Urban Yogis at TEDx

Urban Yogis: Rahem Lewis, Terrell Carter, Antone McMillan, Makesha Hill, Juquille Johnston

Urban Yogis: (L-R) Raheem Lewis, Tyrell Carter, Jaytaun McMillan, Makeesha Hill, Juquille Johnston

The Urban Yogis and I will be speaking at TEDx Lower East Side this Friday, October 25th. The theme is the Hero’s Journey. In Joseph Campbell’s telling of the Hero’s Journey, the hero follows 17 stages – but there are three that are most important: the departure, the initiation, and the return. I have spent the past year practicing yoga with the Urban Yogis, and have been amazed by their commitment and insights into their practice. This summer we ran a teacher’s training so that they can begin bringing the transformative practices of yoga and meditation to their community.

We began reaching out to their community by starting free weekly afternoon yoga classes over the summer,  at the Baisley Housing Development, in Jamaica, Queens. Baisley has currently been red-flagged as a violence danger zone, and is under curfew. No one is allowed outside after 9 pm. Heavy police presence has been enforced beginning at 8 pm each evening. Starting next week, the Urban Yogis will move the afternoon classes to the evening, teaching yoga and meditation before the curfew goes into effect, as their own Gandhian response.

In the hero’s return, the hero commits to transforming not only himself, but society, and perhaps, the world. At TEDx, we will be speaking not only about the Hero’s Return, but also about the need to break stereotypes in order to transform.

And the Urban Yogis are about to take the next step on the journey…