Two local entrepreneurial Black women have come together to bring the practice of soul yoga to downtown Madison.
Sweet Tea’s chef and owner Candace Flowers and locally grown, internationally trained yogi Chandra Winzenried have come together to create a six week soul yoga series.
The series is held on the third floor of 122 State Street, where Sweet Tea is housed. Winzenried instructs the classes and Flowers provides the space and refreshments such as fruit infused water and a variety fruit.
“There’s a ton of people who do yoga down here,” said class assistant Alicia Pressley. “But Candace wanted to have a Madison local Black woman who would make people of color feel comfortable and welcome here.”
Pressley works in IT and is not very active, but she said that’s changed since starting the yoga series on a recent Sunday.
“I noticed my hips more open and body starting to feel better,” she said.
Winzenried has been practicing yoga for almost 10 years and her practice has taken her to places like India, Jamaican, Thailand and Peru. She postponed a trip to Dubai to teach the yoga series.
“I postponed a trip to stay here and educate people and build a stronger community for marginalized people who don’t have a lot of exposure to the gift that yoga is,” she said.
Both Winzenried and Pressley noted the importance of having the practice just blocks from the capitol building, an epicenter of stress and oppression for many.
“It is really good to have a way to bring everyone together and to have a safe space where not only can you be together, but you can get that stuff out and grow together,” said Pressley.
“Imbalances in your body are caused by stress and it’s best to help each other find balance and building that community hundreds of feet from the capital says something,” said Winzenried.
The class takes place three days a week at 4pm on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays each with a different theme and level of intensity.
Sunday’s class is called soul sessions and focuses on relaxing, stretching and breathing to start a new week and Wednesday’s steps it up a notch for a mid week renewal called neo-soul flow. Lastly Friday’s class is a Trap yoga class that offers high intensity moves to Trap music.
All levels of yoga are welcome to all classes.
“I want people to feel empowered in this yoga series, but I also want them to have a ridiculous amount of fun,” Winzenried said. “If people have fun with this and learn more about themselves then I did my job.”
The class is open to the public and has a suggested donation of $10. The series will run until Oct. 27.