Black Yoga: Bringing Inner Peace To The Black Community [VIDEO]

This post is a submission via our member. For more information on this article or for any questions, please feel free to contact her directly or visit the original article │ Picture via Shutterstock.

This post is a submission via our member. For more information on this article or for any questions, please feel free to contact her directly or visit the original article │ Picture via Shutterstock.

Yoga, yoga, yoga. We all know that dreaded four-letter word right? Whenever I see or hear the word YOGA, my honest first thought is tall slim white women with cleavage coming from their fitness bras, pelvic bones protruding from their Lululemon pants, and long blonde hair in a messy bun.

I know, I know....that was a very stereotypical comment to make, but let's be honest, that's the westernized trend in yoga. Grab a couple of shirts with phrases like "Stay Calm and Yoga" and you're ready for class. Don't believe me, just Google "yoga" and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Yoga began in India thousands of years ago; it is related to Hinduism and has been a common practice of meditation in eastern civilization. But like all things that make it's way to western civilization, it loses it's purpose, becoming less of a lifestyle and more of a trend. The westernized practice of yoga has somewhat deterred me from joining any yoga classes because it just didn't appeal to the black community.

Mainstream yoga practice simply doesn't focus on individuals in black neighborhoods. Most yoga classes are held in trendy upscale areas where black girls from the hood, like myself, just don't fit in. Let alone the fact that we don't even understand half of it. But like most things in America, it is up to the black community to raise awareness on things that are beneficial to us, despite how little it is talked about. 

After my divorce earlier this year, I suffered a complete mental breakdown. I turned off any and everything society had to offer. I stopped watching the news, I deleted all of my social media accounts, I got rid of anything and anyone that brought negativity into my life.

Eventually, I received the help of a therapists, got rid of my anxiety, started reading motivational books to help with my low self-esteem, and I even tied in the practice of aromatherapy to help uplift my mind. But I still felt as though something was missing in my life. My mind felt calm, but I could still feel tension in my body so I knew that I had more work to do. I began researching ways to relax both my mind and body, and honestly yoga still hadn't crossed my mind.

At least until I came across the word "holistic." I've heard of the word before, but where I'm from, this word was often tied to people that didn't believe in God and the power of prayer. This is another stigma that is spread throughout the black community which hinders us from reaching mental and spiritual growth.

While I do believe in God and the power of prayer, I have learned throughout my spiritual journey that inner peace comes in multiple forms, and exercising the mind and body together is the only way to be at full peace within yourself.

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Women like Jessamyn Stanley (pictured above), have created paths for  not only black women, but also curvy women to find their inner yogi. This is extremely beneficial to the black community because it knocks down the typical barriers of yoga. Let's be honest here, not too many black people in general practice yoga because we don't fully understand the benefits of it.

Most black people think of yoga as a group of people getting together, sitting with their legs crossed on a floor mat with their middle fingers touching their thumbs while humming. Well this is only the physical aspect of practice and it does have meaning. Yoga is a time for you to connect your mind and body by being at peace and letting go. The feeling of lying down or sitting upright and releasing negativity from your mind and body is a life changing experience. You are encouraged to stretch your tensions out and clear your mind. There is no pressure of an instructor yelling at you to pick up your feet or physically release your tensions in some form of aggression or another; you just calmly sit, lay, and stretch with no pressure or military-style shaming.

With the stress that the black community is constantly faced with, yoga is a beneficial cure to sustaining inner peace and creating a sense of harmony within our families and households. As black people, we have become accustomed to aggression and anger. We often take out our frustrations on one another without actually addressing our issues and working out the kinks individually, let alone as a community.

Let's face it, there are not a lot of yoga classes being offered in the black community, if any at all. And to be brutally honest, most black people like myself have not yet elevated to a new level of thinking. I am now learning how to flush out negativity and channel in positive energy and peace. If only more of us would find harmonious peace within ourselves and void the stigma placed on the black community, we would discover the ability to change the dynamic of the black family. 

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Yoga instructors like Brandon Copeland, have introduced this practice to the black community in a more familiar way; combining trap music and yoga together. I have watched his videos on YouTube and it is a unique way to introduce both male and females to yoga, erasing the common misconception of awkward silence or nature sounds in yoga that can sometimes be a distraction if you are not used to calm. However, the music is played low enough that it is barely heard which still allows you time to focus and process positive mental energy. 

It is refreshing to see black men take part in something that renews or restores positive energy to the mind. The black male is the product of many stress factors in white America, therefore, I encourage black men to seek out this practice with other males or even a female companion in addition to any physical fitness that you may be active in. The black community looks to the black male for guidance in our homes and families and the mental stability of the black male is extremely important in our households. And like any king and queen, the mental strength of the head of the family is the key to it's families success. 


