RISE Yoga for Youth celebrates it's fifth year of operation in Bay Area public schools!
Teacher Spotlight: Regina Garcia What is the most rewarding aspect of being a teen yoga teacher? The most rewarding aspect of being a teen yoga teacher is witnessing a student resonate with an element of the practice that will potentially change the entire course of their life - whether it’s a meditation or breathing technique, connecting with their own body in a certain posture, or deeply understanding themes like kindness, abundance, and truthfulness. What is the most challenging aspect of being a teen yoga teacher? For me, it's managing the classroom. Most of their other classes have a desk and computer setup, so being in a circle on yoga mats can be quite distracting for them. On some days there might be a pair of students chatting about their weekend, while a few others beg to play a game, while someone else sneaks an iPhone out of their backpack, and then a sock flies across the room... all in the duration of one sun salutation - which is also the special beauty of these groups. What are some ‘big wins’ from this year? A big win this year was when a group of 5 girls shared that they liked yoga because it's one of the only opportunities they get to think about what they’re interested in, what they want to do in the future, and how they truly feel about the things happening in their life - as they feel that they’re being told what to do in many other areas. I am so grateful to RISE for creating these spaces for teens to take time for themselves. Another win was when a student shared that instead of yelling at her little sister when she was annoyed, she took a deep breath before talking to her and eventually she started teaching her some of the yoga poses we did in class. The ripple effect of these practices are so evident, and I love knowing that every single one of these teens may share these practices with someone in their life, and so on. What is the biggest difference between teaching an adult yoga class and a RISE teen yoga class? The biggest difference for me between teaching a regular adult yoga class and a RISE teen yoga class is the way everyone shows up on their mat. Teens show up as they are, no apologies, no filter, few expectations. In teen classes we play games to connect deeper with one another and as a group, while in adult classes it’s more of a personal practice. RISE teen classes go far beyond the physical practice of yoga - we sit in circles to discuss how we may practice yoga off the mat. I’m constantly fascinated by their openness to share and with the authenticity of their words.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! TOGETHER, WE MAKE CHANGE Our work goes far beyond teaching yoga poses and providing students with an opportunity to relax. Our skillful teachers and innovative curriculum help students connect with their authentic selves and inherent self worth. We give students the space to realize their unique personal gifts and what brings them joy. We empower teens to know their inner strength and capacity to be powerful agents of change in the world. Thanks to your support, we were able to start our very first East Bay chapter in East Oakland. We also partnered with schools in Oakland and the Peninsula to lead our very first summer intensive yoga programs this year! We are grateful for our donors, volunteers and partners who invest in our mission. Because of your support, we can continue strengthening our existing programs while expanding to new schools. Because of you, we can bring this transformative practice to more teens in the Bay Area. It takes an entire community working together to make lasting positive change in the world. Thank you for being a part of our community.