I’ve been teaching yoga for 20 years. I found that I was only teaching the very affluent, so I began to look for programs where I could be of service to the community and found the Lineage Project. I am one of two board members for the Lineage Project who has also taught classes for the organization.
Location: New York City
Tell me about the Lineage Project and how you got involved.
The Lineage project was started in California with the intention of bringing mind/body practices to vulnerable teenagers in settings such as suspension high schools, locked detention facilities, and jails. In New York City we serve the five boroughs. I got involved because I’ve been teaching yoga for 20 years. I found that I was only teaching the very affluent so I began to look for programs where I could be of service to the community and found the Lineage Project. I am one of two board members for the Lineage Project who has also taught classes for the organization.
What impact do you see that mindfulness and yoga practice has on the youths that you work with?
I worked in a suspension school, and taught the students during their gym period. It was clear that during the rest of the day the students were very confined to the rules of the school, with no control over their schedule, and little room to express their emotions. 92% of these students experienced abuse at some point in their lives. These classes were an opportunity for the students to manage their emotions in a guided, safe environment. For example, one student, Rachel, was the alpha dog in class.
She would come in strutting her stuff and intimidating other students. Over time I noticed that she came into class quieter and quieter. I mentioned this to her later in the semester, and she said that when she intimidates other students “all I am is angry, and I take no actual space for myself.” She discovered peace inside of herself that she never knew existed that allowed her to be less aggressive and violent in that setting.
Who or what motivates you to give?
Absolute belief in the value of the work for the vulnerable populations I interact with. Particularly in this current political climate, it will become even more important to allow these students the time and space to express their emotions, as many of them are minorities and immigrants.
How do you encourage people to be giving of their money or time?
When we host events, I think our greatest tool is a video that we show of the students, where people can see the work we do and the impact that it has. We also can bring people into the classes to see the impact first-hand. We encourage people to give by showing them the work and how important it is for the populations we serve.