The black community is suffering from a lack of knowledge on the various health benefits society has to offer. We have been programmed to attend a church service to pray about things, without getting to the root of our problems. The mind and body works together; therefore in order to seek change, we must create change in more ways than one. This change starts within ourselves and it is difficult to accomplish with a set state of mind.

But just as we promote music and fashion trends in our community, we can promote the need for peace and tranquility. We need more people to step up and offer beneficial programs that are centered around the mental wellness of the black community. Time has to be dedicated to the inner strength and peace of our own families in order to break the cycle of poor mental health and low self-esteem. 

I am new to this journey myself, but I felt compelled to share with you how therapeutic studies have raised my mental and physical awareness. I feel positive, anxiety-free, and most importantly, in control of my emotions. My five senses have come alive and I am able to tap into all of them at once through the practice of yoga. I encourage all of you to tap into the various forms of therapy and examine how this can change your life.

You can subscribe to a yoga channel such as The Mat Project on YouTube for no cost, pick up self-help books from your local library, and invest just a small amount of money into some form of aromatherapy, whether it is incense, candles, or essential oils. Take small steps into inner peace and tranquility and watch your life transform into something greater than just coexistence. I promise you will find yourself at peace with yourself sooner than you think. It is a lifestyle change nevertheless, but a change long overdue in the black community.

Please enjoy this video by The Mat Project. Subscribe to her on YouTube and make it a habit to practice this at least once a day for about 20 to 30 minutes and embrace the calmness you will feel. Click on the links provided to get more information on the benefits of yoga. Peace and blessings!

Moving To A New City In Your 20's

This post is a submission via our member Teeara. For more information on this article or for any questions, please feel free to contact her directly or visit the original article │ Picture via Shutterstock.

This post is a submission via our member Teeara. For more information on this article or for any questions, please feel free to contact her directly or visit the original article │ Picture via Shutterstock.

"Stop letting fear paralyze you." I remember sitting in my cubical, surfing the web and reading blogs when I came across this quote. This quote really uplifted my spirit. First off, I wasn't suppose to be surfing the web reading blogs, but I hated my job so much that I couldn't focus on what was in front of me.

Every second of the day I was on my iPhone researching and reading about young influential girl bosses and how they took a leap of faith and made it happen. I knew this current job (Corporate IT) wasn't my passion, but hey it paid the bills and rent for my studio apartment. I was blessed to be able to do all of this at age 22 but something was still missing. I've always wanted to move to Atlanta, GA. I was inspired by so many young black girl bosses flourishing in their 20's and even 30's who live in Atlanta. There was something about this city that has never left my heart.

Growing up in Newark and Jersey City was my comfort zone. I tested the waters senior year of high school by applying to almost every college out of state. I've always wanted to explore states outside of Jersey and college was my chance. Although my loving grandmother was always so afraid for me to leave the nest, mommy and daddy encouraged me to go out and do what they never got to experience. I took that risk and had some of the best experiences at my HBCU Virginia State University.

Moving back to Jersey after college was the biggest mistake! I never really wanted to return home, but I had no job and retreated into my comfort zone. After being home for a year realizing this is not the life I planned after college and going through severe depression, I decided to focus on me and to figure out my path.

I forgot to mention I was in a 3 year relationship and that was one of the main reasons I returned home, as well. Sis, never base your goals off of a relationship. You don't want to stop working on your goals and 6 years later wishing you did what you always wanted to do. Your goals are more important!

Jersey was no longer home for me. The same people I left 4 years ago when I went off to college were doing the same exact thing. My close friends started leaving Jersey for grad school and career opportunities; things just weren't the same. Staying in Jersey for one year after graduation showed me a lot about myself and I wanted so much more! 

If your dreams don't scare you they aren't big enough... 

Y'all remember that saying, right? Well, that was my life. I had many naysayers who gave me every excuse in the book to why I shouldn't move to Atlanta, such as the high percentage of gay men and the ridiculous traffic and many times it had me second guessing myself. After a Memorial Day weekend vacation in Atlanta with my line sister, things changed immediately. My sister knows me more than anyone and she said to me "THIS IS WHERE YOU NEED TO BE! Your slowly breaking down because you're letting any and everything stop you from chasing your dreams!"

Set a plan and a date and leave anything that's toxic in your life behind. I took a risk told my leasing office I wasn't renewing, took a flight to Atlanta to apartment hunt and saved up 3 months of rent, (I would definitely recommend saving more). I left my job and coincidentally the company lost a huge client that same month. That moment made me realize that we can't rely on Corporate America for financial stability or growth. We, as millennials, are out here creating and hustling because we know this.  

