Yoga Gangsters

WSVN — We know yoga relieves stress and makes us feel good, but one local program is proving it can do more than that. 7’s Lynn Martinez shows us how it’s calming kids in crisis in today’s Parent to Parent.

These girls from the Overtown community are learning to center themselves through yoga.

Instructor Terri Cooper says yoga changed her life.

Terri Cooper: “I was struggling with some personal problems, depression, addiction, anxiety.”

She wanted to share yoga with kids which led her to create “Yoga gangsters.”

Terri Cooper: “Our kids learn self-awareness, self respect and self control.”

Most of the kids in the class have been through a trauma or come from poverty. Terri says the stress at such a young age can actually stunt the brain’s development.

Terri Cooper: “They’re really reactive and kind of aggressive and impulsive and that’s when the bad decisions get made.”

When these kids focus on poses and their own bodies, it brings them into the present moment.

Terri Cooper: “What yoga does is it specifically moves the energy up into the higher parts of the brain so we can slow down our response time.”

The girls say yoga is really helping.

Kalimah Muhammad: “What we learned in class is that child pose would help you relieve from all of the stress.”

Tearanni Thervil: “So if you do yoga, it will help release that tension and too much stress can make you unhealthy.”

That’s exactly the message Terri and her partner Jodi are trying to get out.

Jodi, who’s a mom of twin teens, says she uses yoga with her kids every day. She encourages all parents to give it a try.

Jodi Weiner: “Dealing with challenges in their school, they need this, they need to know how to pull out of the chaos when they walk from class to class”

By the end of this class, the girls are so relaxed and at peace. They’re ready to face the challenges ahead of them.

Janajah Fowles: “It makes me feel relaxed and calm and happy that I did it and participated.”

“Yoga Gangsters provides free six week programs.

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