Most studios have a core bent to them, typically offering one specific type of exercise to those who would naturally be around. Black fitness and studio entrepreneurs offer an inclusive — and healthy — alternative. From Lululemon-style moves like wall-dancing and body-fluffing to traditional Pilates or yoga, these locations are great for taking the body to new heights.
Here are three of the most inspiring and accessible Black-owned fitness studio operators in D.C.
Momentum for Movement in Brooklyn, New York
This Brooklyn studio offers an inclusive and refreshing look at Pilates, but also something called control barre, which allows you to wear traditional clothing. “It’s one of those programs where you have to buy an apparel item that’s going to fit you correctly,” says Elisha Mooney, co-owner. The studio’s focus is on level and efficiency, rather than merely creating a resistance routine. Mooney and her partners are also careful to keep their studio diverse. “We offer all different ages, genders, nationalities, so it’s just an environment where you can work out in a way that you can feel safe,” she says.
Nage Studio in Atlanta
Nage is a studio that offers self-care and learning through wellness. Ella Ellison, co-owner, describes it as “building self-trust and confidence.” What makes this studio different from many is that it’s fully funded by subscribers. Other studios are still struggling to gain members because it’s difficult to break into the market. Nage has more than 3,000 subscribers, Ellison says. And it emphasizes wellness and the importance of balance and performance. The studio also makes sure to stay integrated and inclusive. “It’s not just about cardio,” Ellison says. “We have a killer yoga class, ballet, acro, core, Reiki, fire dance.”
The Yogaloft in Dupont Circle
The Yogaloft’s signature item is a personal foam roller, which you take to the studio and self-massage and practice. “We were the first studio to offer it. We called it the ‘Yoga Roller,’ because everybody thought it was just a standard foam roller, but that’s not how we roll,” co-owner Stephanie Blount says. The studio uses it for everything from lower back pain to general soreness, since there’s no elasticity to help control movement in the back. “We’re actually doing this at work because we have a big yoga class every Wednesday and we use the foam roller in the morning,” Blount says. “People are gaining self-awareness, self-efficacy, self-esteem, empathy and growing as leaders.”
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