After that, I packed up my car and drove 14 hours alone to Atlanta. Let me add I told most of my family 2 weeks prior to the move to avoid anyone from trying to hold me back. I know, I know, I was wrong for that. 

But here are some of the things I learned while moving to Atlanta:

  1. Allowed me to become more independent
  2. Adaptable to new surroundings
  3. Learn who you are as a person and building up your confidence - when moving to a city alone, you don’t know many people so lots of things you explore will be alone.
  4. Be bold and fearless - allow yourself to accomplish anything after achieving one of your biggest fears. You build that courage to make things happen 
  5. Focus on your goals 10 times harder

This journey has not been easy, but yet worth it! If you're looking to move to a new city, I would love to hear your story! Are you nervous? Are you excited? What's holding you back? Please feel free to comment below!

Girl Stuff: Femly Box

This post is a submission via our member Ashleigh. For more information on this article or for any questions, please feel free to contact her directly or visit the original article │ Picture via Shutterstock.

This post is a submission via our member Ashleigh. For more information on this article or for any questions, please feel free to contact her directly or visit the original article │ Picture via Shutterstock.

I had the pleasure of connecting with this beautiful spirit Mrs. Arion Long! While networking, we connected and she has this AMAZING product that I am just TOO excited about! Arion is the founder of #FemlyBox!

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If you’ve followed us on twitter, you’ll know that I’ve already begun raving about this subscription box. Femly, is a monthly subscription that *drum rolls* IS FOR AUNTIE FLOW!

Femly is an organically made sanitary product for us. Arion, had been diagnosed with a cervical tumor, which prompted her research and studying when she found that her symptoms were reactions from sanitary products that we buy in the store.

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Now this, is big for me because I suffer from benign ovarian cysts/tumors and am often told “we won’t bother it unless it bothers you”. Her story alone, makes me wonder if this is why I have the issues I have.

Upon looking at Femly’s site, I figure this would also be a great thing for my daughter who’s going through puberty. Where I wanted to go and buy her a nice little “it’s my time of the month” kit, I saw that Femly had everything she would need.

Why? Because it gives her body an opportunity to go through the process without the toxins being sent into her young body, it’s discreet; the upgraded subscription comes with body care goodies and SNACKS (LOL) and it’s got cute packaging. Seriously, I don’t know about y’all, but cute sanitary packaging kind of helps to ease the pain and the agony. (Seriously, I buy Kotex in the box because the wrapping is pretty).

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Femly uses anion technology which is a strip in the pad that helps alleviate cramps, odors, itchiness, discomfort and fights off bacteria. So yeah that smell and that wet feeling, boop, gone.

I’ve stated before I want to provide a network of resources that aids buying black power in the black community, but to also look out for us women as a whole!

Currently, Femly is going through the manufacturing stage and is raising money to keep the subscription boxes low, and affordable. You can pre-order your box catered to your flow for as low as $8, with free shipping! Bundle packages are available as well and again, if you upgrade, THERE’S SNACKS! (I’m really excited about that part, lol).

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The other big deal to this is, Femly will be housed in Baltimore which means, MORE JOBS!!

Please check out her site, support her movement and spread the word! It can save a life, seriously! #SupportFemly

Black Girls Have Anxiety Too

This post is a submission via our member Chantal. For more information on this article or for any questions, please feel free to contact her directly or visit the original article. 

This post is a submission via our member Chantal. For more information on this article or for any questions, please feel free to contact her directly or visit the original article

February 1, 2017, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Before that, I struggled with anxiety and depression for YEARS without getting the help that I needed. Extreme worry, restlessness, and irritability became the new normal for me.

I thought it was something I could handle on my own, not realizing that trying to handle everything on my own is how I got here in the first place.

Growing up in a black home with a Christian mother, I was always told that there was nothing that prayer and going to church couldn’t fix. Imagine my frustration with my mom and God when neither of those worked for me. I was going through something that I didn’t understand and no one around me took it seriously.

Throughout the years, there were plenty of times when I tried to tell my mom and a few friends about what I was feeling. I was called dramatic, told that I was worrying about things that all adults worry about, and offered marijuana to help me calm down on more than one occasion (insert eye roll).

It wasn’t long before I gave up confiding in others all together. After all, it’s hard to understand something you’ve never experienced and it’s even harder being the one misunderstood. It took two trips to the emergency room, two prescriptions for Hydroxyzine, and a referral to a therapist before anyone took me seriously.

I said all of that to say, when someone is crying out for help, be there for them. I believe wholeheartedly that if someone would’ve taken me seriously and been there for me in the beginning, I wouldn’t need a prescription to help me calm down today.

Anxiety and depression is real and it’s something that no one should have to go through alone.

