Lose weight, flatten that belly, diet, and sculpt your arms a la Michelle Obama.
Such are the typical, yet commendable fitness and wellness goals mapped out by countless women at the top of any New Year. But what about a plan for women to get fit while coming into full ownership of their femininity and sexuality? Maat Petrova, Founder of the Fem Magic Movement, is on a mission to help women do both.
Petrova, who earned a Masters Degree in Mental Health Therapy, started FeMMM, after years of working towards healing her mind, body, and spirit. For her online fitness classes such as Sensual Yogic Flow, The Yoni Twerk, and Island Waistline Whine, Maat demonstrates how to raise your feminine vibrations through sensual movement like Caribbean style whining, kegeling while twerking, and body touching. Affirmations are also an important part of her group classes and private sessions with clients looking to overcome mental and emotional issues.
"So I'll have people say things like, 'I'll manifest my greatest self and attain my dreams' while doing squats," she explains.
Much of her mission to help women began during her time in graduate school after she developed a service called Beaut Camp, a 12 week online holistic program that incorporates healing through the the chakra system. She initially created it to assist women who've experienced child sexual abuse. It has since evolved to include women with diverse spiritual goals.
Though the Brooklyn bred Trinidadian has been teaching fitness for years sexuality wasn't always a part of her lesson plan. Initially she feared she would come off as unprofessional if she incorporated sex, but as time went on, she couldn't shake the fact that she was omitting a large part of who she is.
"Once I started to share that aspect of myself, my sexual self, that's when all the followers started to come," says the 38-year-old mother of three. She quickly saw her Instagram following grow to over 30,000 in just under one year.
"It's not about sex sells it's more so about the fact that here's this woman, she's a mother of 3, she lives a healthy lifestyle, she shares motivational words, and she embraces her sexuality," she added.
Embracing sexuality isn't just about exercise and the act of sex for Petrova. It's been an important part of her personal therapy and self-healing from her past.
"I grew up in an abusive household and experienced sexual abuse secondhand first, so that of course affected my psyche and my decision making as a young adult or adolescent," she said. "And then also experiencing my own sexual abusive situations added on to my own psychosis. That definitely took a toll on my self-esteem."
Petrova credits her stepfather for kickstarting her transformation after introducing her to teachings on black consciousness during her late teens. He also changed her name from Petrova, which was originally her first name, to Maat, the name of an ancient Egyptian Goddess, which means truth, justice, balance, and morality. By the time she was 17-years-old she took matters into her own hands and made diet a part of her transformation, going from eating every sort of meat, including fast food, to becoming vegan in a matter of weeks.
"Along with the diet change, that also affected my consciousness. It just gave me more clarity, it rose my vibrations, and allowed me to be a better person. It developed me mentally, physically, and spiritually."
But it left her body without the feminine curves she desired, so she began working out with a trainer who showed her how to build muscle mass on her lean frame. She eventually began taking belly dancing and African Dance classes, which she now incorporates in her online fitness lessons.
Overall, she says it was her mother who helped her become the woman she is today.
"Starting the vegan lifestyle when I was 17 and seeing my mother allow stress to kind of take over her body, I learned from that. I learned from her mistakes and I learned from her greatness,' she said. "I learned how to let things go, I learned how to not let things fester inside of me, and I learned how to just go through it. Because if you go through it, yes it's going to hurt like hell, but it won't last as long as it will if you continue to avoid it."
Have you been struggling with getting comfortable with your femininity? Maat Petrova shares her advice on simple ways to get in touch with your sexuality."
"Our sexuality is who we are. Our sex is woman. Our sexual organs which are our ovaries, uterus, and vagina make us female. Being female and being in tune with those aspects of ourselves will allow us to then become more comfortable in who we are as women, not just as a person, but as women. We should be in tune with all aspects of being a woman. Being in tune with being a woman is you being in tune with your sexuality. It's a really basic thing. It's kind of like you denying yourself your own humanity in not being in tune with your sexuality."
How to get in touch with your sensual side
1- Turn on some music and go in front of the mirror and move with yourself. Do some mirror therapy. Move with yourself, look at yourself, feel on yourself; do things that you think you're not supposed to be doing. You have a body, why is it bad for you to touch your own body? You have hips, why is it bad for you to move your own hips? Do these things that you thought were taboo, that you thought were perverse because that's what western society tells us when it really isn't. They are telling us to deny who we are. We are woman, we have body, we have hips, butt, breasts, we have uteruses, we have vaginas. All of this, they all have a purpose.
2- Incorporate affirmations. Tell yourself you're beautiful, tell yourself you're sexy, tell yourself you have everything inside of you to be the best woman and attract the best things to you in this world. Tell yourself amazing things. Compliment yourself throughout the day because that's the reason women are unable to compliment other women because they don't compliment themselves enough. They are busy critiquing themselves because they are trying to fit into these molds that society pushes forward through media. They're busy comparing themselves to these photo shopped images that the media puts out there. Love yourself through words, love yourself through your eyes.
3- Do things for yourself that you would want another person to do for you. Buy yourself flowers. Throw flower petal trails toward your flower petal bath. Do things for yourself that you want others to do for you.
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