MINNEAPOLIS — A north Minneapolis business is helping break down barriers when it comes to access to resources and classes around holistic wellness.
Years ago, Sierra Carter found herself longing to be a part of a community of like-minded individuals, all striving to be better mentally, physically and spiritually.
"I went to a lot of yoga studios when I moved back to Minneapolis and I was either the only Black girl there or I was more plus size and I wasn't super skinny in like these designer like yoga leggings. So I just didn't feel accepted or welcomed and people always kinda looked at me weird," Carter recalled.
Carter set out to create a space that felt more inclusive to her and in 2018 she founded The Zen Bin.
The Zen Bin is located inside the Northside Healing Space in Minneapolis. The building is owned by Liberty Community Church and The Zen Bin is one of their programming partners focused on creating safe spaces.
"The Zen Bin is a soulful, holistic, wellness collective and a self-care sanctuary. So we create space for people to authentically be themselves and also understand why they are the way they are," Carter explained.
The Zen Bin offers donation-based classes, as well as affordable workshops. They cover everything from acupuncture to yoga, cooking classes and trauma healing circles.
"If you can't pay for it, you totally can come. We're never turning anyone away," Carter said.
Carter is passionate about making wellness accessible to people from all different walks of life.
"I did grow up a little bit more on the privileged side where I was able to do certain things. But a lot of my classmates... because I did go to like a school in the inner cities, they didn't have those same things made available to them," Carter said. "Being here and being part of Northside, I own a home in north Minneapolis... I think it's important to create those same opportunities because you can't really put a price on healing trauma, or healing your body from diseases or things that can be reversed."
Carter's goal is to expand The Zen Bin to other wellness deserts across America.
"Last year with the uprising of George Floyd, we put all the money together and created a space outside of here actually where we fed 750 plant-based meals and provided programming outside all day," Carter said.
It inspired The Zen Bin, in partnership with ÑYUM Plant Kitchen, to want to open a plant-based cafe and herbal shop in north Minneapolis. Carter said they plan on opening "Heal MPLS" this winter inside the McKinley Community Neighborhood Association Building. The will at first focus on affordable, plant-based food to-go.
Heal MPLS is currently taking pop-up orders for pickup or delivery. You can pre-order at tinyurl.com/healmpls.
Money raised will help with new flooring at the restaurant.
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