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Our Roots

Every great business has a backstory. This is ours.

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Humble Beginnings

China: Zhengzhou, Henan. 2020.

What began as an experience of a lifetime as a global educator turned on its head in the face of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Through a note taped to the outside of her dorm room door in the midst of a 14-day lockdown isolation a mere 352 miles from the virus' epicenter, our founder, Jae, requested a yoga mat and two yoga blocks. She would spend the remainder of her seclusion falling down the rabbit hole of fellow Black girl yogi Arianna Elizabeth's YouTube videos teaching herself beginner-friendly yoga poses. Jae would often journal after each experience, channeling her thoughts and emotions as well as sharing her gratitude for the newfound hobby that would become her life purpose.

Shortly after her emergency evacuation from China, S. Jae Ali found herself back in her element: in a classroom leading, teaching, and loving Black students. Though the format had changed, her core duties had not. Jae channeled her experience with yoga and brought it to life in her classroom to help her students navigate the unfamiliar world they found themselves in and the new "normal" they were forced to accept. The result of her efforts was consistent student attendance above 93%, increased enthusiasm, participation, and engagement, and a more positive sense of self. Her students also showed higher levels of self-regulation, self-soothing, and self-confidence.

Though S. Jae Ali resigned from education in the spring of 2021, she did not abandon her passion or love of education. The connectedness she was able to give both her students and herself was the catalyst behind the creation of Y.E.S. Yoga. (Y)ou're (E)xtremely (S)pecial Yoga was birthed as a way to return to the cities and communities that mirror the one Jae grew up in on the South Side of Chicago and help the Black community become more emotionally mature and autonomous. Jae's core belief is that yoga (and its benefits) are too important, too accessible, and too life-changing not to share, and representation is a necessary factor to fostering safe spaces for Black bodies.

Our Cornerstones

S. Jae Ali founded her work on eight basic and shared principles that permeate all that we do and stand for: 

Authenticity - See yourself. Love yourself. Accept yourself. Just as you are. Right where you are. 

Patience - you will get where you're destined to be when you're destined to be there. Release the "need" to rush. 

Community - Embrace your peers and be an active part of a safe, welcoming, and nurturing environment. 

Consistency - because nothing grows if you only tend to it once. 

Connection - connect with all parts of you. With God. With your breath. With your peers. And with your journey. Enjoy it all. 

Presence - Be here. In the moment. With yourself. Right now. Focus. 

Growth - Envision yourself as a seed. Watch how you blossom every time you show up for yourself.

Awareness - pay attention to your mind, breath, and body... and be open to guidance. 

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