During her time as a peer specialist during the pandemic, Alahna Parker learned that people needed more access to mental health resources and practices, like yoga, meditation and breathwork. Parker has been practicing yoga for seven years and breathwork for two.
In October of last year, she opened Earth Angel Studio in Milwaukee’s Sherman Phoenix Marketplace. She realized the great need for these resources in her community and wanted to offer more than the private consulting she was doing for meditation and breathwork.
After a transformation and exploring her own self worth, she decided to take the step in her entrepreneurial journey and open her own yoga studio.
“Everyone needs more access to yoga, breathwork and guided meditation,” Parker said. “Now we’re all aware of it. Now something is happening collectively, to us all that we’re able to erase the stigmas around getting help for mental health.
“Before I had the studio, it was just virtual services. The virtual services that are still available, I have another office where I can take my clients who are used to having me one-on-one. That’s anywhere from guided meditation, private breathwork sessions and Reiki.”
Earth Angel Studio also offers unlimited monthly meditation and classes with monthly memberships. They offer breathwork and yoga classes throughout the week and social events and gatherings on Saturdays. They also offer chair yoga classes for veterans and elders from 9:00-11:00 am as part of their Wellness Wednesdays.
Through her journey, Parker has had the support of her husband, Mike Taylor, who has been practicing yoga for four years and breathwork for two. They work to ensure that the studio is a safe space for their clients and community members. They created support groups, Masculine Mondays and Feminine Fridays, for people to come and talk about the struggles they endure because of their identity.
“I’m thinking about healing our culture and healing our community, there’s a lot of misunderstandings,” she said. “A lot of hurt and pain exists just in your identity as a Black woman or in your identity as a Black man. A lot of subjects don’t get touched. If it’s a room full of men, and there’s one woman in there, that’s enough for a lot of things to never get discussed, the same can be said for women.”
Parker shared that she was initially apprehensive about the groups. The men’s sessions started before the women’s group began, and her husband’s reaction to the Black men’s group pushed her to provide a space for Black women as well.
“My husband was coming home and he just had these surges of energy,” she said. “He might have left out one way, and then when he came back, he’s like, ‘Man, you wouldn’t believe how many things we’re discussing and being open about. These are conversations I haven’t gotten to have’.”
Parker explained that the theme of the circles is not giving advice, but just sharing. Having a space to pour out is important, and there’s healing in that.
She also talked about the struggles of being an entrepreneur and building progress in her business. She is actively working to build her studio up in her community.
“I have to ground myself a lot in order to realize I’m successful,” said Parker. “Because the rewards aren’t coming in the ways that I expect it all the time. I feel like my higher self understands that and I feel like my future self will understand that. But I’m being humbled financially. I feel like that’s the entrepreneur’s story.”
Parker is now focused on vending and taking things one day at a time. They are hoping to continue building up clientele, and ensuring that the paperwork for her business is in order.
“Making sure your plan has the numbers and support that makes sense in the long run,” she said. “Yes, believe in yourself, but also don’t lose sight of how important it is to be pragmatic.”
They are looking forward to expanding and offering more events for their members and community members throughout Milwaukee.
“We hope to continue to offer special events,” she added. “We hope to be able to do more cool things like bike riding together, and fundraising and artists showcase in business incubators. We want to be able to do that.”More information about Earth Angel Studio and the resources are available and their website and on Instagram: @earthangel_studio.