The EnLIGHTenment of Yoga: A Black Female Yogi’s Perspective


Namaste, y’all.  Not sure if you are aware but I am a yoga instructor. I love yoga. I took yoga occasionally throughout the years and then really started practicing through some tough times in my life and it helped tremendously. I was focused, felt strong and flexible and I fell in love with it. And since I am not a selfish lovah, I wished to share this with others. I am not (yet) a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) but have been certified in Yoga Fit and will continue on until I become a RYT.

But today, something caught my eye. A piece written in XO Jane (see it here if you are interested in reading), by a self proclaimed “skinny white girl”, stating how a fellow student, new to yoga made her quite aware of her “whiteness” and made her cry or something. The new yogi happened to be a “heavyset black woman”.  Now, I get it, the author doesn’t see a lot of black people in yoga class. The new yogi was heavyset. She couldn’t the poses. It made the skinny white girl cry (Girl… BYE!). The author’s account of her ordeal, her hardship through downward dog and other extraness offended a lot of people (see here and…here) including me. And while I found it offensive and need her to have several seats, it wasn’t for the reasons people may think.

First off, yoga is about inclusiveness. So, if you see a fellow, especially new,  student struggling near you, HELP. THEM. Share your experience instead of running to a corner to cry. Show them Child’s Pose. Pull you mat next to them. Do something!

Second, who said that yoga cannot accommodate someones body type? Anybody can do yoga. Anybody. You might not do Scorpion, or Crow or stuff like that, but uh,I have a question: Do you like to sit in silence? Yoga has a pose for that. Can you lay on your back and do nothing (one of my favorites!) ? Yoga has a pose for that. See? Everyone can do yoga.

But most important, her essay highlights a fact. Black women are minimized in the world of fitness. I think the author makes a great point. Yoga, the world of fitness in general is displayed as being very white. I mean, of course she was hyper-aware because every, single fitness publication she, and everyone sees, has a plethora of “skinny white girls”, and swole white men and a few black men. I get equipment catalogues all the time and very rarely see a black female inside of them. If that is all I see and I am actually LOOKING for black women, what does she see?

Yoga and fitness has been there for me through difficult times, made good days better and provided an plethora of challenges for me to enhance my overall wellbeing. It is a gift and I love to share it with any and everyone who wants it. I know many dedicated, fit, black women, I am a part of some awesome Facebook fitness and motivational groups that highlight black female accomplishments in fitness, even if it is a slow mile or a healthy breakfast (I’m looking at you Fit Girlz Clique and Black Girl Run!). Black women do work out! We do exist!

But I digress. To the yogi who wrote that essay, I say think about why you love yoga and practice it so much. Think of those you can help and share this gift with, no matter the perceived ability, weight or race of the person. Remember that it takes courage to step out of your comfort zone and try something new and its nice to have support when doing it in a judgement free zone. So practice some deep, cleansing breaths, do a few sun salutations and know that the spirit of yoga, self love and overall wellness is capable to be within all of us.



Fitness Adventures: 6 Reasons Why Pole Fitness Is Awesome

Pole Fitness


I am a part of a wonderful Facebook group called The Fit Girlz Clique. If you don’t know about it, go  to Facebook and getchu some! It is a wonderful community of women who encourage and motivate either through pictures, words or both.  The page always has great challenges and fitness events that are always changing and seem fun.  For my first event with this group, I decided to join a Pole Fitness class.  It was held at 8 am on a Saturday at Good Gyrrl Studios in the Bridgeport Arts Center on the South Side of Chicago.  The instructor, Coach Robin of Alpha To Omega Wholistic Therapeutic Services is fantastic and I want to tell you why this pole fitness class was awesome.

