It seems folks on the East Coast are a little more open to using yoga in their children’s school curriculum. The Bennington School, a youth development organization, located in the Vermont community of its namesake, has done just that as reported by the Bennington Banner on Nov. 30.
The Bennington School, licensed by the Vermont State Board of Education, specializes in giving individualized treatment for children and teens who have experienced trauma during their developmental years. Lee Gallagher, Clinical Director at the school, found through research that yoga, along with other types of mind/body practices, are very helpful for children and adolescents.
Ms. Gallagher’s own training made her realize she needed to expand her certification to include a specialized trauma-sensitive yoga method that allows for tailoring specific teaching for those who have endured either physical or emotional trauma, or even both. With help from local yoga instructor Ali Wassick and Bennington School clinical psychologist Dr. Laurae Colburn, the Bennington School now offers these trauma-sensitive yoga classes to all students regularly in an on-and-off campus environment.
Ms. Gallagher believes that this type of yoga is centered around the idea that their students have complete control over their bodies.
“The students always have a choice,” she said. “If (a student) has been hurt, they haven’t been able to have a choice, so other yoga classes wouldn’t work for them.”
Unlike traditional yoga class, there are not physical assists in trauma-sensitive yoga. The students need to feel safe in their space so the cues given allow students to raise their arms as high as they feel comfortable. Offering these modifications helps them to learn to befriend their body again, and to use this type of yoga as a personal resource as other yoga enthusiasts do.
Lee Gallagher believes this type of yoga,
“…is a mix of really listening to our children, allowing them to experience their body in a healthy way, and being able to teach them to use that as a method to negotiate the world.”
The staff at the Bennington School believes so strongly in the program, former office space at the facility is currently being converted into a yoga studio. They are excited about offering classes in a centralized location and hope to expand the program to the community.
For more information on this and other programs to help youth who have experienced trauma, contact The Bennington School.
Source: Bennington Banner
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