For Dr. Marcelle Haddix, yoga, wellness, and healthy living are deeply personal and political. Known as The ZenG, she is a 200-hour certified registered yoga instructor who specializes in yoga for underrepresented groups and for community-based organizations. She also practices veganism and healthy, soulful living. Her goal is to bring yoga to more communities of color and to challenge the misrepresentation of people of color and yoga, healthy living, and healthy eating.
Why ZenG? Her sistafriends nicknamed her ZenG because of her blissfully zen yet “I don’t take no mess” attitude. She is unapologetic about living well and creating spaces for people of color to honor and care for their bodies and each other. Her community engaged approach to yoga and wellness culminates in yoga and writing retreats for women and couples of color, yoga and mindfulness workshops in urban school contexts, and regular yoga classes and sistercircles in her community.
In addition to her work as a yoga and wellness instructor, she is a dean’s associate professor and chair of the literacy department at Syracuse University and a nationally-recognized literacy scholar committed to centering Black literacies in educational practices and spaces. She directs two literacy programs for adolescent youth: the Writing Our Lives project, a program geared toward supporting the writing practices of urban middle and high school students within and beyond school contexts, and the Dark Girls afterschool program for Black middle and high school girls aimed at celebrating Black girl literacies. For The ZenG, living well zen gangsta style is not only personal, it is deeply political. It is a revolution.