Sinikiwe Dhliwayo Finds Peace With Meditation and Early-2000s Movies
The Naaya founder explains her approach to wellness.
Published Jun 28, 2020 12:00 AM
We spend a third of our lives asleep—that means our bedroom is the most lived-in space in our homes. It’s the room where we start and end our days, and that’s why the rituals that happen there are extra important. In The Wind Down, we’ll be exploring the nighttime routines of people we admire and taking their advice to make the moments just before bed feel our best.
Wellness should be for everyone—and Sinikiwe Dhliwayo is committed to making that a reality. The art director founded her company, Naaya, in 2018 in order to make yoga and meditation more inclusive of and equitable for people of color through workshops, classes, and training (like a 200-hour yoga teacher certification program created specifically for people identifying as BIPOC, priced at a lower rate than similar programs).
“Building Naaya has been about having these difficult conversations and discussing why Black and Brown people don’t have the same access to wellness as white people do,” she says. “A lot of people don’t have the resources to get therapy or find ways to move through trauma, and they’re still expected to show up every day.”
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Naaya has hosted digital salon discussions on medical racism and the relationship between technology and well-being, in addition to guided meditations on Instagram. Later this summer it will offer digital programming by teachers of color who are underrepresented in the wellness landscape. The company is also working on a new initiative called the Check-In, launching in September, which will support BIPOC high school students with free access to yoga, meditation, and therapy.
As Dhliwayo continues sheltering in place in her Brooklyn studio, she’s also carving out a few hours in the evening for herself, whether that means spending some extra time on her skin care or rewatching an old movie she loved as a kid. Here, she shares her full nighttime self-care strategy.
Tech disconnect: It’s been tricky in quarantine, but since all of this started, I’ve been very adamant about putting my phone down at 10 p.m.—I turn off notifications, which is helpful.
Shake it out: My yoga practice varies, but right now I have shifted away from doing a physical asana practice and am focusing more on meditation as a tenet of yoga. But when I want to get into my body, I just put on music and move—that fulfills a similar thing as a yoga practice would for me. It’s a nice moment to not be staring at my computer.
Skin saviors: I really like Noto Botanicals, and Hyper Clear—it’s a vitamin-C serum from a Black women–owned company. I also got a NuFace during quarantine—I’ve always loved skin care and beauty, and I found it while going down a rabbit hole. You’re technically supposed to use it every night, but I only do it a couple times a week—it essentially emits small electrical currents into your face. You have to be very vigilant to see results, but I’ve noticed a difference—it helps with cheekbone definition.
Grab a mug: Sometimes I drink chai or another decaffeinated tea before bed.
Health heroes: I have two herbal tinctures for boosting immunity—they have a dropper top, and I just put some right on my tongue when I feel a cold coming on. I’m not so great with rules, but you can also take them every so often for maintenance.
Stream team: I rewatched One Tree Hill for the third time and it still holds up. I also decided to rewatch Grey’s Anatomy from the beginning. It’s a no-brainer—I already know what’s going to happen in each episode, so I don’t have to pay that much attention to it. Sometimes I’ll have it on as I’m working on graphics or something else for Naaya. As far as new shows go, I love Insecure; it’s such a bummer the current season just ended. It depicts the Black experience in a very joyful way, which I appreciate. I’ve also been watching old movies, like Crazy/Beautiful, Never Been Kissed, and Center Stage—it’s all pretty wholesome for the most part.
New flame: I don’t light a ton of candles, but I just got the Bel taper from 3rd Ritual, which has been great for meditation.
Sleep standards: I care less about the number of pillows I have and more about how they feel—I prefer a pillow that’s not too firm. My sheets are from Brooklinen and my pajamas are nothing fancy—just an old T-shirt.
Volume down: I don’t tend to listen to podcasts or music late in the evening—the podcasts I favor are ones that make you think, so they can be distracting before I try to sleep, and my favorite songs are on the energizing side. I do have a noise-canceling machine that I like to use at night.
Mindful moment: Before bed, I do yoga nidra, which is a body-scan practice that helps you relax so you can sleep deeply.
Lights out between 11 p.m. and midnight.