As we mentioned in our last email, Street Yoga is shifting to using the language of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to talk about traumatic life stressors. We're dedicating this email giving you a little more information about what ACEs are and why they matter for Street Yoga and our communities.
In 1995 the Center for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente studied 17,000 Kaiser patients regarding childhood abuse, neglect, and exposure to other traumatic stressors, and looked at their health outcomes. Their research findings showed that as exposure to toxic stress before the age of 18 increased, so did the individual's risk for health problems such as alcoholism, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, STDs, adolescent pregnancy, drug and tobacco use, and suicide. The CDC made a list of these traumatic stressors and called them Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
This might seem like grim news for a holiday season letter, but know that yoga offers hope! By offering yoga and mindfulness classes to youth with three or more ACEs (the large majority of the population Street Yoga serves) we are reaching young people at a critical time in their lives and offering them a toolkit for self-directed healing, regulation and grounding.
The benefits of yoga for youth are grounded in research, and span the physical, mental, emotional and relational spheres (visit our website for the entire list). In our classes with young people we hear about the benefits of yoga first hand. One eight year-old girl shared that now, after taking Street Yoga classes,
"When I am upset or anxious I will put my hand on my heart
and just listen to it beat."
Another participant told us,
"When I feel like I am being carried away or that I am out
of control, I stop and press my feet into the ground,
so that I can feel myself firmly on the earth."
We hope that you are touched by Street Yoga's heart for youth with ACEs, and inspired by our mission to make the benefits of yoga and mindfulness available to those who need them most. Please consider making a contribution to helping us continue our work in 2016. We have provided five levels of giving on the lower right hand side of this email so you can see the impact your gift can make.
Our wish for you this season is for you to breathe in lightness, peace and hope, and that you exhale joy.
Everyone at Street Yoga