1. This class was located in the Bridgeport Arts Center which is a huge warehouse/loft style building on the South Side of Chicago near US Cellular Field/The Cell/Comiskey Park. It mostly houses artist lofts, but also hosts another gym and a poetry lounge to name a few.  The outside has a really nice courtyard area with a mosaic lined walkway and a big silver horse which goes along with the courtyard. I’m not gonna lie, me and a few others got a little turned around finding the actual studio but when we got there, we found the Good Gyrrl Studio to be cute, not too girly and sensually decorated with leopard print, velvet covered seats and four poles in the middle of the room for the pole fitness class.  I also saw some hula hoops and weights so I am sure that other interesting courses are taught there and since a few of us (yes, me too) forgot our mats, there were several mats available for our use.

2. Some of us were a little late, but once we got there, we found Coach Robin ready to go. She got us warmed up, was detailed and informative in her instruction and made the workout accessible for everyone. On another note, girlfriend has some serious pole skills. I was in awe and quite impressed. i learned quite a bit in that one class, such as the use of a product called “tack” that you can rub on your hands and in my case, on my inner thighs to keep from slipping on the pole.

3. I love a challenge which is why I chose this class.  The challenge of pole fitness is first a test of your body weight strength. We worked our core, upper body, inner thighs..outer thighs..every.thing. No weights, only using the pole for support. We learned a few basic spins, one was called The Cradle, as well as how to a Handstand. This workout was fun and no joke!

4. The ladies that participated in this class were wonderful, open minded and even though I had never met any of them before, were some of the friendliest women I have ever met.  We all had varying levels of fitness ability, but we all were there to exercise and experience something new.  Because of the different things taught in this class, some people found some new found ability, others found flexibility and we all caught a little sexy cuz, well, frankly we all were to begin with.

5. I loved the music!  I am a huge Prince friend and one of the warmup songs was “Sexy Dancer”. From the first few bars of that song, I was all in for the rest of the class.  We also took a musical interlude break when Sugar Hill Gangs Apache (Jump On It) came on.  If you know that song, you know the dance that Will and Carlton from the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” did. Yes we did it. And it was glorious.

6. The pole is your friend.  If you take a class like this, you must remember that. It is there to support you and help you do fun, amazing spins that you did not think you could do. And don’t think that because you are not your ideal weight that this is out of reach for you.  If you want to do it, go for it.  You might find something that you didn’t know was there.

There you have it. Despite some light inner thigh chafing and some soreness the next day, I am totally and completely in love with Pole Fitness and will enthusiastically do this again.

Feel fitty!

XO,  Amber

So You Think You Can Move: Fitness to Maintain Sanity While Moving

ImageEvery time I get ready to move, I swear that I am going to get movers. And every time I move, I think “Well..we can do this on our own!” and off to U-Haul I go.

Big mistake. I swear. I will be using movers next time. It was exhausting, frustrating and just over all a pain in the a!$. But, of course I did not waste my moving experience! No! I used it as an opportunity to get a full body workout so that I could enjoy that all important pizza break when you are done moving! I also came up with a workout to prepare for my move and thought I would share with those of you who are moving soon  or are just looking for ways to do some quad, hamstring and lower and upper back strengthening.

Warm Up:

20 Jumping Jacks

15 (each side) Dirty Dogs (on all fours, lift leg to the side like a dog doing a #1)

15 Wall Slides (Back on the wall, slide arms up and down)

15 (each side) Lunge and Twists


15-20 Squats

15-20 Deadlifts (with or without weight)

15-20 Push Ups

Repeat 2x

15-20 Scorpions (All Fours, lift leg in the back, squeeze glutes)

15-20 (each side) Russian Twists (Seated, with out without medicine ball or weight, cross ankles, lift legs and rotate core from side to side)

15-20 (each side) Opposite Arm/Leg Supermans- (Lying on stomach, arms and legs straight, lift one arm and opposite leg off the floor, repeat)

Repeat 2x

Cooldown with a few stretches and try to fit in some meditation time. Trust me it will help get your mind right for horror that is moving on your own. Don’t get me wrong, I love my new place. But, next time, I getting movers.

Feel Fitty!

XO, Amber


The Warmup: Motivational Music Mondays-Keep On Moving

I have been out of the game for good reason, but time to get back to work! This song is mostly appropriate for cooldowns-but um..And? So What? Its motivating!  It is also a appropriate for a preview for tomorrow’s post. Stay tuned!  Happy Monday! Stay motivated and Feel Fitty!

