NEW YORK - In these troubled times, many of us could use a break to take a good deep breath and check into our mental and physical state. One family hopes to guide you to a space of spiritual refreshment.
Each week, Cojuan Cabassa brings a bright smile to meditation and mindfulness classes at Harlem Yoga Studio and Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She encourages her neighbors to tap into a state of self-awareness.
"When we get in that practice of meditation and we're meditating, we're able to now be mindful in our day-to-day," Cabassa explained to a class of middle and high school students.
Cabassa did not always feel like a beacon of hope. When her father died suddenly from a blood clot ten years ago, she struggled to find support. Then she found the Three Jewels nonprofit yoga studio. There, she saw a glimmer of light during a meditation training program.
"As hard as that death was for me, it was able to eye-open me to just life," Cabassa said.
She found the strength to support herself, as well as her two daughters.
"The grief is still there," admitted Cabassa. "The reality is still there, but for that moment, I felt peace. I felt like, OK, my inner world is what I can control, and the peace that I'm seeking is really inside of me."
Her 13-year-old daughter, Nyla, now helps raise money for Three Jewels by selling her homemade vegan doughnuts. She also hosts her own guided meditations online, teaching her peers how to breathe through their emotions.
"It might seem simple," said Nyla. "It really is simple, but it really does help you."
Cabassa's 7-year-old daughter, who never met her grandfather, is keeping his memory alive with a strong sense of self, too.
"I always give them little things from him," Cabassa said. "Like, Poppa always said this and now they repeat that. But like speaking our truth, my dad was the same person no matter where he was. And that to me, I love that the most."
It is a quality we can all strive to achieve.
To learn more about the Three Jewels nonprofit and their work to spread meditation and yoga to underserved communities, click here.
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