The business of wellness has become increasingly popular over the last several years due to the trend of more Americans becoming conscious of their mental health. For the Black community, racial trauma along with other factors can contribute to more Black Americans dealing with anxiety and depression. One Black woman decided to create a series of workshops to help other Black women cope with their anxieties through breathing sessions.
Jasmine Marie is the founder of Black Girls Breathing, a special workshop series for Black women to practice breathwork, a type of breathing exercise or technique used to improve mental health. Marie found that this type of wellness exercise was critical for Black women who face their own set of challenges.
“After practicing breathwork and incorporating the tool into my life (while experiencing the many up’s and down’s of various chapters) for 4.5 years, I decided to get my breathwork training. During training, I noticed the lack of diversity in our groups (not uncommon for the wellness industry) and thought even more how this work isn’t really known in the Black community or accessible,” said Marie in an email interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“I created Black Girls Breathing when I didn’t see any organizations focusing on bringing this work specifically for us while knowing the power of this tool and how Black people suffer from the highest rates of chronic stress and the related physical ailments related to it.”
Unlike mediation, breathwork can be described as an active practice that lets a person control their breathing, which can be used to boost immunity, enrich creativity, and reduce stress levels. For Marie, it was important to bring diversity in this space that is typically predominantly white to help Black women with their healing journeys.
“Black women have different experiences than non-Black women of color and white women,” she added.”It was important for me to acknowledge that our particular lived experiences and how the world perceives us has an impact on our mental health and create an environment that addresses that reality and offers tools to help us work through and heal through that.”
Customers can book virtual sessions amid the COVID-19 pandemic to take part in group sessions. Marie says in addition to healing in their own individuals, the sessions have also created a safe space for Black women to convene and feel relaxed.
“Most of the Black women who experience it once, come back and have begun to develop a practice. Now more than ever we’re seeing how lack of insurance and low-income due to layoffs have caused additional stress on top of the everyday stress felt of being Black,” said Marie.
“Our community has been so grateful that we’ve made the core of our work available in an accessible way. We’ve begun to host some sessions with a licensed therapist so the community benefits from traditional talk therapy + somatic healing (healing of the body). We look forward to expanding our work so more Black womxn can experience this powerful tool.”
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