When Linda Wells began her yoga journey a decade ago, she got lucky.
“I started practicing yoga with a Black teacher,” she said. “It was the first time that I had seen a Black woman teaching yoga, having her own wellness business and being someone that was standing in a place of her authentic self. And I was like, I want some of that.”
Today, Wells is one of the yoga teachers in Boston welcoming more people of color to the physical and spiritual discipline. Black Americans may feel unwelcome at white-dominated studios, and some have been unreceptive to the practice because they think its religious origins would conflict with their own beliefs. Another obstacle has been the cost, with classes and teacher training sessions not affordable to those living on limited incomes. To address those barriers, practitioners and studio owners have been having healthy discussions about how to open yoga to more people, such as adding classes that blend cultures, offering lessons on a sliding scale and supporting prospective teachers who are Black, Indigenous or people of color.