Help bring yoga FOR the people and BY the people TO the people
Structural racism in America is a public health crisis.
If what happened to Breonna Taylor and George Floyd weren’t sufficient to make that case, then the daily reports of the disparate rates of coronavirus vaccine distribution, infection, and death by people of color due to COVID-19 have made that case beyond a reasonable doubt.
One answer to this urgent public health crisis is Mandela Yoga Project, Inc. (MYP) - a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded by African American yoga teacher Jeffrey Thomas and named after Nelson Mandela who transcended circumstance and championed racial reconciliation.
In response to the deadly 2020 coronavirus outbreak, Mandela Yoga Project created an emergency public health intervention — yoga and breathing lessons — for our fellow humans to practice "Inside San Quentin Prison, (where) you sit and wait until COVID-19 comes for you."
Meanwhile, the nonprofit is building on the growing body of evidence that yoga helps manage chronic health conditions, especially those that disproportionately affect people of color. Working with Harvard Medical School research faculty Richa Gawande, Ph.D., MYP is designing a Participatory Action Research program that will offer evidence of the healing benefits of yoga when it is designed specifically for people of color and when it is offered in the communities where they live, work, worship, and play and when that newly-designed yoga is led by neighbors who train to be teachers. We call this MANDELA YOGA.
Jeffrey founded MYP in order to honor the memory of his late sister, a curvy black woman who died of complications of diabetes and who did not have access to the yoga that helps him manage his diabetes and high blood pressure. So now MYP is creating yoga BY the people, FOR the people, and taking it TO the people, to be LED BY the people.