Niroga News - 2014

Prevention and Management of Chronic Diseases

Discussing healthy living, the Mayo Clinic notes: "Stress and Anxiety are everywhere. If they are getting the best of you, you may want to give yoga a try…The potential health benefits of yoga include stress reduction, improved fitness, and management of chronic conditions." Since 75% of our health care dollars goes to treatment of chronic conditions, ubiquitous dissemination of Healing Yoga could have a pervasive impact on our health and well-being, while saving us billions of dollars annually.

Dynamic Mindfulness for Adolescent Health and Well-Being

It was on one of those clear, brisk autumn mornings when people began streaming in for Niroga's Annual Benefit. Attendees gathered at the buffet, and soon the dining tables were lively with conversation over brunch. Niroga showcased school administrators from both Oakland and San Diego, who talked about the transformation of their students and their schools through Niroga's in-class dynamic mindfulness curriculum.

Yoga for Self and World Transformation

Watch a brief message from BK, the Executive Director, on the possibility of changing the world through yoga. "Why would yoga make a difference to the world? What does yoga have to contribute? We spend so much time, so much energy on trying to fix our external environment. In many ways whether its institutions, social structures, governments, leaders; how much time do we spend correspondingly, on taking care of our internal environments?

The Road Not Taken

Many young lives are at crossroads, and the road often taken by at-risk youth leads to crime and violence, guns and gangs, drugs and death.  Yet some choose the road less traveled.  Stacy chose to practice yoga at Street Academy, an alternative high school in Oakland. He chose to join our Mindful Mentoring and Peer Leadership program. He chose to become a member of the steering committee of our Youth Advisory Council.

Catalysts for Youth Development

Mentoring by caring adults has been shown to have a measurable impact on the life trajectories of youth. Mindfulness, neuroscientists have concluded, is essential to mental training for positive youth development.  Niroga integrates both into its Mindful Mentoring program, where vulnerable youth are matched with mentors, who help them develop and sustain their personal transformative practices, enabling healthy behaviors and lifestyle choices.

Yoga at the United Nations

It is not often that a head of state discusses transformative practices such as Yoga at the UN General Assembly, the policy-making organ comprising all 193 members of the United Nations.  Yet that is just what the Prime Minister of India recently did. He said, "Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well being. It is not about exercise, but about discovering the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change."

Transforming School and Classroom Climate

"Darrell" was a challenge! A sixth-grader in an inner-city school in Philadelphia, his teachers felt he was defiant, aggressive, inattentive and impulsive – quite a handful. After Niroga’s one-day Transformative Life/Leadership Skills (TLS) training, the assistant principal, Ryane, felt up to the challenge and tested her training by working with Darrell on TLS. After just a few minutes of mindful movement and rhythmic breathing together, Ryane felt a shift. "It was nothing dramatic, but I could sense a subtle difference in Darrell as he left my office that day," she said.

Comprehensive Program for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning

Even 15 minutes of mindful Action, Breathing and Centering (ABCs) have been shown to have a profound impact on brain and behavior, provided it is done often enough. Researchers have found that even such a brief intervention, done in the classroom thrice a week or more, has measurable impact. As a result of these findings, we designed a TLS curriculum with 48 brief lessons, which could be delivered in an academic semester (three times/week x 16 weeks).

Independent Research Shows TLS works with High-Risk Youth

The Journal of Applied School Psychology in its February issue published a study that Transformative Life Skills or TLS is effective in reducing "anxiety, depression and global psychological distress". TLS has been taught in many schools and alternative schools for over nine years. The study, "Effectiveness of a School-Based Yoga Program on Adolescent Mental Health, Stress Coping Strategies, and Attitudes Toward Violence: Findings from a High-Risk Sample," was led by Jennifer L. Frank, of Prevention Research Center at Pennsylvania State University. [...]

A Life Transformed Through Yoga: Brishana’s Story

Brishana was just 2 years old when her mother was murdered near her home. She moved in with her father, but he passed away when she was only 9. While other youth her age were barely graduating from high school, Brishana was already living on her own and providing for herself with a full-time job. When she was 20, she found a sense of family within a Niroga photo-voice project, which led her to join our Yoga Teacher training program. [...]

Mindful Yoga for Youth in Crisis

Almost every adolescent experiencing a mental health emergency is dealing with chronic stress, traumatic stress and post-traumatic stress. Multiple strands of research including neuroscience, somatic psychology and trauma research show that Mindful Yoga is optimal for emotion regulation.

Yoga Therapy: An Emerging Field

The International Association of Yoga Therapy (IAYT) will be holding its annual research conference in Massachusetts. The Symposium on Yoga Research (SYR) showcases some of the latest research in yoga therapy, including keynote speakers, invited oral presentations and poster sessions.

Compelling Research Results on Niroga Program for High-Risk Youth

In a recent paper published in the Journal of Applied School Psychology, independent researchers studying the effects of the Niroga Transformative Life Skills (TLS) program in an inner-city alternative high school, found compelling results that span major domains of social function, including education, health care and violence prevention.

Effectiveness of a School-Based Yoga Program on Adolescent Mental Health, Stress Coping Strategies, and Attitudes Toward Violence: Findings From a High-Risk Sample

Results of a study that aimed to assess the effectiveness of a universal yoga-based social-emotional wellness promotion program, Transformative Life Skills, on indicators of adolescent emotional distress, prosocial behavior, and attitudes toward violence in a high-risk sample. Research by Jennifer L. Franka, Bidyut Boseb & Alex Schrobenhauser-Clonanc. (Frank, Bose and Schrobenhauser-Clonan, Journal of Applied School Psychology; 2014)

Research partnership brings mindfulness/yoga practices to schools in Middle East

Palestinian educators, health professionals, social workers and refugee service providers recently received training in Transformative Life Skills (TLS) -- a social-emotional learning program that aims to reduce students' stress and promote social-emotional health and physical wellness through mindfulness and yoga training -- from a team of trainers and researchers from Penn State, the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and the Oakland-based nonprofit Niroga Institute.