Why Black Women?

Women of the African diaspora have a strong history of sister circles from rites of passage ceremonies in villages of West Africa, to soulful meals cooked together in kitchens across the deep south. We shared stories about our families, dreams, fears and joys. There was a true sense of community. As years went on, we have become lost in our own careers, individual families and the ever-present isolation from social media. It’s time we return to that face-to-face, heart-to-heart connection, rebuild the village and bring sisterhood back!


Yoga is a excellent tool that can re-foster this sisterhood and promote healing in the Black community. Through conscious breath, mindfulness and strengthening poses we can bring bliss to our own lives, connect with like-minded women and bring healing to our homes, communities and the world. Just as we support and encourage each other on the yoga mat, we can support each others in our lives.

That support is especially needed in the world today. We live stress-filled lives as overworked, under appreciated women with too many health problems and not enough support. We are bombarded with negative images of women of color as sassy, catty people who are always at odds with their children, their men, families and themselves. But we know that’s not our story. That’s not our narrative. We define who we are by being the amazing women that the Creator intended for us to be and we are always better together.

How it all began

In 2011, I fell in love hard…like really hard…with yoga and the yumminess it brought to my body, mind, and spirit. I had a consistent home practice but craved a community feel. So off I went on a quest around my city of Baltimore to find my “yoga home”. I practiced at damn near every yoga studio in town, and with each place I went to I couldn’t shake that irksome outsider feeling. Studio after studio I scanned the room looking for a brown face but alas, 9 out of 10 times, I was the only black women in the class. In a city where the population of African-Americans was over 60%, I found it hard to believe that we didn’t practice yoga in larger group settings.

My love affair with yoga was deepening and I had a yearning to share this love with others like me. Since I knew I was hard pressed to build a community from the classes I was attending, I had to do something. Which led me to leading five of my sister-friends in a vinyasa class in my apartment ‘s living room on a Sunday morning. And from there Sistas Yoga Sundays (SYS) was born. A short while later we found a new home at the serene Heart Nest Wellness Center where we held classes for 7 years. Now our sessions are held at the Bmore Empowered Center in West Baltimore. For over eight years, I’ve embraced hundreds of women as they entered my class rolled out their mats and flowed. My students come from many backgrounds, age groups, and share different faiths, but one thing remains constant, we are women and we are building a tribe.

When women come together with a collective intention, magic happens.

Phylicia Rashad