grat·i·tude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
I have much for which to be grateful. My life is incredibly blessed and each day I wake up feeling the need to pinch myself.
This past year, I’ve said good-bye to a career that I had developed for 30 years and opened a door to do what I love: teaching yoga. Let me clarify. Teaching yoga to those who may not be able to have access or knowledge that such a powerful healing modality is available.
Last year, I sat down with Katie Robinette, Executive Director, Healthy Minds Canada, and we discussed the possibility of creating a program to reach schools and youth who may not have access to yoga. I shared with Katie several articles and studies which proved the benefits of yoga on not only your physical health but mental health, also. To be honest, after years of trying to get a program like this off the ground, and having had lots of interest but not a lot of financial support, my expectations weren’t that high. Surprisingly, Katie, after sifting through the support materials, was interested and went full guns to help find us some funding. Within a few weeks, our initial grant from ParticipACTION came through which supported our first program at Lakefield District Intermediate School and the Peterborough Leisure Opportunties for Teens outreach.
A few months later, RBC Learn to Play Project also came on board which allowed us to expand the program to reach a greater number of students. In less than one year, because of the support of Healthy Minds Canada, ParticipACTION and RBC Learn to Play Project, the Bend and Unwind School Yoga program is now in three schools in the Peterborough area, the Peterborough LOFT program and offering yoga to youth in the criminal justice system through Dalhousie Youth Support Services. We are teaching 12 classes a week and reach over 300 youth through this program.
I am also grateful for the support from Kelsea at Affirmats who generously supplied some beautiful yoga mats with lovely affirmations on them. To see the youth at today’s first class dash to those brand new mats, unwrap them, and “oohh” and “ahhh” over their beauty was wonderful to see. Halfmoon Yoga Products has also been very generous and supplied us with some straps and cosy blankets.
I am overwhelmed and grateful for the support of Healthy Minds Canada, RBC Learn to Play Project, Affirmats, Halfmoon Yoga Products and Kingwest and Company who provided financial support. And, after hearing one of the youth whisper to a friend after a yoga class, “I’m so glad we have this. It helps take my mind off all the bad stuff”, I know the young people are grateful, also.