Overcoming a life-threatening addiction is the hardest thing some people will ever do. And recovery can be even tougher.
For Ebony Smith, an alcoholic who also abused prescription drugs, it once seemed as if she could never get her life back on track. But when she was pregnant with her first daughter, she found her salvation through yoga.
The mom from Dallas, Texas, first got into the practice when her doula recommended yoga for her pregnancy. She quickly found she loved it and went on to make a beautiful revelation. “I have the power to heal from these wounds. I am more than what surrounds me,” she remembered thinking.
The only problem was that classes were expensive. Ebony had to clean the studios to pay for class, and even then, something was off. She didn’t feel welcome, and remembers noticing that no one in the studio looked like her. Still, she couldn’t deny the discipline’s incredible impact on her mindset. So, she figured, “if yoga can help me heal, then this is what the hood needs.”
That’s how Ebony’s non-profit organization, Yoga N Da Hood, came to be. Their mission is to make “wellness accessible to everyone,” especially to members of under-served communities. It’s a mobile program, meaning volunteers travel to different neighborhoods and give free classes in yoga and mindfulness.
Ebony brings her own unique style to the classes she teaches, throwing in hip hop beats while also focusing on healing the impact of trauma. She has brought her program to a number of schools as well, which has led to an increase in academic engagement and fewer classroom disruptions.
Currently, Ebony hopes to open a center in Dallas, train more teachers in the trauma-informed approach, and eventually expand to other cities. In the meantime, she’ll continue cultivating physical, mental, and spiritual awareness in herself and everyone she serves.
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