Racial Healing

Can breathing help heal Black racial trauma?


This story was produced in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and was originally published by Word In Black.

It’s something we do from our first moments of life until the moment we die. We do it some 17,000 times a day, without having to think about it. In fact, you’re doing it — breathing — right now, while reading this very sentence.

Yet wellness expert Zee Clarke believes that this simple act, when done intentionally using specific rhythms and techniques, holds the key to relieving stress, lowering anxiety, and promoting healing from racial trauma — especially the invisible, day-to-day strain of being Black in America.

Clarke is such a believer in the power of breathing techniques that, years ago, after returning from an eye-opening vacation in India, she quit her fast-paced, stress-filled job in the corporate world to immerse herself in ancient practices and rituals that slow life down. Now, she is encouraging Black people to adopt those methods, borrowed from yoga and meditation, to improve their own physical and mental health.

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