By: Lilian Ongelungel

Day Bibb’s vision has always revolved around healing. In 2018, she founded Om Thrive, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to making yoga accessible for survivors of domestic violence. A growing body of research suggests a regular yoga practice supports the process of healing for a range of traumatic experiences.

A Healing Journey

Black woman kneeling and surrounded by green plants

Bibb ensures that students signing up for Om Thrive’s offerings are aware of the benefits of a consistent yoga practice. Since launching, Om Thrive has expanded its programming to include different forms of dance. In 2020, Om Thrive received a grant from the Community Foundation to support the growth of their virtual video library and allows people to access yoga classes from their homes during the pandemic.

“We’ve been so busy and I’m so grateful for the grant,” explains Bibb. “We pivoted from being just yoga to being wellness in general.”

 

Collective Efforts

Om Thrive has quickly garnered support from both sides of the Columbia River. As an organization that supports survivors of domestic violence, they’ve bridged the gap between physical wellness and social services. Bradley Angle and Raphael House are key partners that cater to survivors of domestic abuse and collaborate with Om Thrive to make healing yoga available to service users.

Although connected to wellness practitioners and community-led organizations in Portland where there is an abundance of yoga resources, Bibb is focused on developing meaningful relationships in Clark County. With the Om Thrive headquarters transitioning to Camas, Bibb aims to establish connections with local school districts, sharing that children can also benefit greatly from mindfulness practices such as yoga.People doing yoga on a rooftop

Equity in Yoga

For Bibb, access is a priority in her work. There exist barriers to yoga that deter potential practitioners and need to be addressed in order to make classes more inclusive. Diversity and racial equity are also important.

“I don’t want to be the only Black person anywhere,” says Bibb. “The lack of representation in yoga is a barrier.”

Language is another hurdle that Bibb sees in the world of yoga. She partnered with immigrant organizations to offer yoga to refugees, as many have sought safety from domestic abuse at local shelters, but yoga instruction with minimal translation support proved difficult. Om Thrive currently offers a virtual yoga class completely led in Spanish. Bibb is very intentional about Om Thrive’s courses, making sure that the Spanish-language classes are led by a native speaker who can relate to students on a personal level, and with whom they can cultivate trust. Bibb aims to replicate this with other language offerings in the future.

A Place for Everyone

For the meantime, Bibb wants people to know Om Thrive has infinite potential to serve the community. She strongly believes that anyone can practice yoga. As an instructor, Bibb encountered people discouraged from trying yoga due to disability, body size, and other factors that aren’t widely visible in the yoga landscape. Everyone is invited to practice yoga and share space with Om Thrive, including but not limited to new students, yoga teachers, community partners, donors, sponsors, and volunteers. And in staying true to their mission, Bibb and Om Thrive are always available to anyone fleeing from domestic violence and who needs access to services and safety.

A person wearing a face mask with their head supported by a pillowBibb keeps healing centered in her heart space. “I will personally call and help someone if they need it,” she declares. “I’m just trying to be there for the community as much as possible.”

You can connect with Day Bibb and learn more about Om Thrive on their website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts.

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About The Author

Lilian Ongelungel

Lilian is a nonprofit communication professional born and raised in Portland, Oregon. In addition uplifting voices from our communities, they also enjoy exploring the arts, indulging in the local food scene, and cheering for the Portland Trail Blazers.

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