Angela Centers Contribution to our Collaboration Blog
Whenever I question if the yoga we teach is making an impact, I see the answer through our students almost immediately. On the outside I don’t see an actual physical change, it’s more of an internal transformation, which is eventually seen through action & way of being.
One group of boys I teach are living at the Hastings Comprehensive Mental Health Facility, they are 12-19 years old and yes, they have done something in their past to be placed in the facility. They are also the boys that will eventually become a part of our community. The hour that I get with them is a safe place that they can have fun, be heard, & have choice. Yoga is teaching them tools that can be used to get them through their daily lives with self-love, mindfulness, and the understanding of actions. Through the curriculum Yoga 4 Change teaches we are able to give these boys so much more than “just a yoga class”, we give them lessons that they can choose to use in real life situations.
The last class I taught one of the boys asked, “Do you teach real classes outside of here?” In response to his question I had to ask what he had meant by real classes? I assured him and the rest of the class that this was real. “You are real people. What would ever make you say that you are not?” They’re answers all varied, “We are thieves, we have hurt people, we are drug dealers, etc.”. Hearing these kids express the image they perceived about themselves truly hurt my heart. I reassured the boys that people, everyday are struggling with an inner battle. Whether these people are inside a facility or living their daily lives. It is easy to get caught up in an unhealthy direction and that’s why what you choose to do today starts right here on your mat! That’s where the journey to change begins and that’s where you can choose your path! Just by breathing instead of reacting to a thought you have. Just by setting your gaze on a fixed point, you don’t give your mind a chance to wander. If we as individuals want to change, it starts from within. Yoga gives these boys the tools to make for a healthy lifestyle, physically and mentally.
Moments like this happen a lot during my classes, and although sometimes it can be painful it’s a great time for us to stop & explore within. Times like these are the reasons we know that we are creating a positive impact, and with each class there is opportunity for growth, love, and self-acceptance!
Want to know why we are doing a Collaboration Blog? Find out more HERE!