Healing Internalized Racism
As people of color are targeted, discriminated against, oppressed, or victimized by racism over a period of time, we sometimes internalize it. We develop beliefs, actions, and behaviors that support or collude with racism.
Internalized racism is when members of oppressed or marginalized groups hold an oppressive view toward their own group, or they start to affirm negative stereotypes of themselves. The person may feel a sense of inferiority and turn the experience of oppression inward. It is both a conscious and unconscious acceptance of the racial hierarchy that states whites are superior to people of color.
Internalized racism has its own reality and consequences in communities of color. There is a system that expands the power of white people and at the same time undermines the power of people of color.
Photo of Jean Marie Moore, Co-founder of Anasa Yoga. Photo taken in front of Anasa Yoga Studio in Oakland, California
The Benefits of Yoga for Women of Color:
15 Reasons Why I Practice Yoga
The practice of yoga originated in India with the intention of preparing the body as a foundation for unity with the spirit. Yoga is a system that is much more than practicing asanas or yoga postures. The physical postures are just a small part of the practice. It is a way of living designed to heighten our awareness of how we move through the world, how we interact with others, and to deepen our experience of oneness of mind, body and soul. Yoga teaches us how to live skillfully in the world. You practice the skills to not just survive, but thrive and live fully in the now. Through the practice of yoga, you may begin to deeply heal and transform your life. As you attain deeper states of awareness, you may experience a kind of freedom or wholeness called samadhi or liberation.
Anxiety is the leading psychological challenge for black women in the United States. Many Black women have turned to yoga to improve their over-all health. The practice is used to reduce illness from cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke that plague Black women. International Journal of Yoga and PubMed journals routinely conclude that yoga's health benefits include a decrease in several types of anxiety and depressive conditions. Sisters, Sadie and Bessie Delany, both lived over 100 years; they credited four decades of daily yoga as a main variable in their longevity.