The month of March for Vida! Health and Wellness in South LA, Watts, and Boyle Heights was all about meditation, yoga, expanding the imagination, and creative art expression.
What are some benefits of meditation and yoga, you ask? Well, the art of practicing these centering activities helps to balance an individual’s mind, body, and soul. Other benefits include assistance with managing stress and anxiety, helping with relaxation, and aiding flexibility, muscle strength, and body tone. Meditation and Yoga can even help to improve respiration and restore your energy and vitality levels.
In March, Gasol Foundation partnered with Youth Yoga, an organization that provides urban youth with the varied tools of healing self-discovery fostering hope, discipline and respect for oneself, others, and the community.
By utilizing basic yoga positions, postures, physical exercise, and meditative breathing techniques, our Vida! families were able to participate in a different type of physical and mental activity than most had ever done before. They all had a blast interacting with the friendly instructors, practicing their poses on their yoga mats, and channelling an inner meditative zen.
The second portion of our programming in South LA, Watts, and Boyle Heights involved creator David Tobin’s Audiojack. Audiojack is an audio-based “movie” that utilizes sound design to tell a story. Without music, video or dialogue of any kind – our Vida! families relied on their own imaginations to vividly paint a picture of what they felt and saw while listening to the audio sounds. And there were no wrong answers in this learning and expression exercise – it was up to each individual’s own internal memory and imagination systems!
After listening to an audio sequence and removing their blindfolds, they then were asked to write about their experiences and draw pictures of what they saw. Some children wrote about experiences in their own neighborhoods and others were taken towards action in far off places like forests, cottages, and lands filled with aliens. Parents indulged in thoughts and memories of travels back to their native countries and spending time with loved ones. Some Vida! parents envisioned time with family members who they hadn’t seen in a while!
The Audiojack learning tool was beneficial to our Vida! children and parents because it encouraged self-expression, the exploration of personal emotions, and creativity and critical thinking. It motivated them to delve deeper into the details of their emotions and verbal descriptions and provided them with a safe space, wherein they could practice their interpersonal and oral presentation skills.
As you can see, March was a very relaxing and expressive month! Both the Youth Yoga and the Audiojack activities were a wonderful success. Everyone was able to experience and learn new things, and have fun at the same time!