The month of January for Vida! Health and Wellness in South LA, Watts, and Boyle Heights has been all about meditation and finding our inner zen. We were able to accomplish such thanks to the art of yoga!

For those of you who may not know what yoga is exactly, it can best be described as a health and relaxation discipline that includes breath control, simple meditation and the adoption of specific bodily postures. Many people think it’s a series of complex exercises that involves a lot of twisting, turning and stretching. But in actuality, yoga is so much more than that! Our Gasol Foundation Vida! kids and parents were able to learn this first hand. Yoga is actually considered a science by many, that when practiced, embodies the complete essence of the Way of Life- both spiritual and emotionally.

If you like activities such as sports, dancing or running, you will most likely enjoy yoga as well. With participating in those activities above, you’ve probably done some yoga poses and were not even aware you were doing them! Some stretches and warm-ups you do before playing football, basketball or running track are based on different yoga poses. And did you know a lot of athletes and sports teams practice it also? For instance, both Pau and Marc Gasol love it because it helps them balance their mind, body and soul throughout the grueling NBA season.

Empowering and Inspiring Children & Families to Live Healthier Lives

To ensure Gasol Foundation program participants could learn everything there is to know about yoga during the month of January, we partnered with Youth Yoga, a non-profit organization that provides urban youth with a variety of tools pertaining to healing, self-discovery, hope, discipline and respect for oneself, others and community. One of their main goals is to empower and inspire teens in schools by providing them with exercises and meditation techniques from which they will be able to grow into confident adults and successful members of society. In the words of Diana Diaz, Youth Yoga founder, “Yoga gets you out of the conversations in your head and get you present with who you truly are”. Our Vida! families had a blast interacting with Diana and the rest of the instructors, as well as practicing poses on their yoga mats!

Research shows that children receive many benefits from doing yoga. Physically, it enhances their strength, flexibility and body awareness. And what makes yoga so unique is that it is suited to each individual. Because it is a non-competitive type of activity, each and every kid can grow, learn, and succeed within his or her own personal yoga context.

Ready to start practicing yoga? Literally, you can do it anytime or anywhere. You can practice yoga in your bedroom, living room, at the park or at the beach! You can do it on your own, with a sibling, with your parents, or maybe even with your grandparents. Well, what are you waiting for! Grab your yoga mat and water bottle, and let’s do some yoga. Namaste!