Free Yoga in Englewood Aims to Ease Stress of Residents, Police

By Wendell Hutson on June 19, 2014 5:22am | Updated on June 19, 2014 8:26am

ENGLEWOOD — Tameka Lawson thinks Englewood residents and workers — from high school students to police officers — could use more yoga.

"Yoga relaxes your body and mind," said Lawson, the executive director of the nonprofit I Grow Chicago.

Her nonprofit has been sponsoring free yoga classes around the neighborhood, and hopes to expand.

There will be a yoga class for police officers at 3 p.m. June 26 at the Englewood Police District Station, 1438 W. 63rd St. She hopes to hold classes for police on a weekly basis in the future.

"We want to help our police officers," Lawson said. "Yoga is a stress reliever and police officers are under a lot of stress."

The group previously offered free classes for seniors at the police station in April.

Since February, the Kusanya Cafe, 825 W. 69th St., has hosted I Grow Chicago-taught yoga classes at the cafe from 7:30-8:15 p.m. on the first Monday of every month.

Phil Sipka, executive director of the nonprofit cafe, said he really encouraged local residents to take part. He said attendance had ranged between 15 and 50 people and had included both women and men — including himself.

"Everything we do here is something the community needs. So when I Grow Chicago approached us to host these classes I saw it as an opportunity to provide a resource for the community," Sipka said.

During the school year, I Grow Chicago offers yoga and meditation classes to students at Earle STEM Elementary, 2040 W. 62nd St., and at the Montessori School of Englewood, 6550 S. Seeley Ave.

"People wonder why some kids cannot sit still at school and it could be because of trauma like violence they experienced," Lawson said. "Giving them an outlet to make to make them comfortable could be helpful to their behavior at school."

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