Last fall, at the height of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Houston yoga instructor’s “I Like to Move It Movement” virtual fitness challenge got over 126 people from around the globe committed to some serious moves. The 21-day exercise “fun-draiser” generated nearly $12,000 in donations for Houston LGBTQ youth organizations Tony’s Place and Out for Education.
“I really wanted to do something that promoted self care, mental health and wellness, and was connecting in a meaningful way.”
Nate Herrington, the man behind the campaign, used the power of social media to inspire folks from Texas to New York to Nairobi, Kenya, to work out for a good cause.
“As a gay man who is part of the LGBTQ+ community, I really wanted to do something that promoted self care, mental health and wellness, and was connecting in a meaningful way,” Herrington says. After attending a leadership course sponsored by the personal-development company Landmark Worldwide, he decided to launch the I Like to Move It Movement. His friends were thrilled to find an online challenge like this in the community.
Herrington, who works as the head of team development for BIG Power Yoga, believes wellness should be radically inclusive and all people should have access to a variety of resources to improve their health. As someone who has struggled with mental-health issues, Herrington admits that yoga and other physical activities have changed his life.
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Herrington was first introduced to yoga when he was 18. After finding BIG Power Yoga in 2012, he fell in love with that community during a 40-day fitness challenge. “This was revolutionary for me. I [wanted to share] this with other people.”
Eight years later, Herrington is still at BIG Power Yoga as the head of team development. Despite the pandemic restrictions on fitness facilities, he says he is more enthusiastic than ever about promoting body-positive mindfulness and self love through movement and perseverance.
While the I Like to Move It Movement ended up raising thousands of dollars, Herrington was worried shortly before the launch date because only three people had signed up. That didn’t stop him, though, as he began to contact everyone who shared his interest in fitness to support the cause. “I asked them to sign up and get five people to sign up with them,” he says. “It just snowballed, and that was really cool. As a result, there were a ton of people in this thing that I had never met before. I gained friends in the process.”
By partnering with Reason2Race, who graciously offered to promote Herrington’s cause, he gained a reputable platform to promote his fitness challenge. “We couldn’t have done it without them—it really created something magical.” He hopes to host another I Like to Move It Movement challenge in 2021.
Following in Herrington’s charitable footsteps, three local organizations—BIG Power Yoga, The Atrium Yoga Studio, and The Melanin Yoga Project—have teamed up to birth an exciting new concept: the Houston Wellness & Diversity Collective, which focuses on increasing awareness of issues important to the BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and body-positive communities. Houston Wellness & Diversity Collective will invite local spin studios, health coaches, and anyone working in the wellness field to collaborate on quarterly wellness events and educational pieces. Their goal is to prioritize mental health and wellness through a variety of fitness activities.
“This movement wound up being a community effort,” Herrington emphasizes, “and it expanded beyond what I could have ever imagined or hoped for.”
Follow Nate Herrington and the I Like To Move It Movement at instagram.com/iliketomoveitmovement.
This article appears in the January 2021 edition of OutSmart magazine.