Resources for youth

Yoga Outreach is a Canadian nonprofit organization that brings yoga to those without access. Founded in 1991 by a group of yoga teachers from BC, Yoga Outreach trains and supports teachers for work in correctional institutions, addiction programs, shelters and healthcare centres. The organization also offers coaching to yoga teachers who want to start outreach programs in other regions of Canada.

Dans La Rue has been serving street youth and youth at risk in Montréal since 1988. They offer shelter, food, medical and psychological care, legal advice, and a break from the dangers of the street. Dans La Rue also runs training programs that empower youth to get off the streets, realize their potential and become full members of their community. Some of their recent programs include yoga in the curriculum.

The Lineage Project supports at-risk and incarcerated youth in New York City through yoga and meditation classes. The project is based on the understanding that a healthy relationship between mind and body becomes another tool in young people's daily struggle. In addition to their work in juvenile detention centres, Lineage runs The Zone: A Teen Center for the Mind, Body and Heart in the south Bronx, where local youth and teens on probation can take classes and hang out in a supportive environment.

The Mind Body Awareness Project was founded with the mission to "arm" youth with a skill they are not learning in school – the ability to stop and reflect on a thought or emotion before taking action. Based in San Francisco, the MBA Project brings yoga and meditation classes to youth at risk, helping them to reduce stress, manage anger and avoid violence.

Street Yoga volunteers know that for homeless and at-risk youth, "yoga is a luxury." They try to meet kids where they are, close to the streets, in Portland-area youth centers and foster homes. Street Yoga offers yoga classes and workshops on nutrition and health, all without compromising the strategies that kids have adopted to survive their lives on the streets.

Yoga for Youth is an organization of yoga teachers dedicated to working with at-risk children and teens on a regular basis. Based in Los Angeles, the organization also offers programs in the Bay Area, Chicago, New York and Washington DC. Yoga for Youth trains teachers to work with young people and also provides contacts for teachers interested in working in juvenile detention centres.

Yoga and Teenagers is a Ibibliography of resources on yoga and teenagers, compiled by Trisha Lamb Feuerstein of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. You can access the bibliography online at

Suggestions for yoga teachers who want to work with youth: If there are no organizations in your area that bring yoga to youth at risk, there are still plenty of ways to offer your services. A good start would be to research the resources that are already available to youth in your community. Develop relationships with people who work on the "front lines" with young people. Contact local high schools (especially alternative schools), organisations for street kids, drop-in centres, young parents’ programs, violence prevention programs, community centres or youth group homes.

Copyright ©2007 ascent magazine, first Canadian yoga magazine, yoga for an inspired life