Yoga retreats for Black women and women of colour in the UK

OYA Yoga retreats for Black women and women of colour in the UK

OYA Retreats are dedicated to delivering an holistic movement and mindfulness practice to Black women and women of colour. On exclusive retreats in the United Kingdom and abroad, guests are offered room to explore, reflect, release, and renew.

 Yoga retreats for Black women and women of colour in the UK

Recalling the Elements: Fire & Wind

Join Nikita, Shiggi and Stacie for their first weekend yoga and mindfulness retreat together at Poundon House, a beautifully exclusive house and grounds located just 60 miles northwest of London. The retreat will include yoga, mindfulness, movement, vegetarian meals, as well as free time to explore the area, swim, rest, read, and relax.

Theme

The elements are expressive and reflected in our own moods. We move between emotions of hot and cold, happy and angry, sometimes without even recognising or understanding why. At this weekend retreat we will explore the seemingly opposite poles that both fire and wind represent and how, in conversation with one another, transformation becomes possible.

On the one hand, fire is irreplaceable in its warming capabilities, for example of food or the body, and it can even illuminate one’s path. If untamed, however, it can burn and scorch everything in its way. Similarly, wind offers us a cooling system and can provide the energy we need to power up. At high speeds, however, wind becomes an indestructible force bringing chaos to anything it touches. This retreat will benefit anyone looking to find balance in the midst of the world’s extremes.

The body is the only true home that we will ever have, so it’s important that it be nourished and cherished. Over the course of the weekend, guests will be led in movement and mindfulness practice to do exactly that. Grounded movement and powerful Hatha flow sessions that invigorate will be balanced with soothing mindfulness exercises to leave guests feeling rejuvenated.

The retreat schedule is subject to change and will be released to registered guests closer to the date. Please have a look at our example schedule here.

Meals

The retreat is fully catered with dairy- and wheat-free vegetarian cuisine. On Friday evening a light dinner will be served. Saturday and Sunday morning, a warm broth will be offered before the movement session, and breakfast after the movement session. On Saturday, a filling and warm lunch will be served and a light and healthy dinner. On Sunday, guests will receive a boxed lunch, if they desire to take something with them on their journey home.

Instructors

Learn about the three instructors, including Founder Stacie CC Graham on the OYA Retreats website.
 Yoga retreats for Black women and women of colour in the UK


 

Multi-award winning photographer Lola Akerstrom.

Lola Akinmade Åkerström: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero

Lola Akinmade Åkerström, Multi-Award Winning Travel Photographer: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero

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Black Women in Europe Blog™ 10th Anniversary notes:

I picked Lola as a Black Women in Europe Blog10th Anniversary Shero not only because of her enormous photography talent (my Swede was impressed with her camera when he observed it draped around her neck and resting on her baby bump several years ago) but because of her enormous body of work. She’s been to just about every corner of the world, seriously and has been published in everything from National Geographic to the BBC and took a selfie with Sweden’s Crown Princess before selfies were all the rage. I’ve written so many blog posts about Lola’s achievements that I can’t decide which award is the most impressive.  I know first hand how amazing Lola’s eyes are as she has made me look magical from behind the lens. And I’m touched this globe-trotting mother of two and trophy wife still wears the stylish girlfriend hat. All I had to do was ask (and follow up a couple of times) with the amazing Lola to create something to mark my anniversary and she did not let me down. Indeed she created something museum worthy and for that I will always be grateful.

I will treasure this expose Lola! Tusen tack.

In Photos: On redefining dreams in Europe

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Multi-award winning photographer Lola Akerstrom.

Words and photography by Lola Akinmade Åkerström

As a Nigerian-born, Sweden-based self-taught photographer, my dream as a child was to one day see my images grace the pages of National Geographic which opened the world of exploration to me during my childhood. My professional work has appeared in various publications such as National Geographic Traveller, BBC, CNN, The Guardian, Travel + Leisure, Slate, Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, and several in-flight magazines, and my photography is represented by National Geographic Creative.

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photography by Lola Akinmade Åkerström

My style is inspired by the conscious act of “listening”. I tend to isolate people or subjects and place almost all focus on them. I make traditionally “mundane” scenes more interesting through isolation. This is something I both consciously and subconsciously do. I observe interactions – how people are interacting with each other, with their environment, and how light interacts with them – to capture a sense of place. This is conscious. The subconscious comes from listening. Because I always try to listen to people and places, I tend to isolate individuals and visually listen to and elevate them. I listen to their verbal and nonverbal stories. I let them tell those stories themselves through my photography. And I strive to dignify them during the process of telling their own stories visually.

