Meet 7 “Black Woman Yoga” teachers

By: RandyYoumans

Black Woman Yoga

When we published our January article on yoga studios in Birmingham we were informed about the rise of Black women as yoga teachers. Nancy Rhodes, coowner of Abundance Yoga which offers restorative yoga classes for black woman yoga, introduced us the vibrant community of teachers who are dedicated to spreading the healing energy and benefits of yoga to all.

Mama Sanovia Muhammad

Mama Sanovia Muhammad was a revered elder in the Black community of yoga teachers and practitioners.

She was originally from Birmingham and moved to New York when she was 16. She returned to Birmingham 20 years later. After a 30-year career in labour and delivery nursing, she retired in 2009 to become a certified black woman yoga teacher. She also wrote A Journey to Forgiveness about how yoga helped her get through the trauma of losing her mother to violence.

Message: Yoga covers many things. Yoga is more than just posture. It involves breathing, meditation, prayer and moving inward. There is a place for everyone in yoga.

Muhammad offers private yoga lessons at her home and teaches many styles of yoga.

La-Shonda Spencer is the Yogi Doula

Black Woman Yoga

La-Shonda Spencer (also known as Shonda Faye) started yoga due to tight hamstrings. She was initially reluctant to try yoga because she couldn’t find anyone of her size in classes. She was the only Black plus-sized student at Birmingham Yoga when she first found her way.

Message: I want my community to believe that yoga is possible. No matter your size, it doesn’t really matter. You can have a yoga body as long as you breathe. You can also do yoga if you’re a Christian.

Spencer is passionate about making yoga accessible for all bodies and shapes. He teaches many styles of yoga, including restorative.

Gloria Buie

Black Woman Yoga

Gloria Buie discovered yoga because it helped her slow down. An instructor from her workplace introduced her to yoga classes. She would go to class every day, and she felt great afterwards. She was recommended by her teacher to take black woman yoga teacher training in 2018, which she completed in 2018. Buie said, “It was one of the most memorable five months in my life.” It made a big difference in my mental, physical, and spiritual health, and I wanted to share it with others.”

Message: I’m on a mission with my community to bring yoga into their lives, together with my women and my people. We bear so much. It’s possible to take the time to spend with yourself through postures or breathing. Self-care and self-love are two things we can all practice.

Adi Devta Kaur, THE BLOGI

Black Woman Yoga

Adi Devta Kaur, a 300-hour, one-month, 300-hour kundalini teacher training, flew to Rishikesh in February 2020. She didn’t know that the pandemic would force her to return home for seven more months.