Wellness retreat boom: Meet the Black woman founder hosting them for free

In the age of burnout, Sister Afya wellness retreats offer Black women tools to maintain mental health, says founder Camesha Jones.

Wellness retreats that cater to Black women are popping up all on my timeline these days, and I’m here for it. Seeing my sisters bonding over spa days and hikes, vision boarding in the afternoon and yoga in the evening is a little slice of paradise in my daily scroll. These excursions aren’t cheap and they shouldn’t be; but wouldn’t it be nice if retreats weren’t just for the people with a nice vacation budget?

This is where Camesha Jones, founder of Sista Afya Community Care comes in. She is doing what feels like an impossible task, which is making wellness retreats free for Black women across the African diaspora. 

“Our retreats are like a little mini vacation for our participants. We offer our retreats at Sista Afya community care at no cost to women in our community who may be dealing with multiple roles or responsibilities, burnout, trauma, all those different things,” said Jones. 

With the support of the Power of She Fund, Jones has introduced free wellness retreats for women in the community that include visioning sessions, yoga, meditation, African drum and dance. As one retreat participant said: “Being able to share a space with other Black women that is encouraging is bodacious, healing and powerful—that’s what Sista Afya cultivates.” 

Jones is leading Black women into healing and helping them redefine themselves in a safe space that centers their well-being. Jones’ vision was predicated on her own bout with mental illness and an understanding that mental health is a lifelong commitment. 

“I was a young 20-something when some things happened in my life that really changed my mental wellness. And it was really difficult in the beginning, reaching out for care, finding what I would call your “dream team” to take care of your mental wellness and just being committed and consistent with it,” Jones shared. “And so now I’m at a place where I almost don’t even experience symptoms anymore because I’ve made that consistent commitment to my wellness every single day and just keeping up the maintenance.”

To help eliminate the barriers that keep Black women from experiencing the same kind of freedom, she’s putting her energy into creating and sustaining a community that helps Black women find their peace at a low cost or for free. 

“I really want to encourage Black women. A lot of times we wait a little bit too long to reach out for support and care. And the sooner that we do it, the sooner that we can see our lives improve in so many ways,” said Jones. “And I believe that mental wellness is probably one of the most important issues in the Black community. If our community was healed, our community was well, we would be unstoppable. So I really encourage women that if you’re noticing some changes with your mental wellness, go ahead and seek that support.”

Thanks to Jones, the road to wellness just got a little wider. I look forward to seeing her next retreat on my timeline so I can raise my fake champagne class and partake in the healing virtually.

Watch Jones’ conversation with Letisha Bereola (Coach Tish) above on this week’s episode The Reset to hear how she’s helping Black women redefine their wellness journey and find community. 

Letisha Bereola thegrio.com

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: www.coachtish.co.

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. TheGrio’s Black Podcast Network is free too. Download theGrio mobile apps today! Listen to ‘Dear Culture’ with Panama Jackson.