From the Field: Youth Yoga
By: Samara Coble, Youth in Transition, Youth Advocate, Counseling Services of Addison County
Take a moment to go to a space that isn’t your own. At your own pace, laugh, stretch, move with your breath and get out of your head.
For the past year and a half, young adults between the ages 13-22 who are working with CSAC have been attending yoga classes at Otter Creek Yoga in Middlebury and Yarn and Yoga in Bristol. Through the practice of yoga, youth have the opportunity to relax and learn the importance of mindfulness.
The CSAC, with support from our regional Integrated Family Services (IFS) project, is able to offer this class to youth for free. Youth who are struggling, who never really have a space where they aren’t judged or are not expected to do anything other than take care of themselves come to these classes. The offering of yoga has helped youth who are looking for a safe activity, an excuse to leave the house, but they get so much more out of it. Says one youth:
"Yoga is more than just fancy stretching. I've learned much during the past few classes I was not expecting about the meanings behind poses and how truly beneficial the lessons they teach can be off the yoga matt. I learned how to reset and settle with just one breath and rather than fight and fear, embrace my ambivalence. Since I’ve been attending yoga there’s been an increase in patience, discipline and balance in all aspects of my life. It's about better managing yourself and loving yourself." ~ KB
The CSAC outreach clinicians assist the youth in attending classes and sometimes even join their youth at the class, which creates another avenue of connection and growth for the therapeutic relationship. This has been a really fun connection, along with being great for youth to learn a new skill.