Yoga, with its focus on relaxation, mindfulness, and wellbeing, is often a force for positive change. Harlem yoga studio owner Lara Land is harnessing that positivity by helping underserved groups take advantage of these benefits with a new nonprofit called Three and a Half Acres Yoga.
How Yoga Can Help
Land has run Land Yoga Studio for almost four years. Now, she’s taking her yoga practice a little farther. The nonprofit will use yoga to “empower communities by bringing the physical and philosophical facets of the Ashtanga yoga tradition to nurture, heal, and activate residents.”
Land tells the New York Daily News that members of the LGBTQ community and people with HIV and AIDS are often “in high-stress situations on a daily basis because of who they are. They represent a vulnerable component of our community.”
Three and a Half Acres Yoga aims to use yoga to reduce that stress, improve critical life-coping skills, build confidence and determination, and create a space for reflection and understanding.
According to their website, the nonprofit has plans to partner with other groups to demonstrate how yoga’s poses and philosophy can help improve wellness, in addition to counteracting the “consequences of negative habits.”
This year, Three and a Half Acres will partner with the Ali Forney Center, which supports homeless LGBTQ youth, and Harlem United, which provides free access to HIV/AIDS care. Three and a Half Acres will provide weekly yoga classes in partnership with these organizations, and has plans to partner with other groups in the future.
Three and a Half Acres is hoping to provide people with the tools to remain calm during crises, leading to a more peaceful life; it also has the goal of creating more compassionate communication among local communities.
By alleviating the stress of those in high-risk situations and creating a more accepting environment, Three and a Half Acres is, as the organization says on its site, making the power of yoga available to everyone.
Image credit: Brian G. Murphy / Harlem United via NY Daily News