So what’s your best-loved stress management technique? Stress management and wellness are key were catchphrases in the pre-Covid days, but given self-isolation and risk of infection overshadowing every personal encounter, it has become essential that we take our mental health and wellness seriously. Everyone has up days and down days for sure, but when you’re moving around and dealing with people, sharing time, and venting our mutual gripes, for the most part, things had a way of taking care of themselves, seldom did they seem overwhelming or threatening to our happiness. But nowadays, it’s incumbent upon all of us to learn to manage our well-being and deliberately pursue personal joy!
Here at Melanation, we are all about getting women to their comfort zone; mental, physical, and emotional well-being, and we were overjoyed in our encounter with Jasmine Marie and her brainchild Black Girls Breathing™! Jasmine Marie has developed BGM™ to be a safe space for black women to actively manage their mental health through breathwork and community.
As she puts it, deepening our inhales, lessening our stress. Jasmine Marie has impacted thousands of black women across the globe in her commitment to providing a platform for innovating the wellness community by offering free and accessible mental health care to an overlooked and underserved population. With a 90-min virtual breathwork circles session, offered on a sliding scale, she has captured our attention and broadened our imagination for a deliberate and purposeful approach to addressing mental health.
So what is breathwork? Breathwork is an active meditation technique used to usher stagnant energy out of the body, help acknowledge and release difficult emotions and traumas, and decrease anxiety and stress by strengthening the parasympathetic nervous system’s response to triggers.
Melanation has fortunately been able to capture a few minutes out of Jasmine Marie’s busy schedule to discuss her work and ambitions for BGB™, and are sure you will be inspired as we were in her interview.
Melanation: So Jasmine, please tell us how you come across breathwork and why did you feel specifically compelled to create this community for black women?
JM: I found breathwork when it was first offered at the community center of my church, FCBC, in Harlem. My pastor, Mike Walrond, had a personal breathworker conduct the sessions. I started taking the classes and began a breathwork practice in 2014 and followed that in 2018 getting my formal training. I was intentional in bringing this tool back to my community after seeing how it had so positively impacted me and my own mental health.
MN: What is the ultimate goal when going through these breathwork meditational exercises?
JM:The goal is to reframe your nervous system’s response to trauma, as trauma lives in the body.
MN: Jasmine Marie, who is your personal hero and why?
JM: I am my own personal hero in this chapter of my life. I have made space for thousands during these unprecedented hard times, while personally experiencing loss after loss, being a caretaker at different points for my grandma and mom as well as running a business and launching another. I inspire me. I have leaned heavily on the strength of knowing the journey of my ancestors and leaning in real-time of my own internal strength. I feel blessed to be in my current position, but I’ve worked…and failed plenty of times to get here.
MN: Although some challenges are obvious and in your face, can you tell us about the greatest counter-intuitive challenge you’ve faced in this initiative and your most successful strategy in overcoming it?
JM: That’s a good question. Since my work has become more public…some people approach you just to try and be attached to you. It’s a weird phenomenon. I’ve always had the nature and smarts I do now. But now people think you’re more valuable because there’s press and recognition attached to your name. I’m still navigating this. But I have a tight inner circle I rely on, and I listen to my intuition about everything.
MN: How has your life changed running your own business? What is the good, bad, and ugly of being an entrepreneur?
JM: Black girls breathing and its current manifestation are my 4th and 5th ventures. It’s not my first company but by traditional measures, it is my most successful to date. I would say I’m now in a position to actually support myself more fully for the long hours I put in.
People think you own a business and suddenly, it’s all about you and you get to play by your own rules. To some extent, yes, but to stay in business, you have to realize you’re serving your customers, your team, your clients and your partners. It’s not just all about you.
MN: What advice would you give women who want to follow in your footsteps?
JM: Don’t! You may be inspired by my journey but you cannot avoid doing the inside work to figure out what your specific purpose is and where your passions lie. Impact doesn’t equate to volume or success. Don’t be pulled in by the press and successes, it’s like 30% of the entire picture. Not everyone’s journey will look the same. Unhook your aspirations from the need to “be known” and dig deep into what brings YOU true joy.
MN: Describe your business in 3 words.
JM: Imperative, expansive, innovative.
MN: What are your personal goals for the next five years?
JM: I’m pretty private so will reserve that for myself, God, and my inner circle.
Featured photo: @blackgirlsbreathing
To learn more about Black Girls Breathing and its owner, Jasmine Marie, please visit website here.