Join non-profit OG Yoga's waiting list for Service Yoga Teacher Training School (SYTTS) launching this summer 2018! Only 12 spots are available, so don't wait.
People who do hatha yoga report improved balance, but only now has yoga’s impact on falls received rigorous study.
Now, University of Wisconsin–Madison professor of family medicine Irene Hamrick reports that the number of falls in older adults dropped 48 percent in the six months after yoga classes began, compared to the six months previous.
Aiming to reach out to the most marginalized members of the San Diego community, OG Yoga has a spot for anyone who wants to be transformed by the power of yoga. OG Yoga promotes self-reliance and social change with the help of their certified yoga instructors who specialize in assisting at-risk locals overcoming challenges. Geared towards combating poverty, homelessness, addiction and more, OG Yoga is a renowned agent of change that focuses on the healing process necessary for participants to live a full and productive life.
Even identical twins who are born with the same genome show variations in their health span during the aging process. In addition to our genetic information, many environmental and lifestyle-related factors can influence the aging rate of cells and tissues.
One of the most accurate predictors of the rate of biological aging is the"epigenetic clock" formed by chemical tags (methyl groups) that are added to the DNA molecules. When the ticking of this clock is too fast, the risks of chronic diseases increase.
As the world has become more "connected," people have become more disconnected with the present moment. There is always another goal, project, email, or initiative to start and it is easy to not be fully present to what is happening now. Ruminating in the past causes suffering, and thinking in the future causes anxiety. Being present brings peace, inner strength and joy -- all divine rights for human beings and critical conditions for leadership to flourish. Harvard Professor, William George said, “Mindfulness is a state of being fully present, aware of oneself and other people, and sensitive to one’s reactions to stressful situations. Leaders who are mindful tend to be more effective in understanding and relating to others, and motivating them toward shared goals”.
You are an eight-year old boy who was picked up off the streets by a social worker and enrolled in a classroom with dozens of new faces - and no parental support when you get to your new “home.” How do you manage your stress, fear and anxiety?
You are a thirty-year old woman exiting the gates of prison with the hope of a fresh start, free of drugs and violence. You struggle to make friends and find a job with your record and begin to fall down a spiral of self-doubt and blame. How can you find a place of compassion and care and patience for yourself?
You are a fifty-one year old man, residing in a sober-living facility and being reintroduced to job readiness skills. As excited as you are for a new chapter in life, you are fearful that job skills alone will not prepare you to face temptation and addiction outside the facility’s walls. How can you step back and take a deep breath when the fear and temptation are overwhelming?
What do you do? What resources do you have?
Yoga is part of an ancient system designed to address human suffering - and address it in the body, where it manifests. Yet, those who are suffering are often denied access to yoga classes - financially, emotionally and physically.
Throughout the years, service-minded and socially-conscious individuals have approached this issue from all sides. As a result, service-yoga was created. Service yoga is intended to deliver the healing benefits of yoga to manage suffering - in an accessible environment. This type of yoga is trauma-informed and mindfulness-based so that suffering students can access the benefits of the practice - without the daunting barriers of cost and location, physical ability or social judgment from peers and teachers alike.
Let’s dive a bit deeper.
Service yoga is suited for marginalized individuals across the globe - those suffering from PTSD, abuse, foster care and incarceration. Yoga can impart a sense of ease, confidence and awareness for these individuals that can aid in recovery and healing. In addition, yoga provides practical, lifelong skills that these individuals can use as a resource, like breathwork and meditation.
Service yoga is a type of trauma-informed and mindfulness-based yoga that is tailored to meet the particular needs of the communities served. Techniques specific to the effectiveness of service yoga include different terminology, asana modification and adjustment policies.
Service yoga is available in a variety of communities. OG Yoga currently brings service yoga to a diverse mix of populations, including incarcerated teens at the Girls Rehabilitation Facility and incarcerated men and women at local jails and prisons and rehabilitation facilities like WestCare Foundation’s Custody to Community Transitional Rehabilitation Program.
Service yoga is applicable at any time during an individual’s journey with trauma or suffering.
Service yoga is conducted by a variety of trained and experienced certified yoga instructors who are passionate about helping others heal and build resilience and self-development.
We love yoga. You love yoga. We want to make yoga accessible to all individuals - particularly those suffering from trauma. We want to share this healing with the world. We proceed with the best of intentions and, yet, we may leave those we hope to help feeling disempowered and marginalized. How can we truly help?
