Beyond the Frames: Reimagining Health and Wellness for BIPOC
Self-care: an individual mental and physical health practice many of us neglect to factor into our daily lives. For black, indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC), the numbers are startling. The BIPOC community tends to report lower levels of psychological well-being, according to a National Institutes of Health study. In the United States alone, more than 80% of BIPOC are “very concerned about the stigma associated with mental illness,” which discourages many from seeking treatment.
These factors in mind are part of the reason why a new wave of Black entrepreneurs are charting a new path in the health and wellness industry. Stephanie Singleton is one of them. Prana Wellness was born out of her own need for wellness in a stressful work environment.
In 2018, Stephanie quit her high-profile media gig in Los Angeles and flew to India to learn from the source, study yoga, breathwork and meditation.
“Prana Wellness was literally birthed as I stood under a waterfall on a hike in India, she told Bohten in an exclusive interview. “I decided in that moment that I wanted to be a vehicle for people on their wellness journeys.”
Prana Wellness became an instant sensation across the United States. In just a few years, she’s been called upon for her expertise at the Georgia Department of Public Health, Los Angeles Police Department, Myridian Global, Youth Entrepreneurs and Mastermind Yoga Summit, to name a few. More recently, she has added prenatal yoga and postpartum yoga to her weekly roster of events. And while business is booming, she has observed that the wellness industry has fallen short – specifically for BIPOC.
“For years and years we have seen marketing, studio spaces, apps and experts in many wellness spaces that have not felt inclusive or representative, said Stephanie. “It has painted the picture that people of color do not need to take care of themselves.” She wonders if BIPOC would have a better understanding of how to deal with trauma and stress had they been taught about the power of health, wellness and self-care earlier on. Moreover, she has observed that the majority of wellness experts are predominately white, and the lack of authors, speakers, leaders, mentors and experts in the BIPOC community could play a role in why they do not participate in health and wellness practices compared to their white counterparts.
But while there are still challenges, there are rewards. Being a Black-owned wellness expert has given her the opportunity to expand her reach in the communities where it is needed most. To be an entrepreneur, Stephanie says, has been a life-changing experience that gives her the ability to co-create my own life with the Universe.”
“I am blessed to do what I truly love for work, so it doesn’t feel so hard. I can make my own schedule, and that allows for a sense of freedom and creativity. It has been rewarding to see the ideas in my head come to fruition so many times, and to see my business grow, change, and adapt.”
She is adamant in enforcing that people put themselves first, simply because, by nature, human beings cannot perform their best, achieve their goals or radiate light into the world if they are not kind to themselves.
“Be gentle, be kind, and patient with yourself and you can radiate that same energy to others,” she advises.
She adds that stress, anxiety, depression and chronic physical pain are all manifestations of a body that has not been offered rest. She suggests allotting and protecting a specific time each day to care for the most important person in your life: you.
“When you allow things to penetrate your peace bubble, you’re disrupting your natural prana, or energy. Care for yourself, refill your cup, rest and replenish so that you have the energy required to manifest your dreams.”
Follow Stephanie and Prana Wellness to learn more about her journey. To participate in one of her virtual or in-person wellness classes, check out her newly-released schedule here, which includes Prenatal Yoga Mondays and Meditation + Breathwork Fridays.