Recording artist India.Arie graces the cover of Yoga magazine’s September 2012 music issue looking lissome and lovely. Doing a back bend while looking playfully at the camera, the neo soul artist and natural hair icon seems relaxed and at peace — but this was not always the case.

In her interview with the yoga tome, Arie explains that career setbacks in the summer of 2006 led her to look inward for support. Yoga was a key component in the rejuvenation of her spirit. “I had to leave the road and get myself together,” she told Yoga. Daily yoga practice helped the star put her soul in order.

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As a singer and songwriter known for her spirituality, India was the perfect choice to represent the music issue of a publication dedicated to a spiritual discipline. Yoga managing editor Jennifer Rodrigue explained the choice of the African-American performer for the cover in depth.

“Reaching out to India to model for this cover was a way to engage with the rich, rhythmic beauty music brings to our lives and our practice,” Rodrigue said of the cover shoot. “From the moment India stepped in front of the camera, there was magic.”

Although the popularity of yoga among African-Americans is growing, the mindful form of exercise is hardly as ubiquitous among our peer groups as it is in mainstream communities. The health benefits of yoga are so multifarious, and the health disparities blacks face are so numerous, hopefully India.Arie’s appearance on the cover of Yoga will encourage more African-Americans to give it a try.

Have you ever tried yoga? Or are you an avid practitioner?

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb