Decolonizing the Body: Healing, Body-Centered Practices for Women of Color to Reclaim Confidence, Dignity, and Self-Worth

Regular price $ 19.95

by Kelsey Blackwell

New Harbinger Publications

3/1/2023, paperback

SKU: 9781648480614


Powerful, body-based practices to help you reclaim confidence, dignity, and self-worth.

As a woman of color, you are more likely to experience oppression, discrimination, and physical or sexual violence in your lifetime. In addition, your family may have experienced generational trauma and systemic racism going back for centuries. This old and new trauma can manifest in both the mind and body. However, there are ways you can free yourself from this trauma, build confidence in yourself and your abilities, and restore your powerful sense of self.

Written by a woman of color for women of color, Decolonizing the Body offers proven-effective somatic, body-centered practices to help you heal from systemic oppression, trust the profound wisdom of your own body, and reconnect with your true self. And by slowing down, cultivating a daily ritual, and setting strong boundaries, you can reclaim your inherent dignity and worth--as well as those aspects of yourself that you may have cast aside in an effort to survive.

With this empowering guide, you'll discover:

  • How bodies are colonized through systems of oppression
  • Why slowing down is essential for healing
  • How to listen to what your body needs
  • How to create a space for ritual in your daily life
  • How to strengthen feelings of capability
  • How to cultivate community--starting with yourself

To decolonize the body is to become whole again, and to come home again. Let this book be your guide on this crucial journey.

Foreword by Christena Cleveland, PhD.


"This book is filled with so many moments of wisdom and joy. It is a gentle beckoning to one's sensing, one's feeling, one's freedom. Naming the lies of internalized colonization and the truths of interdependence, unconditional dignity, and more, Kelsey weaves an invitation. Importantly, this book is written by and for women of color. And those of us who are white have so much to gain from reading it, too." -- Staci K. Haines, author of The Politics of Trauma, and cofounder of generative somatics and generationFIVE

"If Decolonizing the Body strives toward understanding the complexities of individualism and interdependence, I believe there is an independence that comes with humanity. In indigenous belief systems, community brings harmony. So, our gifts come with a deeper understanding of ourselves as individuals, divinely endowed, calling us to interwoven harmony and interdependence with all living organisms birthed on Mother Earth." -- Therese Taylor-Stinson, author of Walking the Way of Harriet Tubman

"In Decolonizing the Body, Kelsey provides a deeply needed antidote, balm, and guide to BIPOC women seeking an embodied path away from the imprints of dominance and internalized forces of oppression. Her very words--clear, planted, compassionate, and wise--serve as an ancestral gift, a lantern that rekindles our own within, helping to reset our nervous systems and restore us to our birthrights. This book is a sacred text."
-- Colleen (Coke) Tani, MSW, MFA, MDiv, spiritual director, writer, dancer, certified InterPlay leader, and teaching mentor

About the Contributors:

Kelsey Blackwell is a cultural somatics practitioner and writer dedicated to supporting women of color to trust and follow the guidance of the body so we may powerfully radiate our worth, dignity, and wisdom in a world which sorely needs this brilliance. As a facilitator, coach, and guest speaker, she has brought abolitionist-embodied practices to such diverse groups as riders on Bay Area Rapid Transit trains to students at Stanford University. She works one-on-one with clients, as well as leads the eight-week group program, Decolonizing the Body. Kelsey is author of the viral article, Why People of Color Need Spaces Without White People, published by The Arrow Journal. She is certified InterPlay Leader, Strozzi Somatic Coach, and holds a master's degree in publishing from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. In addition to being impactful, Kelsey believes working toward personal and collective liberation must also bring joy. She lives in San Francisco, CA.

Christena Cleveland, PhD, is a social psychologist, public theologian, and activist. She is author of God Is a Black Woman, and founder of the Center for Justice + Renewal, which helps justice advocates sharpen their understanding of the social realities that maintain injustice while also stimulating the soul's enormous capacity to resist and transform those realities.