Leslie Salmon Jones and Jeff W Jones are healing through culture
Running a business

Leslie Salmon Jones and Jeff W Jones are healing through culture

Name: Leslie Salmon Jones and Jeff W Jones

Location: Boston, MA

Pronouns: She/hers and He/his

Business: Afro Flow Yoga—an embodied practice that infuses dance movements of the African Diaspora with a meditative yoga sequence and live healing music. While we work with all people, we have a deep commitment to the heritage, empowerment, education, healing, spirituality, and wellness of BIPOC communities.

Why did you decide to start your own business? How did you get started? 

Afro Flow Yoga grew out of our explorations of healing and our African American and Caribbean heritage in West Africa, Haiti, and Jamaica. We discovered that many dances and rhythms survived slavery and colonization and could be found throughout the African diaspora, and that yoga had a long, if little-known, history on the continent. We developed a new integrated practice, Afro Flow Yoga, that integrates our deep knowledge of yoga and African and Afro-Caribbean dance, and fluency in drums, melodic, and other traditional African instruments.

What is the biggest lesson you learned in the first year? 

To be flexible and listen to the community's needs. And to be able to pivot quickly like we did when the pandemic started. We started live-streaming virtual classes right away and supporting organizations through weekly community donations. We turned our living room into a home studio. 

What was the most surprising thing about becoming a business owner? 

It’s always more work than you anticipate. 

How does running your own business make you feel? 

Empowered and with a sense of freedom and flexibility. 

What are some of the challenges you’ve overcome or are working to overcome? 

We now have a more solid infrastructure and have the right people on our team—right skill sets, reliable, and knowledgeable about things like website maintenance and accounting.

What challenges do you feel are unique to Black small business owners? 

Getting access to funding and resources.

What are your proudest moments? 

Seeing how Afro Flow Yoga has impacted communities. Creating a teacher training program and launching teachers to share Afro Flow Yoga with their own communities. Also the way we handled the pandemic and pivoted quickly to live-stream and support many organizations at the same time, which turned into an online movement.

What are the next big plans you have for your business? 

Opportunities to expand our teacher training and to engage with the community, and expanding into social justice issues like anti-racism and climate justice.

When you’re having a tough day, who or what inspires you to keep going? 

The community—knowing that people rely on the practice. And we rely on each other as husband and wife.

How can Black business owners support each other and their community?

Putting money back into the community, shopping Black businesses, sharing resources as cross- promotion like our Anti-Racism and Healing Resources page, and communicating with each other to support one another.

What advice would you give to other Black business owners just starting out? 

Get your infrastructure together—taxes, finances, and the right team of people.

What’s your “power song” and why? 

“Golden” by Jill Scott. I like to live my life like it's golden—it's a good mantra.

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