Along the Live Be Yoga tour, we’ve witnessed some of the most incredible yoga destinations throughout the country. In honor of National Yoga Month, here are 5 spots that we found to be particularly unique, from the elementary schools in Flint, Michigan, to prison yoga at San Quentin State Prison.
1. Flint, Michigan
One of the first truly special places we visited on the tour was Flint, Michigan. There had been a lot of negativity about Flint in the news (thousands of children may have been exposed to drinking water with high levels of lead), so to take a different perspective, the Live Be Yoga tour decided to focus on how the Crimm Fitness Foundation was incorporating yoga into local elementary schools there. What we quickly learned was that the news hadn’t captured one of the most important characteristics of this town: the warm and passionate community. It’s easy to make judgments of a place before you visit, but the children, community leaders, teachers, and parents in Flint are very proud of where they live.
2. Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
At Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, we met veterans who had experienced tragedy in more ways than one, and we couldn’t imagine what they had gone through. Luckily, these men and women have the opportunity to take yoga classes. It allows them to rebuild strength where it was previously lost as well as repair some symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was incredible to see just how yoga had changed the way these veterans approached their lives.
3. Turning Point Recovery Center
The Turning Point Recovery Center in Burlington, Vermont, is a safe haven for those recovering from drug and alcohol abuse. We made this particular recovery center a stop on our tour because the leaders have implemented a yoga program that has taken a very strong hold. The Center created the program in order to give their community a safe, judgment-free place to meditate and heal minds from the inside out. We spoke with some students who couldn’t imagine recovering without having been introduced to yoga.
4. Meeting Kevin Pearce of the Love Your Brain Foundation
Later on, we ventured to Bend, Oregon, where we were introduced to Kevin Pearce, a former professional snowboarder who experienced a traumatic brain injury. He shared with us how yoga has been an instrumental method for healing his body as well as his soul. With the help of his brother, Kevin created the Love Your Brain Foundation, an organization that brings yoga to traumatic brain injury sufferers throughout the country.
5. San Quentin State Prison – Prison Yoga Project
Our most recent stop was to San Quentin State Prison to meet with the founder and director of the Prison Yoga Project, James Fox. It is extremely rare to gain access to a prison like San Quentin. Some of the incarcerated men had practiced yoga for over five years, and could clearly communicate how yoga has changed the way they approach their lives. Yoga’s benefits are always clearest when someone takes a negative situation and turns it into an opportunity for growth.
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