Once a week, Denetrya Brookins turns Hollywood Beach into her own personal yoga oasis.
“I want people to connect and be in the elements instead of being cooped up in a typical yoga setting,” Brookins said.
Brookins is the owner of Black Women Yoga, a company she created in 2015 after noticing a lack of diversity at yoga studios.
“I started going to other yoga studios just to see what styles I would like,” Brookins said. “Every single space that I went into, I was the only Black person there. I was the only Black woman there. And was like, 'where’s the disconnect?'"
She started doing research but didn’t have much luck.
“I typed in Black yoga,” she said. “I typed in Black women yoga, and the only thing that came up even til this day what comes up is ‘Black women yoga leggings’ or ‘yoga pants.’”
The website Yoga Greenbook, which lists Black-owned yoga studios, only has four listed in the state.
Brookins says although her focus is creating a safe space for Black women, her classes are open to everyone.
“I’m not strictly for Black women,” she said. “It’s just me empowering Black women. I’m using my business to empower them.”
“My students are all ages,” she said. “My youngest student is 2. My oldest student is 84.”
The 42-year-old says a health scare started her journey into wellness. She was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease in 2013 while pregnant with her third child.
She was told she would be on medication for the rest of her life.
“That freaked me out because I don’t so much as take Tylenol for a headache,” Brookins said.
She started doing three poses a day during her pregnancy. One year later, Brookins says her symptoms disappeared.
“The specialist said we don’t see any reason to keep you on medication,” she said. “This was like this miraculous thing for them.”
Student Yashica Bent started taking classes last year.
“I have six kids so I need that focus,” Bent said. “I wake up. I get my me time. Yoga is the first thing that I do.”
Brookins hopes her wellness journey and business send a strong message that representation matters.
“Yoga is for everybody,” she said.