COMPENDIUM OF PROMISING PRACTICES TO REDUCE VIOLENCE AND INCREASE SAFETY OF ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN CANADA – COMPENDIUM ANNEX: DETAILED PRACTICE DESCRIPTIONS
INTERACTIONS WITHIN COMMUNITIES
Healthy Relationships: Children and Youth
- Program name:
- Target Group:
Boys and Girls (ages 6 – 11)
- Contact Name:
Started September 2008. The yoga program started with two groups of four girls. Now it offers up to eight classes per week.
- Goals & Objectives:
To teach, through yoga, relaxation and calming down techniques to youth that will encourage students to trust their self-correcting abilities and maintain a balanced life, reducing vulnerability to violence and abuse.
- Traditional/Indigenous ways:
Yoga is accompanied by traditional Mohawk cultural teachings such as the Creation Story to reinforce cultural knowledge and pride in self through the learning process. The sessions also utilize cultural music such as Native flute music. As well, the Mohawk language is used in mantras during the sessions. Each session begins with a smudge and a talking circle that allows any student to talk about anything that concerns them.
- Components of program:
The program seeks to teach yoga to students with the aim of helping students develop tools and skills that will help them control their own behaviours and approach life from a place of calmness and balance. It includes affirmations and uses guided visualization to teach them mind/thought control and to be able to create peace and self-worth with positive visualization. Students are encouraged to connect with their true inner self. Students are advised that violence of any form is unacceptable.
- Services/How they work:
Services are provided at the participating schools.
Funding is provided through the school that participates in the service.
Relationships and Stakeholders
- Involvement of Target Groups:
The program is beginning to work with some of the parents of the students to help them to remain calm and balanced when parenting their child.
- Other relationships:
Parents of participating students.
Details of Program Evaluation
No evaluation has been completed.
- Highlights of Evaluation Findings:
- Measures of Success:
Success is measured by the number of referrals given out by program staff with regard to behavioural issues.
The main accomplishment has been to give the students tools through yoga to cope, be more mindful and to self-regulate their behaviour by being aware of their "triggers", and by paying attention to changes in breathing and heart rate. Each student in the past three years that has participated in the program has claimed it has helped them to be better individuals and more peaceful people.
The brief length of time to be able to teach yoga to all students in the school has been challenging. Space is also a challenge, the yoga room is small, and can service groups no larger than 6. Teaching larger groups and having the space to do so in a circle would be ideal.
Things to Know to Replicate
- Replication Advice:
The program is considered replicable. An individual would need to have a background in yoga, and then become certified as a yoga teacher. This individual would need to have a strong knowledge of their culture. An open space in which to practice yoga is very important. Cost, salary, yoga mats and props, toys, music, etc. Whatever the teacher desires and how creative they are will determine the needs and costs of materials.
Adequate funding for materials would be needed; as would finding organizations that would be willing to partner with the program to allow it on their premises.
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