Tag Archives: Street Yoga

Yoga as an everyday survival skill: “Street Yoga” is taking yoga to places where it’s needed most

Mark Lilly, Yoga Therapist, Author and Founder of "Street Yoga"

For Mark Lilly, yoga therapist, author, and founder of Street Yoga, yoga is an everyday survival skill, a practice he has shared with thousands of youth as founder and president of the Portland, Oregon-based non-profit organization. Mark will be presenting a session entitled Yoga at the Edge of Trauma at the upcoming Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth: Mindfulness in Clinical Practice, Education and Research, February 4-5, 2012 at the Catamaran Resort Hotel in San Diego.

We are also very pleased to announce that Mark will be leading an open session of “Beach Yoga” on Sunday morning of the conference, beside beautiful Mission Bay at the Catamaran. Plan to attend and practice with Mark!

After years of serving youth on the edge, Street Yoga in the past two years has expanded its commitment to serve by offering more classes and workshops for those who care for youth. These teachings aim to build an entire community of well-being with and around the young people they have always served. By supporting their parents, guardians, case workers, therapists and teachers, they help the young people by building up the health of their communities.

This work has taken a number of interesting turns –bringing them to serve parents, police officers, and front-line social workers. Most recently, Mark Lilly led a retreat for a group of community health workers from North Belfast, in the UK, a neighborhood with some of the highest levels of violence and conflict throughout all of Northern Ireland over the past 40 years. The training emphasized complete self-care as a form of community leadership, ultimately a seed to helping them better serve their many clients, young and old, Protestant or Catholic, throughout Belfast.

That front-line work has grown out of recent research by senior Street Yoga staff around the correlation between mindfulness and resilience, and between resilience and the healing from trauma. Mark will be bringing this work to staff at the Veteran’s Administration in December, and then to a wide variety of audiences throughout 2012.

One particular audience for this front line resilience work is police officers, with specialized modules currently being developed for them, and connections being made with individual officers in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

This avenue for healing will bring great benefit to communities served, allowing officers to work with less stress, and greater perceptivity to community needs. A pilot is being envisioned in collaboration with San Diego Youth Services, an innovative agency dedicated to helping homeless youth overcome significant challenges throughout the metro area. SDYS already works with police officers, as well as the US Navy, and such a partnership between those groups and Street “Yoga” Lilly says, “will bring more practical mindfulness skills into the lives of key members of our communities, and will allow us an excellent opportunity to seek solutions to intractable and intense civic issues.”

Bridging the Hearts & Minds of Youth: February Conference on Mindfulness with Youth in San Diego

Mindfulness, as a powerful and important means of cultivating health, well-being and equanimity, is nowhere more important than in our work with the young people of our society. Alongside the explosive and transformative growth of mindfulness-based programs for adults, there is a particularly heartening and vibrant effort to bring mindfulness to youth of all ages, in a plethora of settings and formats designed to have a significant impact on the lives and futures of literally millions of young people around the world.

To support and grow this important movement, the UCSD Center for Mindfulness has teamed with Stressed Teens to organize and present a first of its kind conference on February 4 and 5, 2012 entitled Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth: Mindfulness in Clinical Practice, Education and Research . The intention of this conference is to bring together a number of key thought leaders in the field of mindfulness, both those engaged in bringing it to youth and those whose influence extends well beyond that one area, with the hope that the synergy created by such a gathering will provide further impetus to a growing and important field.

Keynote speakers, breakout sessions and half-day workshops will form the structure of this gathering, but the intention is to create an overall atmosphere of connection, collaboration, encouragement, support and innovation that will inspire attendees to continue or begin the work of teaching mindfulness to the young people with whom they work. A full description of the conference is available on the UCSD Center for Mindfulness Professional Training website, but a  few highlights include:

Rick Hanson, author of The Buddha’s Brain and Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time will be presenting a public talk on Friday evening, February 3 entitled “Taking in the Good: Helping Children Build Inner Strength and Happiness” and then will provide a keynote address on Saturday at the conference itself with the intriguing title “Managing the Caveman Brain in the 21st Century”.

Psychologist and well-known mindfulness researcher Amishi Jha will be offering her insights in another keynote address, entitled “From Dazed and Distracted to Attentive and Calm: What the Neuroscience of Mindfulness Reveals”. Dr. Jha will be joining the other keynote presenters, Susan Kaiser Greenland, Pamela Siegle and Chip Wood on a discussion panel on Saturday as well.

Three post-conference half-day workshops will be offered on Sunday, February 5, allowing attendees to deepen their understanding and training in working with mindfulness and youth. Workshops include one by conference co-organizer Gina Biegel, developer of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Teens (MBSR-T); another by Randy Semple, who has adapted Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for children, and a wonderful session on “Nurturing Your Self in Your Work With Youth” offered by mindfulness teacher and holistic physician, Amy Saltzman.

These are just a few of the highlights of this inaugural conference that promises to be literally packed with interesting and engaging speakers, presentations and experiences. Co-organizers Steven Hickman, Director of the UCSD Center for Mindfulness and Gina Biegel, founder of Stressed Teens, hope that this will become an annual event that makes a significant contribution to the field of mindfulness with youth. If you are an educator, therapist, physician, or just a concerned and engaged parent looking to explore how you might integrate mindfulness in your work with youth, you may want to consider joining this impressive lineup of presenters in San Diego at the Catamaran Resort Hotel on February 4 and 5, 2012. Space is limited, register early and receive a $50 Early Bird Discount.