Yoga Calm: 20 Years of Educating Heart, Mind, & Body

by | Jul 21, 2019

Twenty years can seem ages ago. It was a time of Pokemon fever, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? madness, and the dominance of boy bands, Britney Spears, and Ricky Martin. The US women’s soccer team won the World Cup in amazing fashion, much as this year’s team did.

But it wasn’t all fluff and fun. It was also the year of Columbine, WTO protests in Seattle, and Y2K anxiety.

And in the small, rural school outside of Portland where she worked as a counselor, Lynea – like many helping professionals back then – was starting to notice a steady increase in kids with extreme behavioral issues, often stemming from experience with trauma.

Here’s how we described it in our book Yoga Calm for Children:

As their counselor, Lynea observed how hard it was for them to sit in a group and share. She felt they needed opportunities to manage and direct their strong feelings and impulses – like those of the young boy she saw one day crouch under a table in a fetal position, screaming, “Help me! Can anyone please help me?” This child’s obvious pain touched her deeply. She wanted to help him find peace in his small body. She could see the trauma he physically held, how his instinct to protect himself drove him under the table – a common way for wounded children to self-soothe.

Through her own yoga practice and counseling work, Lynea had learned to listen to the body and the heart to find a path toward healing. When the body opens, emotions can be released, and the body and heart grow strong together. She wanted to help her students experience these benefits. She believed that a practice that was both physically and emotionally supportive could help these children and others like them.

From this, Yoga Calm was born.

 

Our Journey from a Single Classroom

Lynea Gillen teaching plank poseAs we began working with kids in that behavioral classroom, the changes we saw in their self-control, confidence, and resilience inspired us to develop our work into the expansive curriculum you know today. Soon, we were teaching a handful of other educators who saw the positive results. Xeroxed handouts outlined the principles, poses, and social-emotional activities that to this day remain the core of our program.

In 2007, those Xeroxes grew into Yoga Calm for Children—the landmark textbook for teaching school-based yoga and mindfulness with now over 10,000 copies in print,  That same textbook is just as relevant today and is used with the hundreds of teachers, counselors, therapists, nurses, parents, and others who attend our live trainings each year. Our online courses reach thousands more around the globe.

All told, over 24,000 teachers have been trained in Yoga Calm, impacting well over a quarter of a million kids. Our books and DVDs have garnered 9 national awards for excellence. We have Certified Instructors in over 16 countries.

 

Of course, such growth doesn’t happen all on its own. We’ve had lots of help from our national trainers and advisors, such as Kathy Flaminio, our certified instructors, and others along the way – as well as our local team who make things happen. There are all the mentors and experts we’ve had the honor of working with. There are the kids themselves, who never cease to inspire us.

Most of all, there are the all the helping professionals and parents who have embraced Yoga Calm as a gift to give to the youth in their own lives. And for this, we are most grateful.

What the Future Holds

Warrior I pose in Yoga Calm trainingMeantime, our work continues, with new courses and resources and more to support your work with kids and families.

In the near future, you can look forward to live trainings such as Lynea’s new Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) certification training that she’ll be teaching with TRE founder Dr. David Berceli this coming January, and more online courses and curricular supports such as our Empower program.

We have more 90-minute online workshops coming with experts in the field of health and wellness such as those recently featuring psychologist and technology expert doreen dodgen-magee.

And, we will be going on the road to provide schools with customized staff trainings to support school health, wellness and learning

Have a need not yet met by our existing courses, trainings, and support materials? Drop us a line and let us know about it. Your input can help us continue to enrich Yoga Calm and all those who use it.

 

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