IYT helps under-served communities


  Children traumatized by violence, low-income kids expressing themselves through writing, Spanish-speaking parents, Russian immigrants, U.S. veterans  – all these are experiencing yoga thanks to Iyengar Yoga Therapeutics (IYT).

      IYT is putting teachers into under-served communities in Los Angeles and Riverside through ongoing classes and workshops.

       On Aug. 19, certified Iyengar Yoga teacher Carmen Fitzgibbon and Arlene Zeichner, principal of Zeichgeist, a digital media advisory practice, will team up for a yoga and writing workshop at 826LA, an LA non-profit that inspires students ages 6-18 to develop creative and expository writing skills. Carmen will provide the yoga; Arlene will help with the writing.

        This fall, weekly classes resume through Children's Institute, Inc., for children ages 7-10, with Vanessa Doan. The institute serves children dealing with family and community violence. Julie Adler and Kishor Stein have taught previous classes.

        "We're focusing on . . . letting out energy in a positive way" after school, said Stephanie Argueta, program coordinator at the Otis Booth Campus in Central Los Angeles. "It centers them, gives them a different perspective on how to be active."

        When children are first assigned to the one-hour yoga classes, there's some "pushback", she said. After a while, though, she hears from parents about how the children have changed their minds: "They started teaching them (the parents) what they learned in their yoga class because they like it so much."

        Classes were conducted for parents at St. Patrick School in North Hollywood all spring and will resume in September. 

        “I love giving to those in need and those who wouldn't otherwise find yoga,” says Yvonne Caro Caro, who teaches in Spanish at St. Patrick School, which serves students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade in North Hollywood.

        “They all seemed surprised in the first classes at how good they felt after class. And they have continued to show up,” Yvonne says.

         Vladimir Nekrasov has been teaching Russian-speaking seniors at West Hollywood low-income housing.

         Iyengar Yoga Therapeutics provides a teacher and props, and the site recruits a minimum of 10 students and provides prop storage.

         Since December 2015, IYT has been supporting once-a-month classes for U.S. veterans and active duty military taught by Christie Hall at FUN Yoga Studio in Riverside. Classes are scheduled through the end of the year on Aug. 13, Sept. 10, Oct. 15, Nov. 12 and Dec. 10 and will continue in 2018.