Over the last decade, yoga has enjoyed incredible success in the United States, especially in places like New York City where there are more yoga studios than Starbucks. Despite its popularity, however, the majority of these yoga studios are located in Manhattan, making access a major issue for many people. Dr. J. Robin Moon hopes to change this. As the senior director of system integration at Bronx Partners for Healthy Communities (BPHC), she is well aware of the impact that prevention policy and programs can have on population health. “Yoga is an expensive hobby with selection bias, and people get intimidated by what they see on Instagram,” she explains, “I want everyone to know that yoga is a philosophy that they can bring into their lives and help them understand its many benefits.”
Dr. Moon’s history with yoga began 10 years ago when she moved to Massachusetts to pursue her Doctor of Public Health at Harvard University. An avid athlete with a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a background in modern dance, she has always been interested in activities that offer strength training. She quickly found it at a yoga studio near her home. Dr. Moon has since studied with several well-known teachers such as Maty Ezraty, David Regelan, Ariel Karass, Nikki Costello, and Alex Auder. She has also completed the 200-hour teacher training at Kula Yoga Project in Manhattan and currently teaches classes at both Kula and Unity Yoga.
With the support of the Health and Wellness Committee and BPHC, she is now able to bring yoga classes to SBH employees. While she has practiced yoga of many traditions, she chose Vinyasa as the one to teach at SBH. “Vinyasa helps you flow through breathing. The majority of the population does shallow breathing. Yoga has you practicing deep breathing,” she explains.
Dr. Moon’s class is also serving as a model employee wellness program as a part of the Innovation Fund Program which encourages BPHC member organizations to take on new interventions not required by the State’s DSRIP implementation plans and milestones, but addressing gaps in care. “Yoga is moving meditation and brings you a mind-body connection,” says Dr. Moon. “Moving ahead, I hope to bring more yoga uptown, including bringing a studio to the new Bronx Center for Healthy Communities.”