“Together let’s make this not rare…”  

This is Afeni. She is on the front lines in D.C. as a human rights activist and puts her life on the line daily to dismantle white supremacy culture and its devastating effects on African American communities like the ones living in ward 7 and 8 in the District of Colombia, right across the river from us.





Afeni is incredibly courageous and fierce but so kind and easy to relate to all at once. When we spoke last week, she said to me it gives her hope that someone like me – a privileged, white, middle-aged woman (am I that already?) – would spend time talking to her about what’s going on in our neighboring African American communities. She said it’s rare.





Together let’s make this “not rare.” Let’s make this a common, normal part of our everyday existence to talk with people whose worlds are very different than ours, but who live right down the street, who are our neighbors.

Please join Mind the Mat this Friday, December 18th at 12pm @mindthemat IG for a LIVE interview with Afeni. We are incredibly blessed that she is going to take the time to talk with our community. Stylebook readers, please tune in.

  • • She is going to speak about the reality in D.C. public schools, before COVID and now, including police presence in schools, reduced funding in D.C. for education and health care during COVID, and the vicious cycle these policies and decisions perpetuate.
  • • She is going to talk about her experience as a protestor and the police brutality she has witnessed and experienced personally. To give you an idea, she was arrested this past weekend for peacefully protesting.
  • • She is going to tell us about “mutual aid” and what it is. It’s very different than philanthropy!
  • • She is going to let us know what we can do in our community and for the African American communities near us to help dismantle the white supremacy culture we all suffer under, especially African Americans. They bear the ultimate burden of institutionalized racism and it’s our responsibility to listen and do something about it if we care.

If you want to become more informed about the culture we live in, gain a deeper understanding of white supremacy culture and institutionalized racism, and learn what’s yours to change, consider taking this 7-Week Series on ZOOM: Unpacking Cultural & Race, with Mind the Mat’s favorite coach, Iyabo, an expert on race and culture. This starts early in 2021!




In Fall 2020, Mind the Mat owners Sara and Megan, along with other leaders in the community, including small business owners, non-profit founders, and leaders in government, took this series together and it changed our lives! We highly recommend it. Here is what some participants had to say:

I am extremely grateful for having taken part in the culture and race series with Mind the Mat taught by Iyabo. The course provided me with an expanded perspective and understanding of my own cultural identity and how that impacts the way I, and others, view and act in the world. Iyabo and my fellow participants cultivated a safe and supportive environment that allowed for real and honest discussion of challenging topics. The work helped me understand where I am, and I gained insights and tangible tools to support my ongoing self-reflection and development.
-Suzanne K.


Ubuntu : I am because you are. That was the essence of this course. Take this course to learn a true community oriented mindset. I learned that leadership matters so incredibly much. It’s about building trust and relationships, understanding power and white supremacy power culture, in particular. Once we get that, we can transition from Power Over to Power With, and finally Power to Empower. Personal and organizational transformation will happen without a doubt with Iyabo. All of us at RunningBrooke highly recommend this sea-changing course!”
-Brooke Sydnor Curran, President and CEO of RunningBrooke


  • The latest from Sara
co-owner, CMT, e-RYT 200, RYT 500 | Mind the Mat
Sara VanderGoot, CMT, e-RYT 200, RYT 500, is Co-founder of Mind the Mat Pilates and Yoga and Director of Mind the Mat Yoga Alliance certified teacher training program. Sara is an experienced Registered Yoga instructor with Yoga Alliance. She studied Interdisciplinary Yoga with Don and Amba Stapleton in Nosara, Costa Rica and at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Sara is Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, licensed by the Virginia Board of Nursing. Sara has been practicing massage therapy, including specialties Prenatal Massage, Postpartum Massage, Deep Tissue Massage and Thai Yoga Massage, in Del Ray, Alexandria for over 15 years and a yoga instructor for 7 years. At Mind the Mat she specializes in Prenatal Yoga, Postpartum Core Yoga, Mommy and Me Core Yoga, Partners Yoga, and Hot Flow Yoga. Sara frequently acts as a birth companion for many of her clients, doing massage and yoga during labor and delivery to facilitate comfort during both medicated and unmedicated births. Before becoming a massage therapist and yoga instructor, she was a lawyer in the Washington D.C. area and found that the healing practices of massage and yoga brought a balance to her life that she had been searching for.

Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga was founded in 2008 by Megan Brown, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Polestar Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Sara VanderGoot, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 200, RYT 500). In their private practices as physical therapist and massage therapist respectively Megan and Sara observed that many of their clients were coming in with similar needs: relief for neck and shoulder tension and low back pain as well as a desire for more flexibility in hips and legs, stability in joints, and core strength.

Together Megan and Sara carefully crafted a curriculum of Pilates and yoga classes to address needs for clients who are pregnant, postpartum, have injuries or limitations, who are new to Pilates and yoga, and for those who are advanced students and are looking for an extra challenge.


2214 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301


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