Watts youth yoga group changes lives, one breath at a time

By Paige Jarvie Brettingen

Disheartened by the rising teen incarceration rates in California, Y.O.G.A. for Youth was founded in South Central Los Angeles by Krishna Kaur in 1971. image Reaching out to kids through schools and detention centers, the yoga program teaches them how the power of their breath can ease anger, frustration and stress.

With a background in martial arts and yoga, Joe Jackson became both an instructor and mentor for sixth graders at The Watts Learning Center- the first school to participate in the program. Two years later, the students still remember the yoga poses and are anxious to start practicing again.

imageStudents practicing yoga.

Though the students will not receive yoga classes again until the summer, Jackson visited last month, encouraging them to participate once the program starts again at their school and reminding them that “stepping up to do the right thing” will reward them in the future.

In addition to its outreach in Los Angeles, Y.O.G.A. for Youth now has programs in New York, North Carolina, and Mexico. To learn more about the program, visit www.yogaforyouth.org.