Yoga has long been a passion for Oak Bay resident April McNeil. She started by taking classes, eventually making the transition from student to teacher.
Now, as a registered yoga teacher at Heart of the Village Yoga Studio in Oak Bay, she’s made it a goal to work closely with Oak Bay’s youth. Her favourite part about teaching yoga is the progression people make.
“I just love watching people fall in love with yoga,” she says.
McNeil hosts a workshop for Oak Bay’s youth to create a learning experience she hopes will have a strong impact on young teens and tweens.
“Young people can really get caught up in what’s going on out there. It’s important for them to find a healthy way to deal with life’s stressors,” she says.
The Empowered Youth workshop aims to give young people the tools to deal with the difficulties of growing up, as well as the ability to create healthy relationships.
In addition to yoga instruction from McNeil, the event features speaker Dr. Rosalind Monteith, a psychologist who will discuss how to create and maintain healthy relationships. Monteith will also discuss confident communication, what to look for in a friend, setting personal boundaries and moving away from unhealthy relationships.
Two sessions are planned Saturday, Aug. 27. The first runs from 10 a.m. to noon for youth age 11 to 13, and parents are welcome to attend the speaker portion of the event for this age group. The second session is from 1 to 3 p.m. for teens ages 14 to 16.
McNeil says the decision to allow parents for the younger group but not the teens comes down to maturity. “It’s more appropriate to allow parents to participate in the discussion with the tweens,” she says.
With September rolling around, and school right around the corner, it can be a tough time for students. Some teens may be starting a new school or entering a whole new situation, and may faced with the challenge of making new friends which can be hard for some. McNeil hopes the workshop will serve to give these youths the confidence to thrive in these situations.
McNeil hopes Empowered Youth will become an annual staple in the Oak Bay community and that it can be built upon and expanded for years to come.
“I just wanted to create a safe environment for these kids to have a discussion and to also expose them to a kind of physical activity where they move out of the body and into the mind in a healthy way,” she says. “Yoga can be extremely beneficial for young people, helping to redirect thoughts and calm the nervous system. Through this work we begin to build a strengthened internal perspective, developing a healthy self-image free of media and other environmental influences.”
Cost of the workshop is $80 and pre-registration is required. For details visit openstudioyoga.ca.