The Healing Chicago helps Black and brown men with mental wellness through yoga, fellowship

Thursday, August 11, 2022
Black and brown men find mental wellness through yoga, fellowship
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The Healing Chicago offers Black and brown men the opportunity to stretch their bodies and expand their minds through yoga and meditation.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- At The Healing Chicago, men come to stretch their bodies and expand their minds through yoga.

"We kind of joke about it at the beginning. We were doing some yoga movements that made us uncomfortable for a number of different reasons, but you learn to sort of be vulnerable with that," said member Quincy Jones.

The Healing was founded in 2020, a year that saw the onset of a global pandemic, the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and the death of Kobe Bryant. The founders saw a need for a space for Black and brown men to decompress.

"There's a big stigma in the Black and brown community around mental health, being vulnerable, being transparent. And we've decided to come together and de-stigmatize what mental health really meant," co-founder Andrew Smith said.

They come together not only for yoga, but also for meditation and fellowship.

I needed to find community and I was actively searching for it. So this was something that I truly gravitated towards," said member Larry Gordon.

Mental health experts say some Black men are reluctant to seek therapy. And for those who do, they struggle to find therapists who they can relate to.

"When you do access mental health, you want to feel like you're talking to someone who can understand where you're coming from, your life experiences," said Jaleel Abdul-Adil, an associate professor of clinical psychology at University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Healing isn't a replacement for therapy, but for some men it is their first step toward mental wellness.

"The Healing is here to provide that safe space, so we can be our best selves," said board member Mac Lofton.

They're allowing men to share their dreams, passions, regrets, insecurities and much more without fear of judgment.

"Vulnerability is one of these things that really transfers from one person to another. And it just takes one person to kind of get that ball rolling," Smith said.

The non-profit is putting on a path of healing not only for themselves, but also for their families and their communities.