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If you practice yoga or even just read about it, you probably know yoga's amazing benefits beyond just a physical workout. Yoga helps both adults and kids to reduce stress, improve health, promote self-discipline, increase concentration and improve emotional and mental balance. This is especially important to kids living in inner-city environments with high crime and violence. Living in these situations causes high stress leading to depression and poor performance in school.
Thats why we are so thankful for non-profit organizations like the Holistic Life Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland. For 10 years co-founders Ali Smith, Atman Smith, Andres Gonzalez have been teaching yoga and mindfulness to at-risk youth in Baltimore’s underserved communities. Gonzales and the Smiths started teaching fifth graders yoga, which the brothers had learned from their parents. When we started the program," Atman Smith said, "the kids thought yoga was the little guy from Star Wars." But soon, yoga poses, breathing techniques, and periods of mindfulness became the means for the children to find solitude and develop inner resources.
Most of the participants were "what you would call problem students," Ali Smith said, "and at first we broke up fights on a daily basis. We often had to collect students from detention." Then teachers started sending notes urging the three to keep doing whatever they were doing because the teachers were noticing a change in those taking part. So were parents. "They weren't perfect little angels," Ali Smith said, "but they were better able to concentrate in their classes, and they weren't going out and starting fights. After seeing the positive aspect to this program and they are now looking to expand across more of Baltimore and the country but they need our help.
Help spread the giving yoga mat love and share with your friends.