By Ryan Velez
In some cases, people are able to translate their own personal struggles into business success, and Black Enterprise’s profile of Carla Christine is an excellent example. In 2011, she was working as an electrical engineer for the Department of Defense and suffering from crippling anxiety. Trying to do anything to get over the anxiety, Christine turned to self-medication with cigarettes, alcohol, and hookah.
“Although a doctor prescribed me an anti-depressant for anxiety, it was without an evaluation,” she says. “A friend became worried and recommended yoga. I couldn’t see how twisting and bending could heal my body and mind, but I agreed to try it. It was the best advice because yoga has aided me in self-healing and self-study.”
Today, Christine has taken her interest in yoga and spun it into an exciting venture, Yoga Green Book, described as an online wellness studio and membership platform providing access to unlimited yoga and meditation videos to transform your mental and physical health.
“Since YGB’s creation, over 1,000 people have accessed our online teachings,” says Christine. “Business is conducted virtually, which enables my husband and me to connect with other yogis of color worldwide and have location independence. We have traveled to more than 20 cities worldwide and currently live in Medellin, Colombia.”
Perhaps one of the most interesting thing about Christine’s take on yoga is that it is specifically geared towards people of color. “With racism, trauma, mental illnesses, and diseases that disproportionally impact our community, tools like yoga are needed now more than ever. When I first started practicing yoga, I discovered how difficult it could be for yoga students to find and connect with culturally affirming teachers in their communities.
I created an online platform for yoga because it’s an encouraging entry point for those who are new to the field as well as a means for seasoned practitioners to continue to evolve their practice regardless of their location.”
She noted that she discovered the need for this area relatively quickly. “There are other successful yoga streaming sites but it was rare to see a black yoga teacher on their sites even though I and other yogis had subscriptions to these sites. We can all benefit from holistic practices, so yoga should reflect our image and be available to us all.
I launched and advertised the site and a five-part beginner yoga series in a way that unapologetically portrayed blackness to see if there was any interest. When there were steady sign-ups, I knew there was a market.” She considers a beginner challenge to be her best tool for roping in those new customers.
“Our free 21-Day Beginner Yoga Challenge teaches foundational yoga poses. Most challengers go on to sign up for a YGB studio membership. Our online yoga studio has a 30-day free trial that includes access to unlimited yoga and meditation classes, optional one-on-one video consultations, and exclusive resources and tips.”