Just listening to someone vent for a few minutes can make a difference. Lucky for me, I do have a friend now that I can call when I’m having a “moment.” I’m not comfortable talking to a therapist yet, so he’s the next best thing. He doesn’t know this, but his superhero complex is what saved me. I’ve never been suicidal, but I was definitely in a dark place when he came into my life.

To anyone currently struggling with anxiety, you are not alone. I know how frustrating not being able to control your thoughts and emotions can be and a pill can only do so much. Don’t try to handle it on your own.

If you’re feeling depressed and nervous, talk to someone. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, my contact information is all over my blog. I don’t want anyone to feel the way I’ve felt for years, so I’m more than willing to lend an ear.

It’s still a struggle for me. Some days are definitely better than others. I’m still coming to terms with everything and hopefully one day I can say I’ve conquered this. I hope that by telling a smart part of my story, people realize that even the strongest person needs a shoulder to cry on and it is okay to not always be okay.

Sisters are Essential – Check Your Tribe

This post is a submission via our member Naa-Shorme Aidoo For more information on this article or for any questions, please feel free to contact her directly or visit the original article. 

This post is a submission via our member Naa-Shorme Aidoo For more information on this article or for any questions, please feel free to contact her directly or visit the original article

Ask Nayirah Waheed and she’ll tell you, “A friend is someone who supports your breathe.”

Ask Ryan from Girls Trip and she’ll tell you that there are some people who you cannot hide the truth from because they see it anyway; the people who remind you of your worth when you forget it and allow you to be your best self through the laughs, challenges and tears. These are the people we call our tribe, our sisters, whether it’s biological, social or spiritual.

Do you have folks who check you when you’re selling yourself short, celebrate you when you reach your goals and support you when you don’t see any reason to continue pursuing your dreams? Those are the basics of your tribe checklist right there.

If you have a sister, you have lessons from day 1 on how this tribe thing works. My sister is the one who will forever remind me how I slapped her earrings out of her ear when I was two, but never hesitates to let me borrow the earrings out of her ear or the shirt off of her back. She’s the one who’ll advise you on grapefruits and “protecting your peace” all in one sitting. She not only supports my breathe, she is the prelude to my breathe and understanding of true sisterhood.

The true test of time is the connection that we keep with the friends that we made before college. That best friend from the first day of 3rd grade (Hey Tiff!) or your little sis from high school, Nana.

Your Nana is the one you ran track with, ran the school newspaper with, went to the youth church services with and got your first job with. She was the cause of belly-aching laughs, real talk, prayers, advice, tea, all that. Souls as pure and wise as hers are rare these days and are sometimes called back to paradise way too soon. Cherish your Nanas.

If you don’t walk away from college with anything else, you leave with your tribe (and hope fully a degree): The girls who you made your best and worst decisions with, who you pulled your all-nighters with plotting get-rich-quick schemes instead of studying, the ones who prepped you for your interviews and edited your papers.

To this day y’all know which one you can’t trust to make your drink if you’ve got work in the morning, or the one who reminds everyone to stay hydrated and says a prayer for the madness that’s about to ensue, and the one who can’t stay away from those $2 shots in that alley off of Bourbon Street. Yet still for some reason they are the future aunties of your babies, your spiritual solace and the earliest supporters of your wildest dreams. (Y’all know who y’all are)  

The truth is everybody is a good time after a couple of drinks, but the real ones are there after a couple of failures, heartbreaks, mistakes and tough decisions, to support your breathe – your getting up again that 8th time to show folks the greatness that your sisters saw in you all along.

Make sure your tribe supports your breathing, your living, your thriving, your magic. The way this life is set up, you’ve got to keep the real ones by your side and check yourself to make sure you’re reciprocating the realness.

Being at the start of our adult lives, sometimes we forget that tomorrow isn’t promised and you don’t always get a heads up before a sister becomes an angel. Call up your God-given sisters, and the ones He’s sent your way on the journey; check in on them, do brunch, support their endeavors and pray for them. While everyone is going through something behind the scenes, you never know when the physical, emotional or mental burden may just be a bit too much for them to carry alone. That’s where we come in.

Sisterhood is not only good for the soul, it’s a rejuvenating necessity. No one is limited to one tribe, you might belong to a few. Regardless, everyone needs their own Nana in their corner: that person that sees where you are struggling and is not afraid to check you, send you encouragement, laugh at you and with you, and continues to pray for you whether you’re asking for it or not.

Shout out to all of our tribes, all of our Nanas, the real ones who see the real us regardless of the situation and never stop supporting our breathe, our goals and our magic. 

Dedicated to: My Big Sis, My Tribe & My Little Sis, Nana, RIP.

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