On a busy, graffiti-ridden boulevard–not far from the streets that witnessed the Rodney King riots–stands the only yoga studio in South Los Angeles.  Since 2013, the donation-based Green Tree Yoga Meditation center has served a community with a poverty level of over 40%, nearly twice thatof the average L.A. community.

The modest, welcoming space acts as a haven for women suffering from a host of issues, be it unemployment, abuse, or the stress of eviction. For those who cannot access or afford therapy, it’s a crucial self-preservation tool.

“There’s a lot of trauma here,” says Jennifer Alvarez, Green Tree Yoga’s operations manager. “We offer a space for healing.”

During class, it’s not uncommon to hear gang violence outside–a daily occurrence for these residents. Through meditative breathing techniques, they learn how to silence the noise and focus on serenity within.

In the last few years, this ambitious studio made significant inroads in a community that assumed healthy pursuits were strictly reserved for affluent demographics. At a traditional L.A. studio, a class can run anywhere from $15-$25. Here, attendees can donate what they can afford, or simply attend for free. For once, wellness is accessible to them.

Read more about women of color expanding their communities through wellness by Rina Raphael at Fast Company