Happy Wednesday everyone!
Today I want to highlight a special girl, Lauren Ash who is changing the way women of color tackle health and wellness. One day Lauren looked around her yoga class and realized she was usually the only black woman there. “Even though I enjoyed my practice,” she says, “I always thought, how much more amazing would this be if I had other women of color here with me?” This prompted Lauren to launch Black Girl In Om (BGIO) in 2015, which is a wellness initiative that caters to women of color.
The empowerment of black women is my #1 priority with Fit 29, so it is quite impressive to see another girl striving to implode the practices of health and wellness for women of color.
this gorgeous photograph shows what i care about the most: women of color coming together to breathe easy. if that's all i did with no recognition i'd be fine. so, @shape referring to me as one of the most important voices in the wellness industry is so, SO affirming + extra appreciated love. as i shared with ashley mateo (link in bio), seeing more woc in wellness + creating more spaces us to prioritize our wellness has been everything to me for the past three years (omg @blackgirlinom turns three next month)! as a yoga student, prior to yoga teacher training 4+ plus years ago, i looked around + saw that there were very little woc in the yoga spaces that i occupied. and i rarely, if ever, within my first two years of practicing, had a black woman guiding a session. when i started BGIO and the instagram account shortly after, i didn't see enough representations of black women practicing yoga, or black women in general just loving on each other + being positive with one another. i created it because i wanted to see more of it, and I thought it would be such a beneficial + beautiful thing for my community. there's a lot more diversity in the wellness industry than ever before, and certainly more than when i started three years ago, but we still need more of that. there's still work to be done, y'all. i've heard stories from people in my community where they get mistaken for the cleaning lady at their yoga studio or people ask questions about why they're wearing their headscarf in class; just a lot of stories about culturally insensitive interactions or questions. that breaks my heart because yoga is a space that's supposed to be for wellness and for love; instead, we're being triggered. so for me to create a space with my incredible team—one that's culturally specific so that women can enter and feel an immediate sense of belonging, family, and kinship rather than wondering if they're going to have something happen that's going to make them feel worse about themselves—that's really important to me. shout out to the most incredible team that pushes this collective vision forward + to everyone who supports ❤️
Often, women of color are not highlighted in the Fitness World. The perception is that women of color do not want to work out and have poor eating habits, etc. While statistics show that women of color are at a higher risk to develop major diseases compared to other races some of us are doing are best to lead healthy lifestyles. We strive to encourage other women of color to do so, too through our practices.
Yoga is a great way to get in tune with your body and relax. There are both physical and mental benefits to practicing yoga like increased muscle strength and coping skills. Natalie Nevins, DO, a board-certified osteopathic family physician and certified Kundalini Yoga instructor in Hollywood, California, says yoga can be very effective in reaching a more positive outlook on life.” There are all kinds of practices for yoga and often your local area hosts free classes for you to attend. Now, if you’re in the Chicago area you should definitely check out BGIO.
Ultimately, being healthy and fit is a lifestyle. It takes more than posting a post-workout selfie to really take charge of your fitness lifestyle. All things good take time, so you have to be patient with yourself when starting something new. Love your body, treat it with care and it will reward you long-term.