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Debby Kaminsky: Empowering First Responders and Children Through Yoga

In his latest interview for The Huffington Post Blog, Executive Director Rob Schware talks with Newark Yoga Movement founder Debby Kaminsky to learn how yoga outreach is benefitting New Jersey’s largest fire department.

“The fire department is the most polite group of public safety figures I’ve ever met; still the mindset of many firefighters is “why change?” and introducing yoga wasn’t 100% embraced. After one session, though, most were converted. In an informal survey this September, 84% said they enjoyed yoga and 74% felt the fire department would benefit from a continued program. A standout moment for me, I think, is watching the Fire Director practice yoga with his recruits, and then lead yoga in front of 750 people at Global Mala NJ 2013.”

– Debby Kaminsky, founder of Newark Yoga Movement, a non-profit that’s shared yoga with over 14,000 students and the Newark Fire Department

Learn how Debby tailors her teaching style to children and first responders, and her vision for the future of yoga service in America, by reading her full interview.

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Do you want to bring the transformational power of yoga and meditation to underserved populations? Join Give Back Yoga at the Sedona Yoga Festival in February for a two-day Mindful Therapeutic Yoga Practices for Veterans pre-conference training that offers yoga teachers clinically-proven techniques to help students recover from trauma and emotional stress.

 

Gina Garcia: Yoga for Everyone, Everywhere. Yoga Across America

Executive Director Rob Schware talks with Yoga Across America founder Gina Garcia for The Huffington Post Blog to learn how her non-profit is bringing yoga to high school students and vets.

“With the suicide rate among veterans at an all-time high, sharing yoga with these men and women is a gift for everyone. This is not about anyone’s view on war, it’s about humanity. Connecting through this practice allows me to share from the heart. When I hear a service member tell me “I found my freedom,” or “Yoga saved my life,” I experience the power of this practice in its purest most beautiful form. It’s a journey of support, healing and love, and our veterans deserve it.”

– Yoga Across America founder Gina Garcia

Click here to read more of Gina’s thoughts on why yoga teachers need special training and support to work with wounded warriors, and how serving others changes your life and your yoga practice.

Image courtesy of Carmen Salazar Photography.

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Help Give Back Yoga Foundation to share the gift of yoga with 10,000 veterans in 2013.  Through December 31st, when you donate $10 or more to our crowd funding campaign to bring free yoga toolkits to veterans, you can receive a gift of thanks in return. Or support our work with veterans by purchasing a copy of the toolkit for yourself.

Peg Oliveira: Yoga & the Importance of Play in Schools

Executive Director Rob Schware talks with 108 Monkeys founder Peg Oliveira for The Huffington Post Blog on how yoga helps to de-stress kids in the classroom and thus reduce classroom and child care expulsion rates.

“In one New Haven public preschool of 20 vibrant 3-year-olds, (I) asked all 20 kids to lie in a circle on their backs and “be still logs.” I then had each child, one at time, step carefully over each “log”….a teacher jumped up and asked if she should start another child around the circle, so it wouldn’t take so much time and the children would not be expected to lie still for a time longer than she believed they were able. I encouraged her to sit, breathe, and trust in the children. They performed the mindful exercise with grace and calm. I knew, at that moment, this stuff works.”

108 Monkeys founder Peg Olieveira, whose organization mobilizes teams of volunteers to help teachers bring play-based yoga into classrooms

Read Peg’s full interview here.

Michelle Mitchell: How Yoga Helps At-Risk Children To Self-Regulate

Executive Director Rob Schware talks with YoKid co-founder Michelle Mitchell for The Huffington Post Blog about the true purpose of school yoga, and how YoKid classes are helping at-risk students to relax and concentrate.

“(Spirituality) is not something that we talk about or is even relevant for participation in the yoga class. There’s the overarching goal, which is to get the kids to settle their minds into stillness. I’ve learned to provide an opportunity for that in every class. I try to tire out their bodies physically so they are comfortable being still at the end of class. If they fall into a meditative state, the environment is there to support that. If they are just quiet and resting, the environment of the class is able to support that, too.”

– Michelle Mitchell, co-founder of YoKid, a non-profit organization that serves at-risk and underserved children in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Read Michelle’s full interview here.

BK Bose on How Yoga Can Stop The School-To-Prison Pipeline

Executive Director Rob Schware talks with Niroga Institute founder BK Bose for The Huffington Post on how teaching inner city students Transformative Life Skills – mindful yoga, breathing techniques and meditation – can help them to break the cycle of stress, lack of self-control and academic failure.

“We see instances of transformation every day in our direct service programs in the community. When a young man is able to let down his armor of hyper-vigilance, when a young woman in a homeless shelter says that her constant emotional pain is eased through the practice, when opposing gang members are able to close their eyes and relax beside each other at the end of a practice session, when a high-risk teen graduates from an alternative high school and joins our teacher training program so that she can help pull her friends out of the quicksand of hopelessness, we consider these victories bread for our journey.”

– BK Bose, Niroga Institute founder

Read BK’s full interview here.

Dee Marie on How Yoga Can Stop Bullying in Schools

Executive Director Rob Schware talks with certified yoga instructor Dee Marie for The Huffington Post Blog on how her Calming Kids: Creating a Non-Violent World program is making a measurable difference in giving students the tools they need to manage anger and stress.

“With the constant advancement in technology, kids and teens are continually bombarded with external stimuli. But their communication skills are often lacking, self-awareness is difficult, and relaxation/centering techniques are nonexistent…yoga is an enjoyable way to learn self-reflection, introspection, and relaxation, which most children greatly appreciate. It helps them to counterbalance their reaction to the busy world they live in.”

-Dee Marie, founder of the Calming Kids program, which trains youth providers and children nationally

Read Dee’s full interview here.

Debbie Cohen: Serving Inner-City Schoolchildren With A Light Heart

Yoga teacher Debbie Cohen talks with Executive Director Rob Schware for The Huffington Post Blog on how her Core Yoga in Schools Program brings yoga, music and relaxation techniques to students in Boston’s public schools.

“You don’t have to be good at it. Just maintain the commitment to teaching the students, and maintain equanimity no matter what. Have fun with the students, and do not take the yoga or yourself too seriously.”

– Debbie Cohen

Read the full post here.