This isn’t a story about goat yoga or dog yoga or even beer yoga. This is a story about plain old yoga.
But what makes this class different — and less gimmicky — is that it’s being taught in a Dallas Independent School District after-school program.
When Ebony Smith started doing yoga, there were no studios in her neighborhood, so she started Yoga N Da Hood.
The program eventually made its way into 27 schools, including B.H. Macon Elementary, where nearly 30 students walked into the gym recently, rolled out yoga mats and did some simple poses.
While Smith was telling the students to breathe in and out, music therapist Xavier Mitchell gently played West African drums. Smith also teaches coping skills to deal with life’s ups and downs.
“They talk about how relaxed they are, how de-stressed they are, or they didn’t know it was going to feel good, or how hard it might have been,” Smith said.
Now, thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Dallas Foundation, Smith is looking forward to training 300 more teachers to help expand the program from 310 to nearly 3,000 students.
The philanthropic foundation chose Smith’s program as the 2019 recipient of its Pegasus Prize, recognizing nonprofits that address community needs in innovative ways.
“The tools to practice self-love and a healthy lifestyle should be accessible to all our children,” Matthew Randazzo, the foundation’s president and CEO, said in a written statement. “The Pegasus Prize will enable Yoga N Da Hood to expand their programs by training and certifying other educators and after-school providers in their Mindful Movement programming.”
(Article written by Tommy Noel)