Yoga has had such an incredible impact on my life that it just felt right to open up a studio in my town and share the benefits of this practice with my community. Yoga has helped me navigate through grief, parenthood, and so many other chapters in my life. My practice has grown and evolved along with me. Sharing Yoga with kids has always been a passion of mine. I wish I could have experienced Yoga when I was a kid. I believe that Yoga is such a powerful tool; you can practice at any age and it always meets you just where you are.
“John” attended my elementary Next Generation Yoga class for the first time almost 3 years ago. It was the first Kids Yoga class that I had taught after moving to my new city, and John’s first Yoga class ever. I was very excited to get to know this new group of kids and hopeful to be able to grow a love for Yoga in their hearts. I remember John in that first class; he was eager to participate and connect with his peers. About 15 minutes after he was picked up, I received an email about how much he LOVED Yoga! He couldn’t wait to get back the following week!
I can’t believe how much John has grown over the years. Since our first class together, he has regularly attended NGY classes, and now he even attends some teen and adult classes. He often brings his friends to Yoga, and openly talks about how the practice of Yoga has helped him not only in other sports, but also in school and everyday life.
Last week I had the opportunity to hear John speak on the news about Yoga. Our small town experienced multiple losses due to teen suicide. In an effort to help, our studio has connected with youth psychologists to put together a program for our youth. When our local news station caught wind of this, they asked if they could interview one of the teens in our program. I immediately reached out to John’s parents. Despite being nervous, John was excited to be featured on the morning news.
John spoke from the heart. In his interview, he encouraged parents and teens to look into Yoga as a playful way of relieving stress, anxiety, and depression. He mentioned that he had started his practice by playing Yoga games with NGY, but later realized that he was learning tools transferable to his life. John uses the breathing techniques he has learned during stressful moments at school. He reads through his affirmation cards to remind himself that he is an incredible person even on his worst days. And he focuses on the meaning of “Namaste” to always trying to see the good in others.
It’s stories like John’s that reaffirm that I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing. Kids and Teens need Yoga just as I have needed Yoga through so many different stages in my life. I think about all of my teachers that have impacted me so greatly, it honestly makes me teary thinking that I am able to have that same type of positive impact on someone else’s life. I hope that by offering these classes at Pure Yoga, I can help foster healing and empowerment to many more Kids and Teens.
Whitney Davis owns Pure Yoga in Richland, WA, an NGY Affiliate Yoga Studio, and is an NGY Teacher for 2-13 yr. olds. She is also a 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, and has studied with Baron Baptiste and Paige Elenson. She is passionate about offering Yoga to her community as a way to share the benefits she has received in her own practice. She believes Yoga should be fun, and is truly for everybody.
Check out this local news interview with Whitney about her recent Teen Yoga program.