Today was truly special. Christmas Day happened to be on a Tuesday, when we teach yoga to the kids in Central Juvenile Hall. We were excited to create a special class with the boys & girls in the gym, Rajashree Choudhury, our Board Member, taught the class and brought her son Anurag Choudhury.
There were several URY yoga teachers who practiced with us which always creates a great energy! We brought presents gathered from Bikram Yoga Huntington Beach, Bikram Yoga Pasadena, Dots cupcakes, Rajashree & Anurag and The Moore Family. The kids devoured the Subway sandwiches and the homemade brownies from Alexandra.
This picture speaks to me the most. Rajashree brought kids up to join her and one boy who has never done yoga came up and did a great posture! This picture is of one of our students who loves to learn about yoga and watching Rajashree work with him was truly the gift of what yoga is about. Helping, sharing, offering and what this student takes away is encouragement, hope, and a future yoga champion (for all we know). We have seen such fast improvement with his willingness, we all root and cheer for more good things to come- for all of them- but imagine we offer something for the kids to look forward to when they "get out". Many are foster kids heading to placement or probation camps. Many of them have nowhere to go.
The yoga community, UpRising Yoga, intends to be there offering yoga to them as a source of healing, .
For me this is the true meaning of yoga: sharing who you are, becoming who you are...as I told one of the girls that came up and gave me a big thank you hug, I was in this same juvenile hall when I was your age- life is good now, and it can be for you too.
Merry Christmas & Happy Holiday's to you all,
Today we went to visit Camp Gonzales in Malibu. It was the annual Christmas Party with delicious "In and Out Burgers" served from their truck. The Unusual Suspects were there showing a bit of their theatre program- it was incredible to see these kids get up and goof off, come out of their shell and show who they are- kids. There was another program of writing, poetry, rap music and they were amazing! I was so moved to be able to see other programs have the experience we do with these minors in juvenile hall!
Today felt like one of the best days of the year for me! I am so grateful to be a part of working with kids in juvenile hall. Looking at the programs gave me a chance to see what we do too, and I am so touched and blessed. When I sat down to eat I looked at the kid behind me and I knew him from our yoga program at Central Juvenile Hall. He smiled and nodded, said "yeah" he remembered me. Then I saw a few boys wave and come up to talk to us. STILL- they were asking where they can get yoga when they get out!!!
The picture is of Mary Newman at Central Juvenile Hall- taken by Ixel Madrigal in the summer.
Please check out A + B Photography
Alicia came to shoot our program in juvenile hall.
She said her favorite moment was when I was sitting down talking to the kids and relating, sharing my story about when I was in the same facility when I was their age. The kids are sponges and i love being able to share yoga's healing with them. Check out A+B Photography!
holiday shopping online
When you CLICK below- you will be taken to partners like Target, Barnes & Nobles, Apple, etc. and THEY will donate at NO EXTRA CHARGE to you!
We tell the kids that "yoga is a gift- no one can take it away from you." This catch-phrase of ours never rang more true than today, when Nick and I wandered into the Yoga Kingdom Sanctuary in Pasadena, where an important person in Nick's life was waiting. Naader Shagagi, the founder of Yoga Kingdom, had created a yoga video many years ago that Nick had discovered and practiced to. He considers it his first steps on his yoga journey. I was so touched to see Nick embrace his first teacher and thank him for the wonderful gift he gave him. Naader was so pleased that he could see that his work was meaningful to someone. He said that one is never sure of the impact that they make. Yoga is a gift - to both the teacher and the student. We might not know how we impact the kids in juvenile hall once they leave, but we sure know we impact them weekly when they tell us how meaningful and useful the yoga is in their lives.
This special moment at Yoga Kingdom will remind me always that a seed is planted when a teacher and student connect. The teacher may not always know when the seed grows into a meaningful yoga practice, but we do it anyway, with love and attention. Planting that seed is what we aim to do for the kids and it's a blessing to pass along yoga healing.