Inclusive wellbeing studio launches with all Black female yoga teachers and practitioners

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A new virtual wellbeing studio led by a team of Black female practitioners, aims to bring more inclusivity and diversity to the wellness industry.

Mindwalk Yoga specialises in yoga, sound healing and yoga therapy for mental wellness. The focus is on supporting Black women’s wellness with a rebalancing of representation in the wellness sector.

‘Black women’s wellbeing matters,’ says founder Zakiya Bishton, a qualified yoga teacher with over ten years’ ​teaching experience.

‘My aim with Mindwalk Yoga is to empower everyone with practices to get to know their mental health better, and specifically, Black women.

‘In the UK, Black women are disproportionately experiencing anxiety and depression. We are less likely to access intervention treatment and more likely to access mental health care when we become critical. We need to be aware of this. We need to talk about our mental health more, and we need more access to preventative therapies like yoga.’

Mindwalk Yoga works in partnership with Fierce Calm, a not-for-profit yoga organisation that aims to make yoga accessible to all while supporting the most vulnerable in society within a diverse and welcoming environment.

Launching in March, the studio will run seven classes a week that includes Yoga-therapy-for-anxiety, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Healing Sound Baths. As part of the launch, they are offering 14-days of free, unlimited classes from March 1.

Founders say classes are accessible and affordable, as they aim to reach people from all circumstances and backgrounds. Their mission is to ensure that wellbeing is not exclusive or expensive, but that it forms part of a routine to promote mental wellness.

‘There is a real lack of representation in the fitness world, particularly yoga, for Black women and it’s something that has to be addressed,’ says yoga practitioner Donna Noble.

‘Often, Black women might feel unwelcome or lack that sense of belonging within the yoga and wellness space, and their experiences aren’t always acknowledged. It often helps having a teacher who looks like you, who can relate to your past experiences and traumas.

‘Yoga is about looking within and becoming at one with your mind, body and soul, so this connection is crucial for anyone who wants to experience the true benefits of yoga. We want to create a safe and inclusive space.’

Donna says that she is used to being the only Black woman in yoga spaces, even when she is teaching the class.

‘It makes it a lonely place at times and whilst you might think that yoga is just you on a mat, it’s actually about community and bringing people together,’ says Donna.

‘For too long, the imagery we’ve seen in the Western world representing yoga isn’t representative of what yoga is – and should be – about, and means that people aren’t accessing it because they don’t think it’s a space for them.

‘Yoga welcomes people of any shape, size, gender, colour or level of physical ability, and we have to battle that lack of representation at all levels; from the images we use to the teachers leading classes.’ 

In parallel to the open-to-everyone wellbeing studio, Mindwalk Yoga has created an exclusive Black Women’s Wellness Collective and hosts monthly affordable retreats for Black women and Black non-binary people.

‘Representation matters, I yearned to see, hear and feel my experience in wellbeing practices throughout my yoga journey, and especially at times when I needed support with my own mental health,’ adds founder Zakiya.

‘My mental health is impacted by my experiences as a Black woman in the UK, from high anxiety levels, to imposter syndrome in my identities and in my ten years working in yoga.

‘Entering into almost exclusively white yoga spaces to “heal” and yet often feeling challenged by my very presence caused me more harm than good on countless occasions.’

From March 1, Mindwalk Yoga is offering 14-days of free, unlimited classes. You will then have the option to become a member with a sliding pay tier from as little as £10.

They also offer bursary free memberships to anyone in challenging circumstances.

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