breathing exercises to my students. I taught elementary school for 8 years and decided to apply to Emory University where I earned my PhD in Educational Studies.

Is access to yoga growing in marginalized communities?

I do find that social media platforms are changing the ways in which we see who practices yoga, understand who yoga is for, and pushes back on the limited beliefs of what an ideal yoga body should be.

With this, online platforms have also offered access to practicing yoga if you don't have a yoga studio in your neighborhood, or the money to purchase monthly class cards.

How does a peaceful day for you begin?

A peaceful day looks like waking up with the sun and finding at least 5-10 minutes of deliberate conscious breathing. I don't always have time to get up and go to a studio. When I do make it to a class, I treat myself to Sacred Chill West in Atlanta. When I don't, my daily ritual looks like waking up, treating myself to a juice or smoothie, and maybe taking a walk.

How do you find balance with:


I find balance by taking time to do the things that bring me joy. My balance comes from sitting on my Granny's porch in Dayton, Ohio with my phone on silent. Being present for my partner to watch a movie without thinking about my to-do list.


Eating good (vegan) food and treating myself to a massage helps me maintain balance. My food absolutely impacts the ways in which I show up in the world for myself, my partner, family and my community. I love the practice of yoga because usually, when I am practicing yoga consistently, I am more mindful about all that I am putting into my body. As a result, I have more energy and more space to do my work in the world.

When you are going through a bout of uncertainty, or feeling stuck, how do you handle it?

I stay on course each time I look at the words the girls of YLA Camp produce each summer. I stay on course when I think about all that my ancestors had to endure in order for me to be here today. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, distractions always come up for me and in the moment I use [my] breath and sometimes meditation to refocus and recenter my vision and my goals.

Do you detox?

Yes! I practice a 10-day Ayurvedic detox seasonally. I still train with my teacher Jaya Devi in Atlanta, GA and she leads our home yoga community in 10 days of yoga in addition to a kidney, liver, and colon cleanse at the change of each season. It is amazing! Ayurveda is the ancient Indian practice that is the sister science to yoga that places emphasis on our organs, the systems of the body, and more specifically what foods are in alignment with our unique bodies.

What does a peaceful end of the day look like for you?

Depending on the time zone I am in, my bedtime can vary. I usually try and turn off technology at least an hour before I go to sleep to unwind. I also love a cup of chamomile tea and a shower or bath. I was just on the road this last week and I make it a habit to practice abhyanga, which is a self-massage, before a warm Epsom salt and lavender bath the night I return from a trip.

And honestly, what does success mean to you?

Success looks like accomplishing something I have been honest with myself I want. It is the experience of clearly stating to myself through written form, or I may speak the goal, and it can even been stated with silent intention. For me, success is a continuous process that may shift and evolve as I grow.

"I am constantly checking in and making sure that the thing I've accomplished and experienced is in alignment with my values, actions, and it brings me joy."

Be sure to follow @chelsealovesyoga for ideas on how to find your inner yogi. Check out her inspiring community with youth at chelsealovesyoga.com. Also be sure to check out some of the other amazing ladies we've featured in our Finding Balance series by clicking here.

*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Featured image via Chelsea Loves Yoga/Instagram

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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