March Student of the Month – Diego Herrena-Quinones

What do you feel is your work in this world?

In my current phase of getting out and doing things in the world I am engaged in directly combating climate change while helping others who are struggling to just get a meal. I do this by redirecting some of the excess food produced within our city away from landfills and into community kitchens that feed people of little to no income. For the last 6 years I have made a living as a bicycle courier, bringing companies and people the things they need – documents, textiles, and food. In the last year I began wondering, how can I devote some of my time and energy as a courier to help people, instead of just bringing the very well to do what their hearts desire? Thats when I discovered Transfernation and introduced them to the bicycle courier world that I operate in. Together, we are rescuing food that would otherwise end up in landfills (where it creates more heat trapping methane gas) and transporting it to organizations whose missions are to serve meals to people who struggle the most.

What is currently inspiring you ON the mat?

Riding a cargo bike some times 10-12 hours a day is no joke. Thats 30-50 miles of riding a day, several days a week in all types of conditions from polar vortexes, snow storms, rain showers, and heat waves – all while avoiding cabs, buses, vans, trucks and pedestrians. My body exerts a lot of energy and endures a lot of physical and psychological stress. When i DONT hit the mat, i  shrink into a ball of tight, painful knots – especially in my back. Ive learned to live with a moderate level of pain and discomfort on an ongoing basis, but when i show up on the mat, it begins to loosen and release. Working hard for me has to include self care, and showing up on the mat – even if im tired – is one of the most important things i can do for myself.

What is currently inspiring you OFF the mat?

Im excited about a fresh, new generation of people who want to transform the world after waking up to this dystopian reality we’ve been coasting through. From the #metoo movement outing all the powerful sleazy men across industries and forcing us to have difficult conversations around sex, courting and consent, to the most recent terrible tragedy in Florida that seems to have ignited a new kind of conversation around the chronic gun violence that seems to happen way too often with no serious solution ever having been implemented. For me personally, Men’s work is important. Men need a LOT of work, and we have to support each-other in our development if we want to rise up above the demons and shadows that cause us to be dangerous, toxic and deadly to the people and planet around us. There are great men making a difference, we need to elevate what we are doing now more than ever. Id encourage everyone to look into the ManKind Project and sign up for a weekend retreat.

Anything else you want to share with the HYS community?

Go see Black Panther. Black excellence and beauty of that magnitude should be celebrated, and I hope we can expect more doors for people of color to open so that we can transcend the flat, stale, offensive and damaging type-casted roles that dominate the entertainment industry.

Learn more about Diego and the incredible work he does here! 

Have an HYS Yoga-buddy who inspires you either on or off the mat?? Nominate them to be our next Student of the month by emailing info@harlemyogastudio.com (and be sure to put Student of the Month in the subject) !!