Just think back to the stress and anxiety of high school. Many teens need a little guidance to navigate the angst-ridden time, and one California teacher is proving that a little bit of stretching, meditation, and sticky mats can work wonders.
Erin Lila Wilson, the founder and executive director of RISE Yoga for Youth, is bringing a sense of peace and calm to at-risk high schoolers in the Bay Area, Huffington Post reports.
Take Alex Ramirez, a student at San Francisco’s Mission High School who got into fights with her mom and couldn’t focus in school. According to the RISE website, after joining Wilson’s yoga program, her GPA went from 1.6 her freshman year to an impressive 3.5 her sophomore year, and now she’s a 4.0 senior who’s in the process of applying to colleges.
“It helped me find a balance in life,” she said of the program. Alex said yoga has also helped improved her and her mother’s relationship because they practice yoga together.
MORE: Mindfulness Isn’t Just a Hot Trend. It’s Improving Low-Income Schools
Alex’s story may be unique, but here’s why yoga for isn’t just for New Age hippies. Yoga promotes relaxation, mental focus and a healthy way to manage stress. And for teens who might come from rough backgrounds and difficult family situations, the sense of inner-calm that yoga brings might be just the solution. (You might remember our story on how meditation worked miracles for this inner city high school in San Francisco.)
Since its launch in January 2012, RISE Yoga for Youth has expanded to seven other at-risk bay area high schools.
“From the moment I started, I just totally fell in love with teaching teens,” Wilson told Huffington Post. “I realized that it’s such a gift to bring these practices to young people, because young people are so open and so receptive, and they can take these practices and these tools with them for the rest of their lives.”