About Mandela Yoga Project
Our mission is to scale the delivery of a new system of free yoga that is designed to address stress, racial trauma, and chronic health conditions in public health crisis communities and is offered by residents themselves who are well-trained and well-compensated Mandela Yoga Peer Facilitators. We believe that access to yoga - a proven therapeutic modality - is an issue of social justice.
The Mandela Yoga model is peer-led, neighborhood-based, trauma-responsive, and accessible to all bodies, even those with limited mobility. The 45-minute, standardized Sonya's Sequence includes breathing and postures proven in clinical settings to affect blood glucose and blood pressure positively and is specifically designed to be practiced without props or special clothing.
We work to disrupt the mercantile model of yoga and yoga teacher training that centers white practitioners and teachers in and from predominantly well-resourced communities. Instead, Mandela Yoga Project, Inc. equips people of color with chronic health conditions who live in low-income communities with the tools to become greater agents of their own self-healing and facilitators of self-healing by their neighbors.
What We Do
Named for Nelson Mandela who transcended circumstance
and championed racial reconciliation
We envision a world where those affected by the American public
health crisis of racism are empowered to heal their own communities
with the proven integrative health benefits and emotional wellbeing
of yoga that is offered - without regard to income - where they
live, work, worship, and play.
SAN QUENTIN VIDEOS
Mt. Tamalpais College and MYP began to collaborate to create Mandela Yoga Studio at San Quentin Prison — a virtual studio in the form of a library of high quality yoga videos featuring BIPOC yoga teachers and practices that speak to the specific needs and conditions..
Mandela Yoga Project, Inc. is a black-led, early stage 501(c)(3) nonprofit start-up founded by yoga teacher Jeffrey Thomas, who lost fifty pounds and gained control of his diabetes with the help of yoga -- while his sister died from complications of the disease.
Our fight to make the self-healing potential of yoga accessible is made possible, in part, by the support of 337 contributors to the various giving campaigns since the first GoFundMe in 2018.
MYP's founding institutional supporters included: The Foundation for a Mindful Society (publishers of Mindful Magazine), Yoga Alliance Foundation, The Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation, Steve Phillips & Susan Sandler, and Kat Taylor.
An independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit since 2020, MYP's current fiscal advisor is Root Cause, a national nonprofit consulting firm that strives to eliminate disparities based on race, class, gender, and geography by partnering to design, implement, and measure strategies that enable more people to achieve lifelong success.
As we propel toward sustainability with more fee-for-service engagements with federally-qualified health clinics, we are proud of and grateful to have the support of The Boston Foundation, the New Commonwealth Racial Equity & Social Justice Fund, the Reliant Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc. and other institutions.