It’s hard to believe that another chapter could possibly be added to the story of yoga, which already spans the globe and the millennia. And yet a new, perhaps unlikely group — at-risk and incarcerated youth — is discovering the stress relief, mood-enhancement and improved balance and fitness benefits of regular yoga practice.
That’s thanks to the New Leaf Yoga Foundation. The Toronto-based registered charity brings downward dog, shavasana, meditation and conscious breathing — and the above-mentioned benefits they confer — to teens “overcoming histories of abuse, neglect, incarceration, gang-involvement, addiction, marginalization and other factors that have led them to be identified as ‘at risk,’” according to the Foundation’s website, www.newleafyoga.org.
Those involved insist yoga teaches real-world coping skills (focus, relaxation and calming breath, for example) that youth can access to constructively deal with anxiety and anger rather than acting out. Plus, it’s fun. Judging by the testimonials of former students...
* Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.