The Leadership and Resiliency Program Team was thrilled when Michelle Larrain shared a post on Facebook that she had yoga mats to donate to a local youth program!
Michelle explained that she hoped her mats would go to good use and to a program that could really use them. LRP Program Manager, Jayde, had recently completed her Yoga for Youth certification training, and so jumped at the opportunity to be the recipient of Michelle’s generous donation!
The LRP offers 3 groups in the Cowichan Valley (Chemainus, Lake Cowichan, and Duncan), to youth ages 13-17. The groups involve 3 components, which build on and foster strong leadership skills and boost up resiliency (resiliency-building groups, adventure activities, and community volunteerism). What better way to accomplish the goals of this program then through the practice of Yoga!
Here are just a few of the benefits of Yoga for Youth:
~ Stress Management: Yoga allows youth to have a chance to experience the calming of their nervous system for a period of time, even if briefly. Self-regulation strategies learned in a yoga are invaluable to bring into everyday life! Practices such as intentional deep breathing, focus (in Warrior poses), stillness (at the opening and closing of class), grounding (in mountain poses), and so on help youth feel grounded and clear. Stress management opportunities and strategies are increasingly important for all teenagers to cope with the stressors of life.
~ Build strength in muscles and bones
~ Increase flexibility. One youth participant exclaimed “I never used to be able to sit cross-legged until I started doing yoga with you!”
~ Provide opportunities to relax. A few of the youth say that their favourite part of the class is savasana (corpse pose—‘rest time’). One of the youth asked specifically for a lovely, simple and relaxing melodic song to always be played during savasana and other participants chimed in “yes, that is my favourite song!”
~ Provides a chance to improve balance, find stillness, and focus. After only a handful of sessions, many of the energetic and active participants have shown an incredible increase in self-discipline and ability to find powerful stillness on their mats.
~ To learn and practice concepts presented in the classes such as gratitude, inner strength, peacefulness, courage, self-compassion, and so on. We always close our classes with a shared ‘Namaste’ explained as ‘the light within me, honours and acknowledges the light within each of you’. A simple, but profoundly sweet ritual shared amongst a group of teenagers in the middle of the day, in the middle of their week.
We would like to gratefully thank Michelle for her generous donation! In the last few months we have only begun to witness the many benefits of ongoing yoga practice with our youth groups… we are excited to see and hear about the benefits our youth are experiencing more and more!
~Jayde Martins, LRP Program Manager, Community Options Society