Indigo Monae leads a yoga class at the Yoga Gardens space Monday, July 2, 2018, in the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. Monae is yoga teacher who saw a need for a safe and peaceful community space while she was living in a building next to an empty lot in Lawndale. Over the past 8 years, with help from other volunteers in the yoga community and funds from classes taught at Montrose Beach, Monae transformed the empty lot into a lush garden with a deck for yoga practice, drawing in young and old from the neighborhood. While living in Lawndale, she found access to healthy food options troublesome, and after witnessing young people involved in violence and drug dealing outside their home, she and her friends decided, “First of all, we need food, we need to teach them yoga, we need something to make them feel at peace,” she said. “So that’s how it began, just some yogis wanting to share some love.”

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