breathwork practitioner, Jasmine Marie is the founder of black girls breathing, an inclusive healing space where black women can actively nurture their mental, emotional, and spiritual health via meditational breathwork.
Over the last few years, breathwork has emerged for us as a self-care priority and, in 2020, a non-negotiable. With the heightened tensions of the year, we can’t think of a better practice to bring to individuals across the country who are searching for the strength they need to rise to the challenges of this wild year. Jasmine is focusing on the unmet needs of black women in her community and, for that, we applaud her. Her organization is mid-campaign on a crowdfunding mission that has raised over $30k to allow black women from across the country to access their mental health tools for free for the entire year — learn more about the campaign here. We spoke with Jasmine to learn more about the inspiration behind her current mission…
The Chalkboard: Your current mantra?
Jasmine Marie: One day at a time. I have everything I need to get through the next moment that presents itself.
TCM: What’s your quarantine mood right about now?
JM: Uber reflective and in solitude; stripping. unlearning. learning. unlearning again.
TCM: Jasmine, how did you discover breathwork yourself?
JM: When I was living in New York City, I was working in global brand marketing at a CPG company and was under immense stress. I ended up finding breathwork through the First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem. The pastor there led in an untraditional way and the church’s community center offered free classes where breathwork was a part of the itinerary. I went every week and developed my own practice.
TCM: Our audience is pretty breathwork savvy, but in your own words, what are the benefits of breathwork?
JM: Relieving stress, pent up and congested energy and trauma stored in the body. It’s a practice and a process, not a one stop fix. However, after one session, I’ve had plenty of clients see and feel the impact physically that breathwork has made in their body. It’s been beautiful to witness.
TCM: Let’s talk about breathwork and trauma. It’s exciting that such an accessible tool can have such a powerful effect on those who need it most. Is that an important part of your work? Can you share about this?
JM:I wholeheartedly believe, and my business background further motivates me, that I can create a sustainable business and practice while serving my community and making this otherwise generally ‘unaffordable’ tool accessible. I know, believe and am doing it….so much more to come.
TCM: Let’s talk about black girls breathing. The space is for black women only, correct? Talk to us about why you felt inspired to create that unique environment (both online and in studio) and what you see your clients experience.
JM: Yes. it is a safe space for Black womxn only. When I think about the specific issues that our community faces that impact our mental health on a daily basis, I know those issues are not being discussed and addressed in regular meditation or wellness classes.
For specialized support, one would need to have an individual session and, even then, there’s the question of whether that teacher is equipped to make space for those unique challenges and not re-traumatize the participant. With that in mind, I created black girls breathing.
Though black girls breathing is specifically for Black womxn, I’ve brought my work to a range of audiences — from elite universities to large corporations and even a juvenile detention center.
TCM:What are you hoping to serve to black women in your space that you couldn’t without this unique exclusivity? What do you find black women are craving that this space allows for?
jm: The feeling of being seen is healing in and of itself, especially when subconsciously consuming and overtly seeing images that affirm it is not safe to be in a Black body. Our work provides that and so much more.
TCM:Breathwork has never been more important than in 2020, I’m sure people have been flocking to you as a resource — can you talk about how you’ve adjusted since serious racial injustices took the spotlight this spring?
jm:Our work has definitely had a spotlight on it since the Black Lives Matter Movement has gained more momentum and awareness amongst the general public. We’ve always had this mission though…and have stepped up in the way we can make our work more accessible to those who need it with our sliding scale virtual breathwork offerings.