There’s been a lot of talk about the lack of diversity in yoga classes.  White faces seem to flock to yoga classes, even those in gentrified neighborhoods. We can scream at the top of our lungs that yes, some of us black people enjoy yoga. There are tons of sites solely dedicated to black men and women who have mastered the craft, the same way whites have.  But  a recent post on The Atlantic, ponders why there’s a lack of black people in yoga classes.

For example, in South Los Angeles, there’s Green Tree yoga studio, who The Atlantic spoke with about the lack of diversity in yoga. 

“You can look at all those journals and you’ll not see one woman of color,” said Raja Michelle, herself a white woman, who founded the studio. “We associate yoga with being skinny, white, and even upper class.”

Here’s my issue with all of these “black people don’t do this” or “black people don’t do that” type of exercise articles.

First, many of these fad (not saying Yoga is a fad, because it’s been around forever) and gentrified fitness routines aren’t that cheap. Although Green Tree only uses a donation system, many other places don’t operate like that.  For example, a yoga studio near me charges $200 for 5 weekly sessions.  Ain’t nothing cheap about that.  But guess what? On any given day, I can walk by and I see tons of black women and men.

Yes, I believe in doing fitness and exercise, but I also don’t believe in paying a car payment for it.  Yoga isn’t cheap.

Just maybe, there’s a population of black people who don’t find yoga interesting?

I’m sorry, but before taking a yoga class, crouching tiger hidden dragon poses didn’t interest me. I didn’t want to sit in a room with a bunch of strangers namasting and inhaling the farts that slowly escape from your body during poses.

Yoga isn’t exciting.

If these white people who own yoga studios in black areas want to garner up more black clientele, they need to do something to attract that population. If yoga instructor Tameka Lawson, who is black, can get tons of Chicago residents interested in outdoor yoga, a midst bullets and gunfire, then I don’t see why everyone is whining about why they assume black people don’t do yoga.

If you don’t know your clientele, or the area you’re popping up your yoga studio in, then I’m going to need you to find another business venture, because plenty of black people do yoga.


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  • Procrastinator

    The article seemed mainly focused on Green Tree and I’ve learned not to trust those “studies”. Maybe black people don’t feel welcome in a studio with nothing but pictures of thin white chicks in yoga pants? (I’m sure it’s a very nice studio) Also this quote: “People find money to buy thousand-dollar bags and shoes, and weaves, those cost hundreds of dollars to upkeep. But African Americans don’t have a great track record when it comes to preventative health. Wellness is not really valued.” is strange coming from a person who runs a blog dedicated to black yogis… and I just hate when people make statements like that.

  • I don’t do yoga because a.) the poses are awkward given that I am not naturally flexible and b.) I get strengthening of the core, balance, in addition to flexing the muscle (w/o the awkward poses) through Pilates. Although the private sessions are a little pricey, the classes are far more cheaper than what is mentioned in this article. My gym offers both classes for free. However, the instructors don’t give a great deal attention to each individual in the class given the number of participants. So, if you are not in shape or are a beginner that is struggling, I wouldn’t chance it. I take classes and instruction through a place separate from my regular gym that just focuses on Pilates at different levels so I can improve at my own pace as opposed to keeping up with a class at an arbitrary level.

  • Megan

    Yes yoga is a (long lived) fad. Show me one scientific study that shows that people who do yoga have longer lives or less illness. There are none. It’s a huge placebo but whatever. If you want to pay through the nose for a placebo, go for it. I just hate when yoga practicioners are pushy about it.