As I have practiced yoga over the years, off and on, I have noticed the lack of people of color and persons of certain economic background's accessibility to a yoga practice. For many within our communities, it is a practice that is out of reach and not in touch with the realities of what they are experiencing. Not only that, for many, they have expressed that they see no benefit in having a yoga practice because they have to go back to the hell of a life.
As a woman of color, that comes from brokenness, experienced hardship and struggle, abuse and self-degradation, I understand the need for peace in one's life. The book, "Living Buddha, Living Christ" by Thich Nhat Hanh has been an inspiration for creating a balance in my practice on the mat and off the mat. I strongly believe that bringing Yoga For A Good Hood into the city of Rochester will begin to address the issues of brokenness, hardship, struggle, abuse and self-degradation and people will find peace within instead of always seeking something outside of themselves.
You see, my AHA! moment was that between my journey of entering into yoga teacher certification, facing the stereotypes that I don't look like the average yogi, bringing yoga training to young people and not so young people of color I realized that I want peace not just for me because Yoga is bigger than just me...
I believe this project will help bring; Peace of mind for all; Peace of heart for all; Peace of community. And in turn, we all can say with confidence - Blessed are the peace-makers and be called children of God. Whatever that looks like or defined as - for us individually in our communities.
- Imani Olear