A few months ago, I learned about the Be Well Bexley initiative in my community, led by our school district superintendent Dr. Kim Miller. I reached out to see how Bexley Yoga and Next Generation Yoga could support the effort.
Kim casts a vision about the importance of shedding light on the stresses and anxiety that kids face today. Finding ways to help with these issues aligns with my passion for yoga and mindfulness for kids and teens.
I know yoga doesn’t fix everything. And if you are a person new to yoga or don’t know about some of the philosophy of yoga, you may think that yoga couldn’t possibly help today’s youth with the challenges they face.
I believe it can.
I spend hours every week planning meaningful classes for middle school aged teens, and I know that it makes a difference in their lives. My career is dedicated to making yoga available and accessible to everyone, all ages, all levels, everyone. It’s a powerful tool that supports overall well-being.
Something happens on the mat in Downward Facing Dog, Tree Pose, Warrior 1, 2 & 3, Half Moon, and Crow. Do you know what it takes to achieve those movements with purpose? It takes similar things that it takes to tackle an Algebra test or public speaking or an interview…focus, self-awareness, concentration, calm, mindful breathing, courage, belief in yourself. It isn’t simply about “doing a pose”. The principles learned in yoga are principles that apply to life.
There are many ways these principles can be learned, and yoga is one way that kids and teens can learn them in a safe, supportive, fun, non-competitive, non-judgmental environment.
It was not an easy read. It’s sad. It’s tragic. And it’s conflicting because I love certain aspects of technology and social media, yet I now understand how deeply the Instagram age can affect young people. I am 48 years old. It didn’t occur to me how young people are affected…in this story, a young college athlete.
As a woman, as a mother, as a person who has dealt with years of self-doubt, the book had quite an effect on me. I could relate to Maddy’s pain, anxiety, and trouble identifying what was wrong.
Kate wrote about Maddy’s childhood and what could have brought her to those final moments. She exposes how modern-day communication mediums can distort one’s view on life. And how the pressures to succeed and be perfect are completely unrealistic.
As a college athlete herself, Kate wrote about how she could relate to the pressures and self-doubt that went along with grueling practices and high expectations. And how quitting wasn’t an option.
I read the book to support the efforts of my community and to better relate to the youth I teach. In the process, I felt like I got to know Maddy as well as Kate. And I know better now what to be on the lookout for with my students.
Sidenote: I was a broadcast journalism major in college. I, however, did not become a broadcast journalist. Kate did. I have a grand admiration for her profession, her courage and her ability to be vulnerable in an effort to help others.
I was thrilled to learn that she would be visiting Bexley to speak. I attended, and I waited in line to meet her afterward to talk and get this photo. Yes, I leaned into her like she was my bff. But honestly, I felt like I knew her after reading her book, so it felt totally natural to me. Many thanks to my real life dearest friend, Michelle, for giving me her copy of What Made Maddy Run book that evening (because it didn’t occur to me to bring mine) so Kate could sign it for me! Only a true friend would do that. Michelle now has my old copy…unsigned.
Thank you, Dr. Kim Miller and Kate Fagan, for opening my eyes to a societal concern that is deeper and more complex than I realized. The message of this book fuels my passion to advocate and evangelize for mindfulness and emotional well-being for kids and teens even more. As the leader of Next Generation Yoga, I will continue to help the young people who cross my path and to equip others with training, support and resources to do the same.
Namaste to all.
Amy earned her 200-hour adult yoga certification from Yoga with Laurel in Columbus Ohio. She completed Aroma Yoga teacher training with Tracy Griffiths at The Life Energy Institute and a comprehensive Business Consulting program with Mindbody Online. She is currently pursuing her 95-hour Kids Yoga certification with Next Generation Yoga, as well as, her 300-hour Advanced Teacher Training certification with Inhale Thrive. She is also the Owner/CEO of Next Generation Yoga and Bexley Yoga & Barre in Columbus, OH.