Inclusive Wellness Studios Created with the Black Community In Mind
These Black-founded spaces are adding some much-needed inclusivity to wellness.
Search for "#wellness" on Instagram, and you'll probably find colorful acai bowls, helpful meditation tips, and various yoga poses. Unfortunately, what you may not see as much of are people of color. As with many mainstream spaces in America, the wellness industry is notorious for excluding Black and brown faces - as well as larger and differently-abled bodies, FWIW. While this fact may be more evident for some, the race gap in health and wellness is very real. And it's all the more problematic given that racism is a public health issue and that racial trauma can have a serious impact on mental and emotional health.
One thing that's become increasingly clear over the last 12 months is that representation matters. What's more, as civil injustices continue, wellness spaces for the Black community are a necessity if we want people of color to feel they have a right to safe spaces to prioritize their own health. And so people of color are creating supportive brands and businesses to help other people of color heal from systemic and structural racism and generational trauma through the lens of wellness and health. (More here: Black-Owned Wellness Brands to Support Right Now - and All the Time)
Check out six Black-founded wellness studios below to learn how they are working to address physical and mental wellness within the Black community.
The Brooklyn Yoga Club
The Brooklyn Yoga Club is a body-positive yoga studio based in Brooklyn, New York. Founded by yoga instructors Alicia Ferguson and Paris Alexandra, its mission is to "create a wellness space where people grow in community through healthy movement and creativity." This Black-owned yoga club hosts a quarterly book club and weekly virtual support sessions that are co-facilitated with a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) therapist. The Brooklyn Yoga Club offers classes such as "Flow & Chill" (designed to calm the mind) and "Soul Sunday" (the soundtrack is set to gospel music and old-school jams), so every aspiring yogi can find something that feeds their soul and body. (Related: Meet Lauren Ash, One of the Most Important Voices In the Wellness Industry)
Founded by salon owner Myka Harris and celebrity Hollywood hair colorist Kadi Lee, Highbrow Hippie is a conscious lifestyle brand that offers a holistic and sustainable approach to wellbeing and beauty. Located in Venice, California, their space serves as a lavish gathering spot where clients can indulge in high-end beauty treatments and services and restorative and energizing yoga and meditation sessions. In other words, it's a haven for all things self-care. (Looking to support Black business owners through your purchasing power? Here nineteen amazing Black-owned beauty brands.)
Spiked Spin, located in Brooklyn New York, is a premium indoor cycling studio that offers 35- and 45-minute classes set to hip-hop music. Founder Briana Owens started the studio in hopes of helping to make the wellness space more inclusive of all races, cultures, body types, and backgrounds by creating "an experience specifically with women of color in mind while still attracting a diverse crowd of women - and men." If you can't make it to the studio, this summer Spiked Spin is holding free yoga, Pilates, and stretch classes in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. (Related: Try These Stylish Black-Owned Athleisure Brands and You'll Never Buy Leggings Elsewhere Again)
Self-described as a "unique escape" located in Brooklyn, New York, Heal Haus is a joint wellness space and café. Co-founders Darian Hall and Elisa Shankle specifically designed the space to inspire the local community while providing an accessible and fresh approach to wellness. With classes such as "mindful meditation" and "restorative yoga," Heal Haus combines diverse healing modalities under one roof to provide people with an inclusive space focused on holistic health and wellness. As an added bonus, they also offer virtual workshops! (Related: Turn to These Streaming Workouts When You Can't Break a Sweat at the Gym)
Transparent & Black
Transparent & Black is an upcoming wellness collective (launch date TBD) founded by Yasmine Jameelah that will provide a safe space for Black people to heal from intergenerational trauma. It will be the first-ever (!!) wellness studio that includes trauma-informed swim classes, access to therapists, doulas, stillness rooms, and fitness classes for the Black community on its lineup. The Black-owned wellness brand is launching this studio to serve as an accessible and equitable ecosystem for Black people. The flagship location will be located in Brooklyn, New York and they plan on eventually opening other studios in cities with large Black populations to access the demographics they're looking to reach and who have traditionally been left out of the wellness experience. You can support Transparent & Black's crowdfunding campaign here.
Fit For Us
While Fit For Us isn't a studio, it serves another especially important purpose as a collective that's helping to support Black people who work in wellness (some of whom are studio owners themselves). By supporting Black professionals, the goal of Fit For Us is to boost access to mental health resources and other wellness offerings in under-resourced and marginalized communities. You can find more info on supporting Fit For Us - or joining the collective if you're a Black wellness professional - here.