For this week’s Woman Wednesday, AY About You sits down with Sarah Thomas, yoga teacher at Arkansas Yoga Collective and Zen Studios Little Rock.
From Maumelle, Thomas is incredibly active in the community around her. She is on the board of directors for Ballet Arkansas and Timmons Arts Foundation, and works in Community Health Centers of Arkansas Community Outreach as an emergency preparedness coordinator. She is also a CDC DTTAC Lifestyle Coach through Emory University, in addition to being a Lululemon Ambassador and Little Rock Downtown Neighborhood Association President. In her spare time, Thomas is active on social media, gardens and plays tennis.
Thomas has been very involved in public health, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’m working with our health centers, especially our rural areas, to address health disparities that they face,” Thomas shares. “Currently, we are working on COVID-19 vaccination roll-outs and the HIV/AIDs epidemic is facing our state. We can’t forget to be of service to our rural areas and underserved populations with health care services they need.”
We asked Thomas what it means to her to be a woman.
“Being a woman feels like being a tree among many trees in a forest. We all have different shapes, colors, smells, and moves against the wind. We are all grounded with deep roots to weather any storms that come our way,” she says. “Finding strength and support against the weeds that pop up in our lives. We all look to light to find energy and purpose in our lives. Being a woman means I’m forever growing with the strength of my ancestors and grace of their knowledge.”
Thomas outlines the challenges that she has faced as a woman in her field.
“I live a dual career/life. One side is yoga and the other side is being a health professional. Equally, I face the same challenges with both careers with racism, ableism, and microaggressions. It always perplexes me how people judge another human being’s worthiness before hearing, speaking, or even knowing the person’s name,” Thomas says. “It is not enough for business to just focus on the vague goal ‘diversity’ without making the effort to understand the unique challenges women of color and people with disabilities face daily in their workplace. True diversity and inclusion can be celebrated when all women experience equal access to opportunities, pay, and recognition for their work. Despite all these obstacles self-imposed or societal, we all should strive to build bridges of inclusivity.”
Thomas offers a word of advice to the young women and girls who might read this article.
“‘Be the key to unlock the doors for others.’” Don’t allow anyone to put you in a box,” she says. “You are more than the labels and stereotypes the world tries to use to explain who, or what you are supposed to be. Don’t let the world define what doors are open for you or any other women.”