Urban Yoga Foundation (UYF) educates and empowers individuals and communities through a variety of mindful-based integrative enrichment and wellness programs for children, youth, adults and seniors using yoga as a foundation of growth and expression. We promote healthy social, emotional, physical, and academic development through customized mindful-based programs that meet the unique needs of the children, schools, educators, organizations, corporations, and individuals we serve. For over 20 years, UYF has served more than 600,000 people across the globe by designing programs that provide mindful and integrative wellness tools and strategies to manage stress, develop mind- body awareness, foster personal growth and raise health consciousness. These programs can be customized to serve your specific needs and interests based on your site and population. We serve all ages, abilities, backgrounds and cultures as we continue to fulfill our mission of strengthening and uplifting communities around the world. UYF is a 501c3 non-profit grassroots organization run completely by volunteers. All of our proceeds go to keeping mindful practices in urban communities.
What Is Yoga?
The systematic method of healing which uses breath control, meditation and specific body postures to balance the mind and body. Yoga improves the body’s physical and mental health to clear the mind in preparation for meditation.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the intentional practice of enhancing awareness in the present moment with ourselves and our surroundings; using breath as the anchor. Deep breathing exercises and self-reflection allow us to pause and respond constructively to any given circumstance. Combined with yoga and other mindful movement, mindfulness tools help individuals cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and adopt healthy habits.
Why It Is Needed
The fast-paced, goal-oriented lifestyles of our modern world affect children, adults and seniors in many ways. Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and attitudes impact our biological, physiological, mental and emotional wellbeing. This is called the mind-body connection. Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system in the body, causing increased heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. Over time, this activation can lead to a decreased immune response, low self-esteem, depression and isolation (Tummers, Teaching Yoga for Life, 2009). According to the CDC, our children are demonstrating unprecedented rates of stress, obesity, learning issues, school violence and depression. Adults and seniors are facing increasing rates of obesity, sickness, depression and anxiety. Research has shown time and again that the inability to cope with stress directly and negatively impacts an individual’s mental and physical health, and the ability to learn, focus and excel in academic, career, and personal settings. Studies continue to demonstrate that mindfulness practice optimizes the health of children and adults by reducing stress, improving sleep quality, heightening focus and concentration, and improving emotional self-regulation.
Why It Is Beneficial
Research has shown that yoga and mindfulness practiced daily helps individuals to:
- Manage and reduce stress and anxiety while combating fatigue.
- Self-regulate and better understand their emotions.
- Lower heart rate and blood pressure.
- Boost productivity, presence, focus, attention, and memory. Increase body awareness and mental clarity (mind-body connection).
- Improve overall fitness, strength and flexibility.
- Build confidence and self-esteem.
- Be more compassionate, positive, enthusiastic, and energized. Develop coping skills to deal with difficult situations.
For students, this means:
- Increased energy, reduced fatigue and more productivity
- Boost presence, attention, and memory.
- Improved concentration and focus for test and exams
- Be more compassionate, positive, enthusiastic, and energized.
- Decreased stress related incidences such as bullying and isolation.
- Increased cooperation and teamwork skills wihthin the classroom.
For employees and volunteers this means:
- Increased energy, reduced fatigue and more productivity
- Alleviation of physical ailments such as head, neck, back, and other work-related injuries
- Improved concentration and focus
- Increased positivity and morale, which contributes to reduced employee turnover.
- Decreased stress-related sick occurrences and call-outs.
- Increased cooperation and teamwork skills .
For adults and seniors, this means:
- Improved physical fitness, a stronger immune system, and improved overall health.
- A foundation for a healthier lifestyle.
- Increased self-awareness and personal growth.
- Increase self-care and service for others Increased ability to deal with stress and obstacles.
- Opportunities to build and strengthen community relationships.
Youth Mindful-Based Integrative Enrichment Programs
UYF classes bring children together to share in the experience of a full yoga practice while honoring their authentic selves. We have designed classes to enhance literacy, math, teamwork and problem-solving through poses, movement, partner-yoga, breathing exercises, art, music, games and meditation. Experienced instructors carefully scaffold yoga and mindfulness strategies to facilitate learning, self discovery, experimentation, expression of self, and self-regulation according to students’ ages and developmental abilities. Our instructors are also experienced and trained to support children with special needs. Proceeds go to supporting enrichment programs for underserved inner city school systems, where students face increased rates of stress, violence, and trauma.
Adult Mindful-Based Integrative Wellness Programs
With the mission of educating and empowering communities to be proactive about issues affecting their health, UYF’s adult programs address the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of individuals and their relationships within their communities, teams, organizations, and corporations. Proceeds support programming for low-income and underserved seniors and adults with disabilities who have limited access to health and wellness resources.
- Professional development trainings and workshops that focus on stress management, staff development, health and wellness, productivity and teamwork.
- Professional development training for people and organizations that work with at-risk and traumatized youth.
- Children’s Yoga Teacher Certification training for professionals that work with children and youth.
- Yoga and mindfulness classes for individuals, groups, businesses, and organizations.
- Yoga and mindfulness classes for populations with special needs.
- Programs for sports teams to increase athletic performance both physically and mentally.