Do you want to learn more? Register for our upcoming workshop for a deeper look into what service yoga is and how it is performed on September 16-17 at the Jacobs Center in San Diego.
Yoga enthusiasts link the practice to a long list of health benefits, including greater flexibility and range of motion, stronger muscles, better posture and balance, reduced emotional and physical stress, and increased self-awareness and self-esteem.
“Yoga puts more pressure on bone than gravity does,” he said in an interview. “By opposing one group of muscles against another, it stimulates osteocytes, the bone-making cells.”
If you have type 2 diabetes, it’s likely not news that exercise should be part of your life. But that doesn’t mean you have to limit your physical activity to biking, jogging, or calisthenics. Give yoga a try, for instance. This ancient practice has been found to help lower blood pressure, improve blood glucose (sugar) levels, and more.
Missy Hart grew up in Redwood City, Calif. — in gangs, on the street, in the foster care system and in institutions.
"Where I'm from," the 26-year-old says, "you're constantly in alert mode, like fight or flight."
But at age 13, when she was incarcerated in juvenile hall for using marijuana, she found herself closing her eyes and letting her guard down in a room full of rival gang members.
Back then, she says, yoga was just another mandatory activity, run by a Bay Area program called The Art of Yoga Project. It offers what it calls "trauma-sensitive yoga" to incarcerated girls.
At first, 13-year-old Hart felt uncomfortable. But, gradually, she learned to use the poses and breathing to relax, and she loved it.
"Most of us [in juvenile hall] come from traumatic childhoods," she says. "It was the only time you experienced a quiet time, when everything was so chaotic." She believes the practice helped her cope with symptoms of bipolar disorder.
A new report from the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown University's law school, says that for young women like Hart, who have been through trauma, there is mounting evidence that yoga can have specific benefits.
The study focuses on girls in the juvenile justice system. It also reviews more than 40 published studies on the mental health benefits of yoga.
"What we're learning," says Rebecca Epstein, one of the report's authors, "is that fights go down on wards after adolescents participate," in yoga.
Girls, she adds, "are requesting medicine less often. They have fewer physical complaints."
The findings, Esptein explains, come from speaking to experts in the field, as well as the authors of peer-reviewed articles and some randomized, controlled trials.
Two Georgetown pilot studies showed girls and young women who did yoga reported better self-esteem and developed skills that they could use in stressful situations — taking care of their own children, for example.
Educators and others who work with youth are, increasingly, paying attention to the science of trauma.
Large studies show that people who have been through one or more "adverse childhood experiences" have not only poor mental health outcomes, but also higher incidence of heart disease, diabetes and even some cancers. Those experiences might include such things as physical abuse, the incarceration of a close family member or mental illness in their household.
Further, statistics show that compared with boys, girls experience different forms of childhood trauma, with an impact that adds up over time. They disproportionately experience sexual violations, for example. And, for girls, this abuse is more likely to occur in the context of a relationship, Epstein says, which interferes with forming intimate and trusting relationships with others.
The new Georgetown Law report argues that, since the effects of trauma can be physical, "body-mind" interventions, like yoga, may be able to uniquely address them. Regulated breathing, for example, calms the parasympathetic nervous system. Practicing staying in the moment counteracts some of the dissociative effects of trauma. And the physical activity of yoga, of course, can directly improve health.
Yoga that is specifically designed for victims of trauma has modifications when compared with traditional yoga teaching.
For example, says Missy Hart, "they always ask you if you want to be touched," for an adjustment in a pose. "I see now that really helped me. Other girls who have experienced sexual abuse, sexual trauma or are in there for prostitution at the age of 13, 14, they had their body image all mixed up."
And the institution doesn't always help, she says.
"Being asked to be touched, it gave us a little power back in a place where all our power is taken," she explained. "We're kids and we're being strip-searched. We can't even go to the bathroom, take a shower, or brush our teeth without asking."
Yoga, she said, offered choices. "You can sit and reflect and think about what you want to think about. It helped us feel normal."
When Hart turned 18, she was out of the foster care system, and became homeless for a time. "I was really searching for myself."
Today, she is painting and studying to become an art therapist at Foothill College, near San Jose, Calif. She's going back this summer to one of the institutions where she spent time as a girl, this time as an art teacher.
And, she is beginning her vinyasa yoga teacher training certification. Her ultimate goal, she says, is to open a group home that will offer creative arts and yoga. "When I was doing yoga, that seed was planted. I built my toolbox."