Most of the teens that are served through our Crisis Residential (CR) emergency shelter program are in quite a vulnerable spot in their lives. The future is uncertain; and the past may be riddled with unresolved issues.
The chance to get quiet and focus on the now can be incredibly healing and stabilizing. That opportunity was provided twice a week for the entire month of December by yoga instructor, Meggan Wilson.
Each Tuesday and Thursday, Meggan invited our CR teens to roll out a yoga mat and join her on the floor. The group practiced deep breathing and gentle meditation together. They explored their bodies’ abilities and focused on the present. Together, they practiced breathing in peace, safety, and love for themselves and others and released fear, tension and confusion with each exhalation.
Several of the teens who practiced with Meggan reported a greater sense of safety. For some, they discovered something they were good at, and were proud to report to people in their lives that they learned yoga that morning. One teen summed up her experience with Meggan by stating, after some reflection, “Yoga is a good stress relief.”
Meggan, who has been practicing yoga for over 12 years, got started in her practice with videos at home. She states that when she realized the power of yoga in her life, she just kept practicing and pursued formal yoga instructor training. She loves to share the joy she finds in yoga with others. “Yoga is like coming home. I get to let go and be whoever I want to be on that mat,” she says.
For teens that are away from home, and may not have an externally peaceful world, the opportunity to learn how to create peace and a sense of wellness within themselves is invaluable. Salt Lake County Youth Services is excited to continue working with Meggan and others who share a passion for yoga as part of the Recreation Therapy program accessible to youth in all our shelter programs.
Recreation Therapy focuses on using various forms of play to help our youth learn positive stress reduction skills, and increase their social skills. An emphasis on team building and conflict resolution helps them learn to handle issues with peers both at our group homes and in their outside lives productively. Many times, once a person is engaged in play, they become more open to learning and guidance.