Kids these days, they’re still getting into trouble, but now the practice of yoga is helping them (maybe) get out of it, by helping them become more conscious before they get incarcerated, even later on as adults. Programs like the Lineage Project, a nonprofit organization in NYC, are leading the way in bringing yoga to unconventional facilities like the Ella McQueen Reception Center in Bushwick, Brooklyn, basically a holding tank for kids who’ve committed misdemeanors where they get assessed before being moved to a residential center for a year or more, ABC News reports.
“These are for the most part young people who have been exposed to trauma, and trauma involves reacting, not being able to stay in the moment and take perspective,” said Beth Navon of the Lineage Project.
These kids often come into the juvenile detention system all anxious and angry but now they’re leaving with a deeper sense of what exactly that means and how they can do something about it. Just learning to breathe deeply has made a big difference on impulsive behavior.
“When I get angry, I don’t know, it’s just there, but if I breathe that will help me a lot,” said one of the youngsters.
Sandra Bryce, who runs the Ella McQueen Reception Center, agrees yoga has a positive affect even after just two weeks, which is how long the kids stay in the center.
“What yoga does is really teaches mindfulness, it really has young people get in touch with their body and their mind, and so the hope is, and their experience has been, that once you get in touch with your breathing and the way you think, you can make better decisions,” Bryce said.
And that can carry over not just to the residential facility but to real life situations on into their adult years. They may not be free in the physical and spatial sense, but the yoga and meditation are helping these youngins feel free in the mind, and that’s an empowering and transformative thing, said senior Lineage teacher Chia-Ti Chu.
Not to get all Whitney Houston “Greatest Love of All” on you, but if these kids are our future, then doggone it let’s teach them well and let them lead the way, on and off the mat.
Read more about the Lineage Project which currently provides 26 yoga classes every week at 9 sites in New York City.