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Local yoga instructor works to connect people of color to the practice

"I was the only Black person in the room."
A class in session at Embody Yoga
Posted at 4:34 PM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 18:23:08-05

MILWAUKEE — Yoga is all about connecting the mind, body and spirit. In Milwaukee, a yoga instructor is working to connect people of color to the practice.

When Joanna Brooks first opened Embody Yoga in 2015, she rented spaces at several places including inside Sherman Phoenix. Now, seven years later, she's ready for a permanent spot.

A class in session at Embody Yoga
A class in session at Embody Yoga

"The new Embody yoga studio is under construction and will be complete by the end of March," Brooks said, smiling.

The new space is located in Glendale at 4650 N. Port Washington Road suite 160.

When we spoke to her Thursday afternoon, she was in the middle of construction, which is why we met via Zoom.

Brooks told TMJ4's Ubah Ali, she turned to yoga after she went through heartbreak and after several classes she realized the lack of diversity.

"More often than not, I was the only Black person in the room," Brooks said. "​I always had it in my heart to become a yoga teacher. So, I can represent and people can see themselves within this practice."

She knew how much yoga helped her and she wanted to provide access to yoga for people of color.

"We are a fully black owned and operated Yoga studio," Brooks said. "We show up as we are as Black women."

Brooks believes it's critical that yoga is easily accessible to help people deal with the stressors of life.

"People regularly are experiencing some of the difficulties that come along with being a people of color in the United States, that's why I believe this practice is needed," Brooks said.

Embody Yoga will not only move into a space in Glendale, but will also begin construction on a Wellness Center.

"Black women and women in general in the Milwaukee area can come and have their wellness needs met through a variety of services," Brooks stated.

Those services range from massages to mental health resources. Brooks is hopeful the Wellness Center will be completed by the summer time.

For class sessions, click here.

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