Mental health wasn’t talked about in the home Amy Perez grew up in. During her undergraduate studies at Temple University, the education major from Philadelphia was going through a lot of personal challenges including family issues. It was during this time that she took a course on yoga and found that it helped her cope with the emotions she was struggling with.
Years after undergrad, Amy suffered a personal loss where the grieving process wasn’t playing out for her. A friend recommended to come to her yoga studio- a recommendation that would put Amy on a path to clarity not only fo herself, but for her community.
“I go and the first day I’m there and my body is moving in these poses, I was like, ‘what is stirring up inside of me?,” she remembered.
While Amy got much of her physical training from MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, yoga was training for her body and mind. The studio manager asked her to participate in a seven month training to become a teacher to which Amy agreed.
That’s when Amy’s career as a yoga instructor blasted off.
She started teaching yoga to athletes in recovery and joined Grace & Glory Yoga, but she was still searching for more. Many yoga studios can be cost prohibitive for Latinos. Amy found Roots2Rise, a nonprofit that offers yoga free to the community.
As an educator for over 15 years in Philadelphia’s public school system, she was always drawn to working with the kids that were facing difficult circumstances like being teen moms or those behind on their education.
Partnering with Roots2Rise was important for Amy because studio fees are cost prohibitive for struggling Latino families.
“When it comes to going to counseling, therapy, all that mental health stuff, there’s a stigma around it,” Perez said.
Amy is using yoga to change that mindset by emphasizing the emotional and mental aspects during class. Over the years she has helped countless people through her yoga and public education efforts. She is now asking for the community’s help.
Baron Baptiste, the son of America’s yoga pioneers, offers a world renowned Level 1 Training Program. Amy, a single mother, launched a GoFundMe campaign in the beginning of May to help with tuition for the class. The training will allow her to bring these methods and techniques to underserved communities.
“This is something that I’ve been wanting for the last two years. It’s my calling. I want to bring back so much knowledge, bring back this work to share with all the communities I work with” said Amy in a YouTube video to her sponsors.
Post summarized from an article in El Dia. Read the full article here.