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photography by Lola Akinmade Åkerström

I’m always inspired by strong black women who are actively carving their own creative paths despite the challenges we collectively face and are building successful lives and careers for themselves in unconventional ways. Living in Sweden for a while now, I’ve been fortunate to meet so many resilient black women doing amazing things – from entrepreneurs in the beauty and baking fields to performing artists, photographers, filmmakers, fashion designers, authors, and many more. All redefining what it means to be successful by actively pursuing their dreams and passions.

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photography by Lola Akinmade Åkerström

Follow Lola’s work here

Twitter Handle  – http://www.twitter.com/LolaAkinmade

Portfolio – http://www.akinmade.com

Blog – http://www.lolaakinmade.com

Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/LolaAkinmade

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/GeotravelersNiche

LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/in/lolaakinmade

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/+LolaAkinmadeAkerstrom

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/LolaAkinmade

Slow Travel Stockholm – http://www.slowtravelstockholm.com

Meet all of our Anniversary Sheroes.

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DJ Candice McKenzie

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Holistic hair care specialist Lyota Swainson

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Financial guru Ellen Kountz


 

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Ellen Kountz: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero

Ellen Kountz, Finance Guru: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero

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Black Women in Europe Blog™ 10th Anniversary notes:

I picked Ellen to be a Black Women in Europe Blog10th Anniversary Shero because she’s gutsy, a trailblazer and extremely cool. I first blogged about Ellen in August 2012. Born in California and raised in New York State she’s teaching finance on the University level in France in French. Non? Oui! She ran a great video series on the Obama campaigns and has developed a reputation as a sought after speaker on African American culture and politics. I witnessed Ellen complete her absentee ballot one election year. She’s shown me what an expat life can look like when one is fluent in the local language, excellent at what they do, passionate about their family and willing to savor everything along the way. Ellen shares her knowledge of finance with us as a 10th Anniversary gift for which I am grateful.

Thank you Ellen for sharing to empower us.

Sisters of the diaspora in the new financial landscape. Text by Ellen Kountz.

 Ellen Kountz: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero

Financial empowerment and economic equality were two subjects that Martin Luther King, Jr. was just getting around to addressing when he was tragically shot down in the prime of his career. There had been rumblings that he would “go there”, which is to say address poverty as an economic rather than purely a social issue, and by doing so, in the eyes of many of his day he was ‘getting out of his lane’. Since then, unfortunately, we have not had broad social debates about economic justice, beyond the narrow and short-sighted stigmatization of the ‘welfare queen’.

 Ellen Kountz: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero

Welfare queen, perhaps, but which one are we speaking of? The under-resourced unwed mother, or the corporate CEO with his endless tax loopholes? I’m more preoccupied with the latter. Over the course of the past half century, our Western economies have become less and less industrialized’, and more and more ‘financiarized’. What does this latter term mean? Basically, it is the fallout of increased regulation, scrutiny, and competition. As financial markets, and stock exchanges particularly, drove a spotlight to companies financial performance, rather than their underlying industrial performance, “finance-speak” became more popular in the media. For example, the stock exchange is a competitive place where companies are vying for investors’ attention and funds, and as this competition intensifies, companies will be forced to make managerial and industrial decisions that are for the sole purpose of satisfying financial needs. When large firms have mass layoffs, their goal is to keep their stock price competitive and maintain dividends for their investors. Slowly but surely, finance is no longer being used to fuel businesses. Instead, business is driving the financial model.

 Ellen Kountz: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero

Now that profit maximization is the imposed norm in most of the world, and getting only very little pushback from alternative models, such as the collaborative economy, or decreased-consumption objectives, we are faced with another fallout of this sinister system. This fallout is the need to multiply our own individual income models. Once upon a time, a nuclear family could realistically live on the parents’ annual income This model has been phased out, by a complex list of savings, investment, income, and retirement needs that require expertise and attention.

 Ellen Kountz: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero

I encourage sisters of the diaspora to do two things: embrace finance and make it your own, it’s a starting point to feeling empowered and entitled. Also, in the name of sustainability objectives, more responsible corporate governance and a re-set of North / South balance of power, consider that the next decades will give rise to what are currently seen as marginal, alternative concepts. Indeed, we can go from exclusion to inclusion in no time in this fast-changing world of finance.

