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Photo by H. Koppdelaney

I was recently asked to participate in a grassroots initiative called LASS (Ladies Attaining Self-Sufficiency). The mission of LASS is to model, teach, and support young ladies (sixth grade city school girls) in attaining self-sufficiency. The program’s goal is to increase positive identity, break down social barriers and define personal values at this impressionable time of these girl’s lives.

The program includes a variety of after school activities that were chosen to help foster relationships and thoughtful decision-making.

I am so honored to be included in this pilot program. Yoga has the ability to transform a person both internally and externally.

Yoga can help change lives in many ways:

• Learning different yoga breathing techniques can help guide a person through many different challenging circumstances. Learning that you are in control of your actions by taking the time to stop and breathe before reacting is empowering. Being able to calm oneself down during a conflict or before an important test can alter the direction of a given situation. Learning breathing techniques and poses that energize one’s body can help eliminate the need or use of less healthy food or chemical choices.

• Through yoga asanas, one is made aware of individual differences and personal strengths. With so many forces in a young girl’s life that are out of their control, it is so vital to for them to find the internal strength that they possess to make the right choices. Through asana a person develops the ability to listen to what one’s body is saying. A pose might generate a feeling of fear (getting up in crow or a headstand) or tension in a certain body part which releases when breath is directed to that area. A warrior series may evoke a sense of strength which is felt from the inside out. This strength can be carried forth throughout one’s day easing one through tough situations.

• Learning relaxation techniques during savasana can help relieve tension and stress that accumulates throughout the day. Practiced before bed, relaxation techniques can release the pressures of the day allowing for a fully rejuvinating sleep that all teens need. When rested, being mindful and aware is easier which leads to better choices.

I am planning on working on breathing techniques, sun salutations, group and partner poses and relaxation techniques. I hope to ignite an interest in yoga, but more importantly, an awareness of personal strength in which each girl holds ready to tap.

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