ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A Rochester pastor teaches pay-what-you-can yoga classes to try and improve her neighborhood.
At ‘Yoga 4 A Good Hood,’ it’s all about the breath.
“The ‘hood’ teaches how to catch your breath. How to pause, and how to take what you learn on the mat off the mat,” founder Imani Olear said.
Olear teaches the pay-what-you-can yoga classes out of the Reformation Lutheran Church near downtown Rochester. These days it’s virtual, but the mission remains the same.
“It is a place where we can change community, as we say, one downward dog at a time.” Olear said.
She not only uses the donations to ensure her other teachers can make a living wage, but to also support her students in need, be that with groceries or a bus pass.
“Food is essential. And if the basic needs of a person aren’t met, I don’t care what you do with a yoga pose,” Olear said. “If those needs aren’t met, no one wants to do a downward dog.”
And it’s not just a yoga sanctuary, but her sanctuary too. She’s a pastor at the very same church.
“When you have all the pent up emotions, like things that are happening within our communities, when you have all that stuff going on, you need a place to be able to have refuge,” Olear said.
Learning to breathe, and supporting one another, Olear says that’s the foundation of how yoga makes for a good hood.
“When we’re good, and our neighbor is good, then the community is good. That’s the good hood,” Olear said. “And there’s good already there. If we just open our eyes and turn and look at it.”
Those interested in classes can visit www.yoga4agoodhood.org.