Ariana Rice is a therapist at Crossroads Residential, a safe haven for our community’s foster youth in Watsonville. Yoga For All Movement has been teaching at Crossroads for the past year and loving every minute! See what Ariana has to say about the changes she’s seen at Crossroads as a result of yoga and mindfulness.
What's the benefit of teaching yoga to foster youth?
"Paying attention their bodies. They've learned to shut off their attention from their bodies so learning how to listen to what they need is helpful towards healing trauma and promoting self-care. It's also another way to increase self-esteem and I can really see it is an alternative coping skill to substance use or other self-harming behavior."
What do you want other people to know about Yoga For All Movement?
"Yoga is a healing tool. This organization is bringing yoga to populations who wouldn't have financial or even cultural access to this practice."
You practice yoga with the youth every week! How does it affect the yoga experience; or rather, how does yoga make you feel?
"I love modeling being imperfect. It decreases the competition around yoga and normalizes our relationship in a really good way. If they can see me fall out of poses and continue with it I feel like that shows them that they can always keep trying. They know I'm here to practice yoga with them, not to make sure they're doing everything right. I think it actually deepens my therapeutic relationship with our clients. In addition, yoga teaches us that we are within control and that we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves. Ultimately , we are the only one that have the power to change how we feel, yoga helps to teach our youth this."
Given all this, what do you like about yoga?
"In general, I love having a gentle way of challenging myself. It's up lifting. I love having the power to choose and it makes my back feel better! I love that we are building community. We are teaching that vulnerability is ok and I think if we get youth to practice together they can transform their relationships with one another in their environment."