Tell us about yourself and how you got involved in the fitness/health & wellness industry?
I was always an athlete growing up. I played rep soccer and danced for most of my life. Even now, I do yoga, roller skate, dance, and strength training. I just love moving!
I did my yoga training two years ago after a decade of practice. I was discouraged by not seeing many people who looked like me in the space or teaching classes, so I never thought about it as a viable choice until I met a Black, female teacher who was substituting at the studio I volunteered at. She shared some great resources and Instagram accounts of other Black yogis, and it really opened my mind to the possibilities. I told her many months later that if it wasn’t for her, I would’ve kept pushing my training farther and farther into the future. She showed me what was possible and I’m so grateful to have had that moment.
Tell us about Black Yoga Society and what inspired you to start it?
Black Yoga Society (BYS) is an online platform dedicated to empowering and educating people on their wellness journeys. We help you through community support, online live and on-demand yoga classes, wellness workshops, affordable wellness supplies, and access to a directory of Black yoga teachers.
Honestly, I started it to meet other Black yogis and like-minded folks. I never thought that it would have brought me so many opportunities and positioned me as an “expert” in the area of diversity in yoga spaces, nor did I think it would grow as much as it did. If you asked me when I started it if I thought we’d be offering live classes and creating content, I would’ve said, “no way”! It’s been such a learning experience to be able to grow with this community.
How do you balance your personal life and career and continue to look after your health/fitness/wellness?
When you find out, let me know ha-ha!
All jokes aside, it’s a constant battle and I really must force myself to take breaks. I don’t practice the physical side of yoga as much as I’d like to because I spend a lot of time facilitating, exploring other hobbies, or spending time with my significant other, family, and friends. I try to maintain a consistent meditation practice and journal every morning to maintain my mindfulness practice.
If anything, I’ve been taught how mindfulness shows up in so many different ways. When I roller skate, dance, or practice yoga, I’m very much consumed in the present moment. This is why I hope to expand the movement practices on BYS beyond just yoga in the future. Activities like dancing have always been a major component of the African diaspora culture and for some, it’s their mindfulness practice. I think different ways of exploring mindfulness should be honoured and encouraged.
What has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced in business?
One of the hardest things I find is pricing. I’ve been told by some folks that I’m not pricing myself high enough, but then I’m told by others that my pricing is too high. It’s a constant battle of how to price your services accordingly, provide value, and not get burnt out because you’re doing too much for too little.
What is your most important piece of advice for other entrepreneurs in the fitness space looking to grow their business/brand/presence?
Find your target audience and talk to them! Figure out what they want and need. Where do they like to spend their time? You don’t need to be on every social platform but figure out where your target likes to hang out. Wine and dine them with some free content (I use an e-book and will occasionally offer free yoga classes). But also, get their feedback. I’m a big believer in feedback forms to make sure I’m giving them what they require and not just guessing with no research or data to back it up.
Join Andriana and a panel of BIPOC fitness professionals and equality experts on Wednesday, February 23, 2022 at 12 pm EST for an engaging conversation to address the realities of working in the fitness industry as a Black person. Click here to register.