Indigo 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 the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. At first, the space was an empty field covered with rubbish without much vegetation.
One morning while she was meditating on her porch, she said, “I saw this 10-year-old boy with a huge line of older people, like, down the alley. I was like, ‘What’s going on? What’s going on?’ And then I realized he was selling drugs to all these grown people. I was like, ‘Whoa!’”
Over the past 8 years, with help from other volunteers in the yoga community and funds from classes taught at Montrose Beach, she transformed the empty lot into a lush garden with a deck for yoga practice. Monae, who leads many of the yoga classes, often speaks of the importance of a “sense of self,” something she teaches through meditation.
“It’s very meaningful, because if you don’t have a sense of self, how are you going to love yourself? You know, if you don’t know who are you, how do you know how to love yourself?” she said.