MUSE: Monika McKenzie

Images from left to right, @chelseastratso, @kali_phillips

One of my dear friends (and mother-to-be!), Monika McKenzie, is the owner of The Yoga Nest, the only black-owned yoga studio in the state of Hawaii. The boutique studio provides an inclusive, peaceful, and serene environment, welcoming yogis of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, and body types. She is a lover of the earth, the sea, playtime, and all things healing.

How did you start your yoga journey and why open a studio in Kona?
I was living in Los Angeles and had extreme anxiety so I decided to give yoga a try. I haven’t looked back since! It was also there that I noticed how many studios lacked diversity, not just with the instructors but among the students as well. When I moved to Kona on the Island of Hawaii, I wanted to create a safe space that would be welcoming to everyone. When I look around the room during each of our classes, it makes me so happy to see this vision come to life.

Any last words?
Every day we need to ask ourselves how we can apply the same principles of inclusion into our lives, beyond our yoga mats. All spaces, especially businesses need to re-evaluate how they can create a culture that is inclusive, rather than exclusive.