XO, Amber


On The Waterfront: Running with Black Girls Run at Essence Music Festival

I am very proud to say that while I was in New Orleans, I had the privilege to run a quick 3K with Black Girls Run and one of my childhood Sheroes, Jackie Joyner-Kersey. If you don’t know about Black Girls Run (BGR), it is an awesome community of black women (and sometimes girls) that get together and simply run.  There are chapters all over the country and help motivate anyone and everyone from


those who may have never run before to those that have “retired” from running after that grueling half marathon, getting ready for the full marathon. I am happy to say that I recommended that my sister try BGR a few months back and she has lost over 40 pounds from running with BGR , working out, and eating right. (So proud of you Nikki!) Check it out. Its awesome! Really!  For more information, go to

But now on to the 3K. First off, it was exciting being there with several other women who got up on a Saturday morning after (possibly) partying on Bourbon Street or attending an awesome concert the night before. After signing in and getting my bib, I saw many women, some were warming up while others hugged girlfriends who made it out for the run.  Everyone cheered as the founders, Toni and Ashley greeted everyone, thanked the sponsors and then..introduced Ms. Jackie Joyner-Kersey. Greeted with loud cheers, Ms. Joyner-Kersey congratulated everyone who came out,  offered words of encouragement and we were off!

The run. It was only 3K. But it was a run on the Riverwalk in New Orleans. Louisiana. In July. So, it was like running through pea soup. The path was relatively flat, with a bit of a curve, so no concerns there but any and environmental acclimation needs were completely forgotten when you saw smiles, determination and enjoyment on these  women’s faces. Even though everyone was cloaked in sweat and NOLA mist we all cheered everyone on and simply enjoyed and remained in the present moment. Jackie Joyner-Kersey and other track stars joined us- it was so thrilling to be out there!

I finished in decent time, picked up an little swag (a Coca-Cola towel), some water and a Kind Bar. ALL so very much needed. After doing some post-run stretches (downward dog with pedaling my feet, a few hip opening yoga poses, etc.) I walked toward Canal Street (I think it was Canal) to catch a ride to my hotel, I saw a lady, a little older than me, same curly hair, similar build as me, dressed for a run. She was bobbing her head to her music as she prepped for her run (as I do with near reckless abandon at times), I smiled, caught her eye, raised my hand, and gave her a high five.


Fitness Adventures: Yoga In Mississippi


I am freshly back from my fabulous road trip visit to the Big Easy-Nawlins, Louisiana. Me and four other ladies checked out the Essence Music Festival.  I came back refreshed, inspired and proud that I stayed active and ate well and had a fantastic time!  Now, as I mentioned, I went with four girlfriends. Four women. With all the laughing, bonding, side eyes and..cramping. Yes cramping. I had the pleasure of sitting in the middle seat of a lovely Ford Fusion for a significant portion of our 14 hour drive. My legs, back and butt were not happy with me by the time we took a break to stretch out legs. So what did I do in 90 degree heat in the middle of a Mississippi? What else? Yoga.

Some of my favorite poses were:

  • Downward Facing Dog-Stretches the back and the hamstrings
  • Camel-Stretches lower back and opens up the hips
  • Upward Facing Dog-Expands the chest, lower back and opens the hips
  • Dancer’s Pose-Because it is my favorite balancing poses and it opens the hips

I also did some Sun Salutations,  yoga sequence numero uno to warm up the body and get yo stretch on.

All in all-it was a great trip. It was truly beautiful to see all kinds of women come together, hear some great music (I went to see TGT, Janelle Monet and the King/Queen herself, Beyonce) and see the beauty of New Orleans, which is officially in the top 5 of cities I love.

Stay tuned for more on my Fitness Adventures in New Orleans (One includes track great Jackie Joyner- Kersey and Black Girls Run!)


The Warmup: Motivational Music Monday (Tightrope)

My favorite Cover Girl. Its Monday! Let’s go!