"NO ISSUES IN THE TISSUES"
Fast fact: Cross’ favorite cartoon growing up? Road Runner
Henry Cross joined the nonprofit studio Hosh Yoga in 2011 as an instructor. He soon rose to assistant executive director and founded Hosh Kids, an affiliate that offers over 30 programs citywide and holds over 500 classes each month for more than 4,000 children. Cross will tell you that Hosh Yoga promotes “no issues in the tissues,” implying that a focus on health and wellness can prevent one’s body from being a repository for diseases. Outside of work, Cross serves as Community Relations Director for the Sonima Foundation, which delivers health and wellness programs to public schools. He is an appointed official of Community Board 5 in Ridgewood, Queens, and serves on the advisory board for the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development. Prior to his work with Hosh Yoga, Cross was a high school teacher and yoga instructor at Fit 4 Life NYC. Hosh Yoga (‘hosh’ is Turkish for welcome) celebrated its seventh anniversary in May.
NYN MEDIA: HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN YOUR FIELD?
HC: In a circuitous way: while I was a ballroom dancer in high school. My parents sent me for lessons, and although I was reluctant at first, I soon began to compete. A colleague mentioned that it would be beneficial to crosstrain with yoga. I embraced the practice and gave up dancing.
NYN MEDIA: DESCRIBE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT YOU’RE MOST PROUD OF.
HC: Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than sharing the joy and the smiles of the staff, students, happy school principals, local officials and seniors after each session. I want our practice to leave everyone a little healthier and happier. I’m also proud of the transparency of our organization: Every staff member is familiar with how our budget operates and understands how every dollar is spent, which resonates with our mission. We’ve got a great staff of 60, which I attribute to our Brooklyn community that attracts the right people. When I’m recruiting, I’d rather delay a program until I find a candidate who is a good fit.
NYN MEDIA: WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU’D LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH BEFORE YOU RETIRE?
HC: I love this question! Will we, could we, shall we undertake to make yoga part of a broader public health initiative? My dream is to iterate our Brooklyn program as a national model to reach out to children and seniors nationwide. We have already launched a successful standalone center in Vermont.
NYN MEDIA: WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT YOUR JOB?
HC: Who would have thought that helping people is so difficult! I share so much of my time and energy, I have had to learn to create a balance, hitting the ‘pause’ button and asking myself, “am I taking care of myself?” Now I stop and work out twice a day. One of my friends likes to say, “don’t take so much, so you don’t have to give back so much!”