Over the years, Black women have taken an increased interest in maintaining a beneficial wellness routine. Whether its incorporating better eating habits, adding the word “no” to your vocabulary, or making time for some yoga, women are doing what it takes to get in tune with their higher self.
Yoga has become one of the more popular wellness and fitness practices because it improves flexibility, heart health, and stress management. Lateefah Fleming, President and Chief Motivation Officer of empowerFit Wellness, LLC, specializes in Yoga, Pilates, and dance. She has dedicated her time to empowering women through fitness by giving back to New Jersey and New York communities. Not only is she an author of “Everyone Can do Yoga: 30 Days of Information and Instruction on an Ancient Practice That Works Wonders in Our Modern World”, she can also be found on InStyle/Yahoo’s Top 10 Powerful Women of 2021.
Lateefah’s passion for motivating women through fitness is admirable. At just 49-years-old and 20+ years in the industry, she has unlocked the key to living a purposeful life and she is sharing it with the world. We sat down with the yogi reigning out of Teaneck, New Jersey to learn more about the benefits of yoga and the reasons why Black women should add the routine to their fitness regimen.
Why is it important to do yoga? What are the benefits?
The art and discipline of yoga helps in controlling and empowering one’s mind, body and soul. It merges physical and mental disciplines to achieve a peaceful body and mind; manages stress and anxiety and keeps you in a more relaxed state of mind. Physically, it helps in increasing flexibility, muscle strength and body tone.
Why should Black women specifically explore yoga?
Black women are constantly holding spaces for everyone. We give permission for others to find their way and create space growth and healing. When do we do that for ourselves? When we get into our practice and understand the power of finding our voice, this is an empowering experience. This is also a way for us to rid ourselves of generational trauma that is embedded deep in our bodies. Breathing, meditation and physical poses connect to provide tools to give us personal peace.
Studies prove that anxiety, stress, depression, heart disease and other ailments affect Black women disproportionately compared to other ethnic groups, but the statistics rise alarmingly when it comes to the health of Black women. Because of the many external and internal social stressors—racism, sexism, socio-economic issues—Black women do not have space to accurately practice self-care in a way that is safe and fulfilling.
You’re a Lululemon brand ambassador. How has that experience been for you?
It has actually been quite good, considering I did not accept the invitation at first. What I love is that they are not just about having you advertise their clothing and merchandise to your audience and expand their brand. From my experience, they are about supporting the ambassadors in all our endeavors. When I do grassroots, community events, they want to know how they can be there. We do check – ins to see how I, as an individual, am doing. That part is huge to me. At this point in my life I am all about wellness (emphasis on the “well”) and making sure I am taking care of the essence of “me” is gigantic. They are right there with me on that! I am trying to help everyone lead a deliciously yummy life and my Lululemon team is holding me accountable to make sure I am doing that for myself. It is an honor to be able to represent as an ambassador. Having my picture displayed at my home – base of American Dream mall.
Additionally, having them as my partner in my monthly challenges has been fun. It’s lovely to have them support me and having their brand back me up does help increase knowledge of my own brand.
You can keep up with Lateefah on her social media account @EmpowerfitchicK. If you’re in the New York or New Jersey area and would like to connect to her Yoga, Dance and Whole Body Experience, visit her website www.EmpowerFitWellness.com.