The Ecology Of Wellness And Spaces For Black Faces

Introducing Ms. Dupuy Love…

In a world in which we are constantly bombarded with the beauty perks offered by fashion, hair and make-up, it seems to me that health and wellness often take a back seat for women of color.

I studied Holistic Health at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City which is now a curriculum offered online only. During that last live program in 2010, I had the honor of hearing lectures offered by some of the leaders in the wellness and thought world from Deepak Chopra, Queen Afua to the raw food movement leader, David Wolfe. I was excited to be in the Jazz At Lincoln Center auditorium where lectures took place, filled with like-minded students like me, who wanted to be a part of a movement to “make America well again”.

Filled mostly with white women, the auditorium was sparsely strewn with women of color who inevitably found their way to each other in a grassy area of nearby Central Park during the lunch break. We shared goals, fears, obstacles and offered each other words of encouragement. Before attending, I worked in the wellness field as an office manager for one the school’s first graduates, I observed my employer cross network with other, mostly white women in the industry doing joint webinars, offering joint wellness packages and retreats and referring each other to clients where appropriate. I dreamed of seeing more of this type of support existing between women of color in the holistic wellness world.

Fast forward to 2019, as I live in New Orleans, I’m finally starting to see and benefit from such collaborations and it’s a beautiful thing. My first client as a health coach was the founder of Suzy Knew! Like many Black women with a lot on her hands and plenty of responsibility, she needed support around prioritizing her daily health routine. I pulled from my arsenal, the many helpful tools the program has armed me with, hopeful about the ways in which I could influence other Black women with hard won means, to prioritize, beauty from the inside out. One important concept I learned at IIN was that of having the right ecology to support your wellness. Our two 45 sessions a month had a huge impact on both of us. I was a stand and support to her focus on her own well-being while working in Equatorial Guinea and for me, she provided the invaluable practice of supporting someone else, thus keeping me on my game.

A palm tree will not grow in the Arctic, it has to be in the right climate in order to thrive. It is the same with your own unique self. Setting up your day and your life to win at the wellness game, in ways that support your own specific needs; from small things like, having a jug of water next to your bed so that water is the last thing you drink at night and first, in the morning to stocking your fridge with healthful options. Learning the difference between whole and processed food, macro and micro nutrients. And big picture things like, enlisting the support of a coach, a yoga or dance community and incorporating quality time to do things that you love, like dance, write, paint or sing, for no other reason than you enjoy it.

In addition, there needs to exist safe spaces for our faces that foster us to nurture ourselves in ways that promote our self-esteem, self-awareness and acceptance. Currently I belong to the first Black owned yoga studio, Magnolia Yoga Studio in New Orleans Louisiana (NOLA). The owner, Adrianne Jackson, has offered yoga teacher training to a host of young Black yoga teachers, paving the way for more agents of wellness in our community. Wellness events at the studio feature presentations and samplings of services provided by Black chiropractors, acupuncturists, and masseuses in the area. I, my sister and niece participated in a workshop the studio offered on Tantric yoga, offered by a Black female expert, Diane Goghogomu (@dloveisyours). We now have access to a diverse wellness community of color in a city where wellness spaces were traditionally enjoyed by a predominantly white and privileged few. As Over the past nine years there has been a well spring of Black female proprietors with a focus on nurturing the wellness of our communities across the country (https://wellinsiders.com/7-black-women-making-waves-in-alternative-medicine/) There’s plenty more to be done, but I’d say we’re beginning to thrive, one palm leaf at a time.

Ms. Dupuy Love is a quintessential artist and a lady of many talents. She hails from NOLA with roots in Haiti.  To start your own personal coaching sessions, email her at Dupuylove@gmail.com.

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