By Kalea Sanders
Finding who you are, what makes you, you, and having the space to exist authentically is a form of Black Girl Magic that is still being discovered today. Throughout the years of oppression, trauma, and neglect, Black Women have lost themselves to the Eurocentric beauty standards and lifestyle expectations set far in the past that still trap Black Women in the shadow of yesterday. Black Girl Magic stems from breaking free of those boundaries and venturing out into the world of self-care, and wellness. Yoga in its true form is a great catalyst for both categories, self-care and wellness.
The beauty of yoga stems from its design. One of yoga’s original purposes was to be a catalyst for inner workings. As yoga continues to function hand and hand with the philosophy of wellness and the source of life, starting with the breath, finding one’s self is inevitable. Although yoga can be a wonderfully immersive and vulnerable experience, a proper teacher with the knowledge of a true yogi will allow an individual to sub come to all of yoga’s natural wonders.
Due to yoga’s extensities benefits, its functionality is consistently being studied to insure its longevity and effects. A study in 2016 dived into the benefits of yoga in urban public schools in New York City. Donna Wang and Marshall Hagins described an “increased self-regulation, mindfulness, self-esteem, physical conditioning, academic performance, and stress reduction,” among the students after consistent yoga practice. They also found an “improved athletic performance, use of techniques to help with academic stress, stress reduction, and emotional regulation.” These same benefits are exemplified in adults who regularly practice yoga.
Although has been scientifically proven to have an array on benefits, its effects on the African American community can be limited due to the nature of its projection. Without the proper teacher who is well educated on yoga’s purposes, its benefits are extremely limited. Angie Franklin does her part in educating herself on yoga and how it’s affects can promote a health and rich lifestyle specifically for Black Women.
Angie Franklin, a thirty-four-year-old half-Black half Spanish woman from Madrid, has become one with the world of yoga.
With over 7 years as a certified yoga practitioner and education from Yirser Ra Hotep, a yogi straight from India with over thirty years of practice under his belt, Franklin’s goal has been to provide wellness to as many African American Women as possible.
“Providing yoga and wellness has helped a lot of Black Women who never thought that this practice was for them realize that it is, and I think that so many of them have experienced really beautiful healing experiences by just connecting with their breath,” Franklin said.
Passion drove Franklin to create a safe space online for African American Women and yoga-seeking individuals with the establishment of Afro Yoga. Afro Yoga is an online premise used for the promotion of yoga predominantly in the Black community while simultaneously being open to all.
As CEO of Afro Yoga and over sixteen thousand followers on her Instagram, Franklin has been able to spread her love and connection with yoga to thousands around the globe. With connectivity to a large audience of Black Women, Franklin can share the Black Girl Magic experience with those seeking self-revelation.
“I didn’t start Afro Yoga with the intent for personal gain. I started it because I wanted to create something I knew was needed, and when it showed itself to me that, yes indeed, it is needed, then I just kept going. I took that as an affirmation, and I figured it all out along the way.”
With the help of yoga, Franklin was able to discover her own inner and authentic self while simultaneously creating a space for African American Women around the globe to practice and experience wellness.
Another well-educated yoga practitioner who functions off the healing of Black Women is Margo Francois, also known as Black Yoga Mom via Instagram. Francois has over three hundred hours as a certified yoga instructor. Through yoga, Francois incorporates her form of Black Girl magic by teaching Black Women to be as big and vibrant as they want.
“Knowing that we are valued no matter where we go and to be expansive, and that’s often a theme I grant throughout my yoga classes.”
With the empowerment of motivated instructors and embracive students, yoga will continue to be a catalyst for Black Girl Magic.