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My Brothers Heal Centers Yoga and Black Men

(Via My Brothers Heal)

Minneapolis yoga teacher Chance York is holding monthly sessions for Black men to practice yoga in a safe, communal space. York says the class – called ‘My Brothers Heal’ – is an opportunity for Black men to be the center of focused, positive attention.

“The pressures of being a Black man in America come from all directions,” writes York on the class home page. “Though yoga is an excellent practice of self-care, stress reduction, and mental health for everyone, there are few spaces where Black men can practice among their peers. This class is a celebration of being Black, powerful, and healthy.”

York got his yoga certification six years ago before starting his teaching journey. Formerly a musician, York says as he got older he found the environment destructive.

“My life as a musician led to some poor decisions. My mental health was dwindling. I’d never gone that long of a period without joy before.”

York’s experience isn’t uncommon. According to Resurgence Behavioral Health, the long hours and financial instability associated with the music industry often have a negative impact on mental health.

York started practicing yoga as a way to prioritize his well-being. But he noticed he was often the only Black man in the room.

“I recognized men, especially Black men, were less likely to be seen in a yoga offering. It’s mostly women. White women.”

York decided he wanted to help other Black men on their journey to better health, and “My Brothers Heal” was born.

He says he was partly inspired by the Instagram account of the non-profit Black Boys Om. After partaking in and winning Black Boys Om’s virtual challenge called “My Brothers Heal.”

“It felt like I’d joined this virtual community of Black men practicing yoga,” said York. “And so when I created this offering for Black men, I named it after that.”

York says participants can expect a space that fosters vulnerability, centers healing, and prioritizes community. The next offering takes place on April 29 at 1pm at One Yoga in Minneapolis. Mats and accessories are provided and no experience is necessary to participate.

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