This is what it looks like to redefine wellness for Black women 

More and more Black women are creating offerings and spaces for their sisters to come as they are and get their wellness on track.

I want to live in a world where I see more Black women relaxing. Given the amount of trauma we are processing, the level of stress we’re holding (from work, home and just…America) it feels like we are overdue for a major wellness reset. But, as with most things, it’s not so easy to find spaces that welcome us with open arms where we can drop the code-switching and see other women with our hair and curves stretched out on mats, sweating it out. Outside Black-centric cities, you’d be hard pressed to find yourself represented in yoga studios and spas. But, you know we can’t let that be the case for long. 

More and more Black women are creating offerings and spaces for their sisters to come as they are and get their wellness on track. One of those women is Sinikiwe Dhilwayo, creative entrepreneur, educator, speaker and founder of Naaya, a wellbeing company that lies at the intersection of social justice and wellness. 

Dhilwayo’s company was born out of her own journey for wellness and acceptance in the wellness space. For her, it started with the personal drive to take care of herself even when she felt like she didn’t fit in. 

“I think the biggest thing for me personally was looking outside of the status quo,” she said. 

“If I am looking at a yoga class and all I see is white women, I’m not gonna be like, ‘I’m not gonna go’ or say ‘that practice is not for me.’ I think at some point I’ve got to get past that. If this is something that I want to do, I’m gonna show up in this space and I’m gonna take up space” said Dhilwayo. “Not to say that is easy for everyone. But I do think we live in a world, especially for Black women, that is not set up for us to be successful or to thrive. And so the more we place the burden on ourselves to not do things because we’re not represented or because we don’t think we’re gonna be welcomed, that’s gonna limit us to so many things.”

As a 2021 Athleta’s Wellbeing for All Power of She Fund grant winner, Dhilwayo perfectly aligns with the mission of the fund, which is to empower the women of color-led organizations committed to making wellness and fitness more accessible and making well-being resources more inclusive to female BIPOC communities. This year, Alicia Keys will help select grant recipients and work as an advisor and mentor. 

This is the kind of support we need. We need big names and big money behind the Black led movement to restore our peace and wellness. 

“We carry so much of the burden of the world, especially as Black women, it falls so heavily on our shoulders. And when I’m with my girls and my people my heart just swells. And back to this notion of being in community I don’t think I would’ve gotten through the past. Two and a half years of this pandemic without being in community with such amazing humans that lift me up and light me up and champion me when I get off calls with folks who are telling me that Black folks are a niche market and they don’t wanna invest in my company.

“And then having people on the flip side being like, hey, I see you. I know it’s really hard. I know you don’t have the resources that you need, but keep on going,” she said. 

Keep going, Sinikiewe Stephanie Dhilwayo. We see you, we’ll follow you, we need you. See more on this week’s episode of The Reset With Coach Tish, above.

Letisha Bereola

Letisha Bereola is a life coach who helps ambitious women overcome burnout and reach their career goals so they feel great at work and happy at home. She’s a former Emmy-nominated TV news anchor, Podcast host of AUDACITY and speaker. Learn more:

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