5 Trailblazing Black Yoga Teachers

February 6, 2014

Before we had  black yoga tumblrs and instagram hashtags,  Black yoga instructors pounded the pavement to spread the message of meditative movement throughout the world. I found 5 of the most influential Black yoga teachers who are still working to transform holistic health.

The yoga teachers who came before us.

The yoga teachers who came before us.


1. Maya Breuer

I first met Maya Breuer in 2006 at her historic Women of Color Yoga retreats at Kripalu. Maya’s studies in India and trains women around the world to go deeper than the asana practice.

Maya Breuer

Maya Breuer

Maya Breuer (upper left in white) brings yogis together!

Maya Breuer (upper left in white) brings yogis together!

Based in Rhode Island, Maya Breuer‘s Santosha School of Yoga creates a culture of acceptance and full disclosure for peace-seeking women. To learn more register for her Women of Color Retreat this May 30-June 1, 2014. http://www.kripalu.org/program/view/yogamed/YWC-141/


2. Jana Long

Jana Long is a Washington DC based Ayurveda expert who launched the first ever Black Yoga Teacher’s Conference.

Jana Long specializes in Senior Yoga

Jana Long specializes in Senior Yoga

Jana opened her Power of One Yoga  studio in Baltimore to celebrate the restorative elements of yoga for seniors. This year, Jana will host the 2nd  Black Yoga Teacher’s Conference in Washington D.C. Email her for more info at  http://www.powerofonecenter.com/


3.    Kofi Busia

Kofi Busia of Ghana and the United Kingdom roots his yoga practice in the tradition of Iyengar. Busia only works with students who are committed to developing a serious practice and he doesn’t deviate far from the path of alignment, principles and humility.

Kofi Busia “Yoga of Union, Yoga of Diversity” from Omega Institute on Vimeo.

Kofi Busia teaches yoga without spandex, only a wool sweater

Kofi Busia teaches yoga without spandex, only a wool sweater

Rarely seeking fame or fanfare, Kofi Busia teaches his high level courses around the world  in his signature Cosby sweater! Learn more at  http://www.kofibusia.com/biography.php


4.    Queen Afua

Queen Afua is a New York native and among the first to document how  women can use yoga to help heal from emotional traumas.

Queen Afuah with Erykah Badu

Queen Afuah with Erykah Badu

Her classic text, “Sacred Woman” details simple restorative poses to target fibroids, sexual trauma and tone reproductive organs. Queen Afua’s 30 year history studying alternative medicine keeps her at the forefront of the feminine holistic healing. http://www.queenafua.com/



5.    Yirser Ra Hotep

The links between indigenous healing, India and East Africa often go underexplored in our history books.

Yirser Ra Hotep in Belize!

Yirser Ra Hotep in Belize!

The Chicago native spent years researching the deep connections within the yoga practice that fuse East Africa with the Indian Yoga tradition. Yirser also raises awareness about the unjust treatment of India’s dark skinned Dalit people. He calls on the yoga community to look outside of what they’ve been taught and start changing the world using African healing principles.

Catch  Kemetic Yoga Global Training http://kemeticyoga.com/

Do you know of a black yoga hero who paved the way for the new generation? Email sari@anacostiayogi.com



  1. What a honor and privilege to meet such sages of our ancestors. Ase’ Ase’ Ase’

  2. Jennifer M German says:

    Thank you so much for this! I am teaching Black History in my daughter’s 1st grade class. I asked each child to tell me what they want to be when they grow up, so I could tailor the next lesson to their interests and make Black history more relevant to them. One of the children said Yoga teacher! Thus this post is VERY helpful to me today!

  3. Chris says:

    My wife Daya Devi-Doolin President of The Doolin Healing Sanctuary has been teaching Gentle Hatha Yoga for more than fifty years. She donates her time to help the community at various libraries for free, offers free classes to VETS and Abused Women who wish take her classes and for various organizations and offering Yoga Nidra Sessions. She has written nine books and is very accomplished. She is an award-winning and Best-Selling Author on Amazon and other websites.

    Our family is very proud of her.


    Chris Doolin

Leave a Reply

Cancel Replay