901 Now: Yoga instructor promotes unity during ‘Yoga on the River’

Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 5:40 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In this edition of 901 Now, we travel to Downtown Memphis for “Yoga on the River,” where one yoga instructor says the free seasonal yoga session on the river brings Memphians from all across the 901, together in one mind and one body.

“When we come into this space, energy shifts,” Yoga on the River instructor Candance Saulsberry said. “When we move our bodies together, energy shifts.”

Yoga in the heart of Memphis has always been about more than yoga.

“Here we are creating this big community, of people who come together to breathe and be and sit together,” Saulsberry said.

Every Tuesday evening, hundreds from around the city join instructor Candance Saulsberry to engage their mind, body and soul.

“I knew that if it saved my life, it was going to save somebody else’s life,” she said. “Six weeks after I had my son, I was in yoga teacher training.”

Saulsbery started practicing yoga in 2012. Practicing in many alternative spaces over the years, she says being on the river makes yoga accessible for everyone.

“You come into this space you have all nationalities, you have all ages, you have all races, all social economic classes, and there’s one goal,” Saulsberry said. “It removes all stigma of what you need to look like in a yoga studio, what you need to wear, if you even know anything about it. When people come together, and they are in this space, all guards are down.”

In 2017, Downtown Memphis Commission and Memphis River Parks Partnership launched yoga on the river.

In Saulsberry’s second year leading the session, she says she’s seen more and more participation. And in a time where crime is prevalent in the surrounding areas, being able to withdraw from chaos and come into a space of unity builds closer connections.

“We see and hear so much about what’s going on in Memphis, but when you come to this yoga class, you begin to see the real beauty of the city,” she said.

Yoga on the river is free every Tuesday during the months of May through October. Saulsberry says those interested in yoga sessions year-round can join her yoga sessions with the yoga kickback. To learn how to join, click here.

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