Buffalo’s youngest African American yogis help extend yoga’s reach

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Eric Heard found a passion for yoga when he was only 7-years-old.

“It was easier for me to focus and pay attention and it helped a lot with school,” Heard said.

For years he took classes in The Queen City, building self-regulation along with strength and flexibility. He even started inviting his cousin and grandmother to join in the fun.

Eric in Africa earning his certification.

“It brought us closer together than what we used to be. Now we’re like three peas in a pod,” said Heard’s cousin Daijanae Price.

Now at 16, Eric is sharing his love for Yoga with the next generation of yogis. After receiving a scholarship from Yogis in Service and the Africa Yoga Project in 2018, he traveled to Nairobi with his family to become a certified yoga instructor.

“I wanted to teach kids who also needed the practice of yoga,” Heard said.

Eric and his cousin Daijanae are now the youngest certified African American yoga instructors in Western New York. Working with Yogi’s in Service, they teach free weekly classes on Buffalo’s East Side with their grandmother making good health a family affair.

Eric teaching a class at the Delavan and Grider Community Center with his cousin and grandmother

“We’re taking it out to the community to stop some of the stress and violence. Just breathe and think. That’s what we do in our family and in our community,” said Diane Rose, Heard’s grandmother.

Eric and Daijanae are speaking at the National Kids Yoga Conference in April. He says he hopes to inspire more kids his age to follow in his footsteps.

“Be better as a person be better in your health. Take more control and be a leader in your community, because that’s what I feel like I am .”

To learn more about Yogi’s in Service and where you can attend a free class, visit Yogis In Service. Org.

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