Yoga as an everyday survival skill: "Street Yoga" is taking yoga to places where it's needed most

We are 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."

About the Author

Mark Lilly

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.