Introduction of Janaki Somaiya and Yogahood
2:32 Yogahood started as a result of the founder’s experience of yoga’s benefits. Janaki is involved because of her psychology training and family interest in yoga. Janaki is a clinical psychologist working primarily with youth with mental health issues and knows the benefits for this population.
4:70 Yogahood is a not for profit organisation, that has partnerships with community organisations and also yoga studios and yoga brands. Community organisations have been approaching Yogahood to bring their classes to the community’s space. Yoga studios and yoga brands can help fund in many ways Yogahood’s activities. Yogahood’s volunteers go to the community sites to offer the classes.
8:00 Volunteer teachers must have 200 hour teacher training and 50 hours of teaching experience to take the 3 day Yogahood outreach training. The class settings are very basic with just mats and some space; learning how to navigate a very different environment in which to give a class is one aspect of the training. The emphasis of the classes is to give people tools to take home and help them cope in their lives. Disadvantaged communities often have no opportunity to access yoga because of financial hardship.
12:45 Benefits to Students: Overall research shows many benefits of yoga. For youth with mental health issues, research indicates that yoga is helpful in stress, depression, etc. Yoga develops the pre-frontal cortex which is where planning, decision making and self-management occurs. This helps in dealing with stressors. Cognitive benefits include improving memory.
16:00 Young people, through yoga, are taught to tune in to their body and choose what they want to do that day according to how their body feels. They learn that is ok to listen to my body and do what it needs and then feel great when I do that.
17:30 Yogahood collects feedback and evaluates their program. Anecdotally, they hear that yoga helps participants manage their stress and better self-regulation among other improvements.
19:00 Yogahood’s training does provide some basic information on what teacher’s might expect when dealing with a wide range of participants with very different needs but can’t provide in depth. Each community organisation provides a person to be in the room during class. The volunteer is only responsible for teaching the class; the community person takes care of any issues that may arise. This is best for the teacher, the organisation and the participants. At the beginning of class, participants are told that the community person is there and if they have some issues to talk to that person.
21:25 Although Yogahood does provide some basic training in the issues that might occur, they also provide mentoring/pairing of a new volunteer with an experienced volunteer. They will teach the class together for a few classes so the new volunteer can receive feedback and get comfortable with his/her role.
23:25 Yogahood’s goals for the future are to provide the service to as many community organisations as possible given resources. It’s mission is to provide yoga to people who have needs for yoga’s tools. Talk therapy has limitations for some clients. It does not encourage thinking about one’s own body to help with the healing. Research on trauma-based yoga shows that trauma basically sticks people in the trauma situation and they keep reliving it. Perceiving everything as a threat and living in the past and can’t physically let go of the trauma. Talk therapy may have them move mentally beyond the trauma but something has have help them move physically beyond the trauma.. They must ground themselves in the present which yoga does very well. Yoga increases the links between body, mind, breath. Yogahood is offering outreach training for new volunteers in early December.
31:45 Yogahood asks the volunteers to go into the community and work with people with high needs. Can be quite daunting for a volunteer. Yogahood offers wellness sessions for the volunteers to help them with their self-care and to maintain a balance in their lives. The wellness sessions may be a restorative yoga class, yin yoga, sound healing, massages.