NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A nonprofit is working to heal the Harlem community through positive energy and mind-body alignment.
As CBS2’s Jessi Mitchell reported Monday, at Harlem Brain, power starts within.READ MORE: Remembering Officer Rivera: Wake Held For 22-Year-Old Killed In Line Of Duty In Harlem
On Wednesday nights, you may spot a light beckoning to you in northwest Harlem.
“I saw Isabel, and she just smiled and I was there,” remembered Matthew Molina, who started attending classes seven months ago.
At West 131st Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, Isabel Pastor-Guzman shows students how to let go of tension and let in your potential. The class looks like a mixture of yoga, meditation and dance.
“The official name is ‘brain education,'” Pastor-Guzman explained, “like how we can tap into the potential of our brain and create what we really, really want for ourselves.”
Harlem Brain is a branch of the IBREA Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on mindfulness techniques. Students said just being aware of the practice of mindfulness can change everything.
Matthew Molina is a National Guard veteran who said the practice helped him treat his PTSD.
“They’ll teach you how to go to war, but they don’t teach you how to cope when you come back,” Molina said. “I went to therapy for a while and it didn’t really work. Did medicine, not quite. But I come here and it was like, this works.”
IBREA’s reach extends across the globe. After a session at the United Nations, El Salvador’s leaders were inspired to create a national school curriculum based on these teachings.READ MORE: NYC Mourning NYPD Officers Wilbert Mora, Jason Rivera After Deadly Ambush In Harlem
Harlem kids now find the program within reach, too. Pastor-Guzman partnered with vice principal Kierra Foster-Ba to bring the practice to A. Philip Randolph Campus High School five years ago, after they connected over a common belief.
“You choose to respond to that circumstance and getting people to recognize that they have a choice gives them so much power and it’s so liberating,” Foster-Ba said.
Foster-Ba used her position as head of her school’s Humanities Academy to add Harlem Brain’s teachings as an elective course.
“After second period, I’m relaxed the whole day, so I look forward to it,” attested student Kaidalyn Salce.
Salce has only been taking the class a few weeks, but she has already noticed a difference.
“For basketball games, I use it for stretching,” Salce said, “and for tutoring when I do it at home and homework, I do the brain tapping. I do the arm movements like slams, and I just meditate, like whew!”
Salce is teaching these tips to her friends, too. That is Pastor-Guzman’s goal, to spread positive energy throughout the community.
“You can choose,” Pastor-Guzman said, “even though your environment is like this, you decide whether you do things this way or that way, then the whole future looks different.”MORE NEWS: NYPD Officer Wilbert Mora Dies After Being Shot In Line Of Duty In Harlem: 'True Heroes Never Die'
She hopes more people connecting with their inner light will make that future bright.