Leslie Salmon Jones of Afro Flow Yoga on Looking to Her Roots for Inspiration and the Importance of Inclusion

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“In the mid-’90s, Jeff and I both felt a need to explore our roots. We took an extended trip to West Africa, where we studied the history of African enslavement and the connections to our music and dance. We searched for and found a bond with our ancestors and new ways of being. The trip was a prayer answered. We were answering the prayers of our ancestors to return home.”

The study of the music and dance of West Africa and the Caribbean created a palette of work that Leslie and Jeff found compelling. The cultural aspects of community, of sharing the process collectively as it happens, made sense.

Combining elements from diverse cultures added a rich tapestry to their artistic endeavors. Leslie found herself organically uniting all of the aspects of her spirit, traditions, talent, and training. Through movement and sound, she began to build the foundations of a joyful practice incorporating dance, energy, strength, flexibility, rhythms, song, reflection, and full-tilt boogie.

Leslie has always been open to inspiration. Serendipity, as in many successful creative endeavors, played a part in the invention of Afro Flow Yoga. Ten years ago, Leslie was asked to teach a yoga class at a Sedona Raw Food Retreat in Arizona.

After years of experimenting with combinations of movement practices, Leslie, at the spur of the moment, invited an ensemble of Brazilian drummers to play for the Arizona workshop. The enthusiasm of the attendees, the musicians, and the collective energy created during this class allowed her to understand that this was a magical moment. A life changer. She had found her spiritual home.

Back in Boston, Leslie explains, “What really brought it all together was Jeff, who said this new type of class needed live music.” Jeff continues, “The concept of live music gives Afro Flow Yoga a true spirit of spontaneity. We’re not locked into a programmed sequence but can respond to the collective synergy. Our classes are very dynamic in terms of the mix of yoga, dance, music, volume, and rhythms. Each class begins and ends in silence, followed by guided breath work, guided meditation, and an inward focus to connect with heart and soul.”

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