- On January 19, 2016
- In Affordable Housing
LEGIT.Yoga: Making Inner Peace Accesible
For centuries people have been using yoga as a means to relaxation and finding inner peace. This exercise, with its extreme focus on breathing and taking control of your body, has a calming quality that can sometimes be hard to find elsewhere. Theresa Okokon knew this, and she also knew that yoga classes are not readily available in some communities. After managing a group home for young men and listening to their stories, she was always looking for new ways to help them through their trauma. “I thought to myself if we could condense several weeks of therapy into one hour it would be a yoga class,” she said. That’s how LEGIT.Yoga came to be. Okokon became a certified yoga teacher and started to teach in communities that otherwise wouldn’t have access to it. There’s scientific research that proves that yoga is very beneficial to an individual with trauma. Okokon explains it in simple terms, “Yoga makes you feel like you are in control of your body. It teaches you how to self soothe,” she said. “You have stress of some kind and it teaches you that you can make yourself ok.” During a class participants get to feel joyful, even if just for a moment. Her class is designed for this purpose, paying close attention to breathing and movement. “It makes you feel happy and relaxed because of the hormones that are being released in your body,” she said. Another aspect of LEGIT.Yoga is the care taken to ensure that all participants are comfortable. This class is welcoming to all levels with very gentle postures. “It isn’t about a complex posture, it’s about complex things with your brain and your body that come out by doing simple things with your body,” she said. Participants can opt to either be on a mat or a chair, and decide to change at any point during the class. “You are doing everything right, even if you don’t do everything,” explained Okokon. “It’s not about pushing beyond where you are comfortable, it's about being able to be comfortable.” This free class is now available for residents at IBA on Thursdays at 10 AM. Participating can grant you an ability to feel more calm, even if just for a moment in time. As Okokon said, “During yoga your body and your brain are working in a different way. Ideally outside of class you are able to create that pocket of calm for yourself as well.” She also says that her mission with LEGIT.Yoga aligns perfectly with IBA’s history and what we stand for: “I think IBA is amazing, I love the history. There were a group of people who felt like they had a home and a space they wanted to own it. So they decided to rise up and do what they needed to do,” she said. “In some way, in a less macro level kind of way, that’s what yoga does. This home, your body, belongs to you. and if you have experienced something that tries to take your ownership of your body away from you this class tries to get that back.” For more information on the class visit: http://bit.ly/1mQwdcB...