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Ellen Kountz photo courtesy of ellenkountz.com

Ellen Kountz is a finance lecturer in business schools throughout France, including Grenobe Ecole de Management and Paris School of Business. Ellen was born at Stanford University Hospital in Palo Alto, California. In 1973 she moved with her parents and two older brothers to the North Shore of Long Island. Upon graduation from Great Neck North High School in 1988 she attended the undergraduate business program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania,in Philadelphia. At the end of her junior year, the Dean warned her that she needed at least one liberal arts class to graduate. She went to Paris on a study abroad program to perfect her French while fulfilling the requirement and has lived there ever since.

When people ask Ellen why she stayed in Paris, she reminds them that she was hired as a capital markets intern in the trading room at JP Morgan bank’s Paris office, located at place Vendôme. As a finance major, was there a better first job in the world? Over the years, she went on to positions of increasing responsibility in other financial services institutions in Paris. She most recently worked at the Bourse de Paris, rebranded NYSE Euronext. Currently, she is a candidate for certification as an independent corporate director at the Institut Français des Administrateurs, on the campus of Sciences Po.

Ellen lives in the Left Bank with her husband and daughter.


Be sure to read about our other 10th Anniversary Sheroes:

Picture courtesy Candice McKenzie

Candice SSW 150x150 Ellen Kountz: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero

Lyota Swainson by Odou John Andrews

Lyota Swainson by Odou John Andrews 150x150 Ellen Kountz: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero


 

 

Global Presidential Primary

I voted! Global US Presidential Primary

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Global Presidential Primary Ballot

I just voted in the Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary

If you are an American living overseas or across borders and want to support the Democratic Party you can vote in the Global Presidential Primary.

Find out how here:
www.democratsabroad.org/global_presidential_primary

Blog to Prague

Black Women in Europe Bloggers – Czech Republic 2 – Blog to Prague

Blog to Prague

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A Journey Toward Self-Discovery

I’m Mid-Western Girl out for a twirl.

Writer. Producer.Actor.Brown Bettie

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I’m a writer and multi-hyphenate entertainer who has lived in Milwaukee, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. My debut novella “Harlem’s Awakening” is available now on BlackHillPress and Amazon (especially for International shipping). It is the 1940s pre-story to “Harlem’s Night”, a dinner theater show performed by the Brown Betties and is about a young woman’s journey through hell on her way to finding peace. I love Zora Neale Hurston and Jackie Collins. If you do too, you just might like this poetic, visual piece of dramatic fiction. If you’re in Prague, you can get a copy at Shakespeare & Sons!

In 2005 I created the sultry, sassy, sophisticated “Harlem’s Night: A Cabaret Story” which is a cabaret/dinner theater experience that includes singing, dancing and acting and essentially is my autobiography of how I continually looked for love in all the wrong places until I learned to love myself first.

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As spin-offs from the cabaret, which also stems from my love of all things vintage, I created and am the editor of “The Brown Betties Gazette”, an online magazine; the award-winning webseries based on “The Brown Betties Guide: How To Look for Love In All The Wrong Places” (Amazon); and the “Be Your Own Bettie” Burlesque and empowerment workshops.

Check out my first go at being published in “Split: Stories From A Generation Raised on Divorce” edited by Ava Chin (Amazon), whom I met while living in New York.

I’ve also written, “15 Monologues to SLAM!” which is available electronically if you email me (my first name at hotmail dot com) and I’m in the midst of writing and re-writing “Making Lemonade: Bittersweet Tales From An Actress Being Squeezed In LA” which is my candid memoir.

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My play, Dick & Jayne Get A Life, a sorta romantic sorta comedy, debuted at Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2013 where it earned a “Best Of” Extension and has been accepted to the Prague Fringe Festival in May 2014. UPDATE: While accepted, Dick & Jayne was not able to attend. Instead, we presented my novella “Harlem’s Awakening” as a one-woman show about a book, with a book! This is/was first time doing a one-woman show and this blog will live to tell about some of it.

If you scour the internet, you can find pics of me as a former Chicago Bulls Luv-a-Bulls Dancer and Milwaukee Bucks Energee! dancer. I’m a graduate of Marquette University where I still hold my triple jump record (yippeee!) and I was the Senior Speaker, of which I am extremely proud.

Visit Blog to Prague today.