Porcia Lewis and the Wellness Center at Urban Asanas

Porcia Lewis and the Wellness Center at Urban Asanas

15 Porcia Lewis head of the Wellness Center.JPG

Porcia Lewis has roots in Crown Heights and it may be that after a period of trying out this and that, she has rediscovered those roots by becoming head of the Wellness Center at Urban Asanas. She grew up in a four-story building on Franklin Avenue where her grandparents lived. Her parents still live there and so does Porcia. She is part of a family with two brothers and two sisters, but she was born way after them, and she says she felt a bit like an only child. Her mother was a social worker and her father was someone who could fix virtually anything. Porcia's first move was to Hartford County in Maryland, and it was there she got her first dose of American racism. On the bus to high school, a girl was telling who was invited to her birthday party and who was not. She told Porcia she was not and the reason was because she was Black. Porcia made it through and went to Hartford Community College where she first took general courses but then headed into Theater. She picked that up back in Brooklyn, joining the Theater program at Medgar Evers College where she also taught children. After that came a long series of jobs up and down Franklin Avenue none of which lasted for long. Theater called again, and she impulsively went to L.A. with theater in mind but nothing solid waiting for her. She took acting classes and supported herself with more temporary jobs until she finally decided to leave as impulsively as she had come.

She ended up on Franklin Avenue again but two things happened that gave her life a more fixed direction. One was she had heard people complaining about Jyll of Urban Asanas. They said she was too loud, she swears, she knows what's best for you better than you do, she has a very big personality. Also Porcia saw Jyll in action. She would come to Franklin Park and push her way to the bar and let everyone know what she wanted to drink, and she would get it. If some people thought Jyll was too much, Porcia thought she was just what she was looking for – someone who knows what she wants and is not shy about getting it. The other thing was Porcia got a job with Bread and Butta, and Bread and Butta was being integrated into the Urban Asanas Wellness Center, and thus Porcia finally came to meet Jyll. It soon became clear the two spoke the same language. Jyll would say she needed something done, and Porcia would say that she could do it. And guess what? She could. Porcia says there was no fixed point when she was hired. She just kept doing things that needed doing and eventually she was running the Wellness Center, which is a mixture of different businesses and services which fit together with Jyll's vision of an expanded Yoga Center. It is up to Porcia to make the jigsaw fit together smoothly. If the pieces have not fit together easily, there is no sign of it. The first thing one notices is that the Wellness Center is made up of people who like and understand each other. Lindsey has Bread and Butta, Diana does massage, and Diana, Lindsey and Jyll do Reiki. In addition there is the Sauna, acupuncture, CBD products, Tarot Readings and even a book club.

Besides coordinating the different parts, Porcia is in charge of promoting the whole. She is putting together a social media campaign, and she has planned a set of events and reforms for the summer into the fall. She in planning an Urban Day of Wellness, she is figuring out how to implement a sliding scale to get everyone in who wants to be, and there is a Block Party coming in October. Porcia has only been at this for a little over a year, but she gives the impression of someone who has found her place.

She clearly enjoys the social interactions. She has an endless supply of energy, and she is very friendly and responsive. She is also someone who obviously knows how to get things done. If Porcia were still in the theater, one would say she is playing the part of herself and as she knows herself very well, she is playing the part very well. If one imagines Jyll as both the lead and the director of the play, she seems to understand that Porcia is perfect for the role. One foresees a company developing that can do a lot of different things, and if there are a lot of big personalities, so far they seem to be working together very harmoniously.

– John DeWind

UpdatesRobbie Klein