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Cultured Yoga

While in quarantine, yoga became one of my favorite daily tasks. It felt like the world was out of control and I felt caged in. Since writing a research article in 2014 about the effectiveness of incorporating yoga to decrease stress, anxiety, and depression, I have put the techniques into practice.

Yoga provides a number of benefits like improving flexibility and posture, but perhaps the most important benefit is its positive impacts on your mental health. Did you know that yoga improves cardiovascular health, and reduces inflammation? Why is this important for people of color to know this? The leading cause of death for Black or African American people in the US is heart disease! According to the CDC, 56.8% of black men in the US and 57.6% of black women in the US suffer from Hypertension. Both heart disease and hypertension are treatable and can even be managed with a better diet, exercise, and stress relief.

Does doing yoga make you buddhist? This may sound crazy but my grandmother (devout Christian woman) asked me if I am buddhist because I told her I have been meditating and doing yoga. It may sound silly but I understood her reasoning for asking. Yoga is not something we really talk about in the black community. Whenever we have an issue, you give it to God. Especially blacks in the south, where I am from. Why can't we as blacks become more open to trying techniques outside of the norm. We have free range to try holistic approaches to better health practices, we are not confined to what our parents or grandparents feel are ways we "should" heal. As a black woman, I am open to try new things to feel better and I hope you are too. :)

Here are a few of my favorite yoga poses and their benefits.

Improves balance, concentration, and focus.
Malasana, Garland Pose

Calms the body and alleviates stress.
Bridge Pose

Improves mental and emotional health as well eases back pain.
Mandukasana, Frog Pose

Energizes the body and mind, increasing concentration and stamina.
Virabhadrasana, Warrior II

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