Black History Month Yoga Events Offer Joy and Healing
Yoga programs across the country are celebrating the resilience and beauty of Blackness.
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Since 1926, when Black History Month started as Negro History Week, the focus has been on events and performances celebrating Black life and culture. Today, a growing number of Black yoga teachers and organizations are bringing yoga to the party.
Some BHM yoga programs are designed to be fun–with a good dose of swag. Take the Black History Month Yoga Experience at the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Earlier this month, the modern and contemporary art museum held a yoga session set to a playlist of songs, from Billie Holiday to Beyoncé, that “created unity and ignited change in our nation and world,” according to PAMM’s website. After class, participants listened to live music, toured exhibits, dabbled in art-making activities, and mingled at happy hour.
But Black yoga teachers are leaning into the healing benefits of the practice as well. They say it’s needed.
“There are so many things that can get you down each and every day. There seems to be this trauma cycle that happens over and over again,” says Chandra Fowler, owner of Sanskrit Moon in Hapeville, Georgia. “It is important to remember that we are resilient, that we are powerful, that we are descendants from people who survived the insurmountable….It’s all about celebrating the power and resilience that lives in your DNA.”
Fowler says her studio, just west of Atlanta, is always a place of refuge for Black folks and other marginalized people, as well as allies. But because of the current social climate, she wanted to do something special for Black History Month. This year, she joins a number of yoga communities across the country that are doing the same. They are offering special practices and events focused on the needs of Black people who want to get into the spirit of the month.
“Black History Month can be all year long. We can always celebrate who we are in our skin. It shouldn’t be, you know, a sideline,” says Fowler. “I want you to take what we are experiencing together in this collective, supportive environment into your life each and every day.”
Here’s a sampling of Black History Month events that feature yoga practice.
Celebrating in a Supportive Environment
Restorative Yoga for Ancestor Healing
Formed in 2020, Yoga Jubilee is dedicated to transforming social tension into positive cultural change through yoga and other embodied and indigenous practices. Through its nationwide collective of BIPOC yoga instructors and their allies, Yoga Jubilee offers a three-part virtual Restorative Yoga for Ancestral Healing series focusing on Black history, trauma recovery, and the “exploration of empowering narratives for reconnection with forebearers.”
Also during the month of February, the collective is offering free access to a compilation of yoga videos from more than 40 Black instructors in their digital library titled, “I Am Black History.”
Sundays, February 12, 19, 26, at Yoga Jubilee
Flow to Celebrate Black History Month
Each of CorePower’s 220 locations will include free and donation-based classes to commemorate Black History Month the week of February 19. On February 21, proceeds from live classes will be donated to the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a non-profit organization that works to end inequity in the justice system. Their commitment to “elevate Black voices” includes a scholarship program for people of color who want to participate in CorePower’s teacher training program and Black-owned brands featured on their online shop site year-round.
Beginning Sunday, February 19 at CorePower Yoga
Mindful Mondays with Great Energy Group: Black History Month Yoga
The Eaton–a hip hybrid hotel and workspace in Washington, DC–is always a vibe. They regularly offer weekly wellness-centered classes including a Meditation and Music Medicine Sound Bath, trauma-sensitive yoga, and R&B yoga.
Especially for BHM, Eaton’s Wellness Director Tara Aura and Washington’s Great Energy Group curated a mindfulness series that integrates movement with the music of the African diaspora. You can catch a rhythmic, restorative yoga session set to reggae, Afrobeat, house, and hip hop.
Monday, February 20 & 27 at Eaton Workshop
Black History Prosperity Market
The California African American Museum (CAAM)
Spend the day in L.A.’s Black museum is offering yoga, a group meditation, and sound bath as part of its Black History Month Prosperity Market, a pop-up that features Black farmers, chefs, and entrepreneurs. After your hour-long yoga flow, you can browse the market for fresh produce and handcrafted artisan goods, watch cooking demonstrations, and listen to music.
Saturday, February 25 at The California African American Museum (CAAM)
Celebrating the Beauty of Blackness
A free yoga class “celebrating the power, strength and creativity of black people” at Sanskrit Moon Yoga Center offers more than asana. The practice includes journaling and guided meditation as well. The goal is to take away tools for self-care and stress management that can be used throughout the year.
Saturday, February 25 at Sanskrit Moon Yoga Center