When Hughes met Susan Lovett, the director of Hands to Heart Yoga, a volunteer-run organization that offers yoga classes to underserved populations in Boston, at a fundraiser last year, the two decided to join forces. They realized that hosting Hands to Heart yoga classes at Brookview House would give residents another avenue for coping with feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.
While plenty of the residents were eager to try something new, some were hesitant at first. Still, the women were encouraged to try a class and see how they liked it. “Our purpose at Brookview is to give residents the opportunity to experience something they may not have tried before,” Hughes says. “They practice new skills, which helps them incorporate the skills learned into their lives once they leave Brookview.”
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The free classes quickly caught on. Weekly sessions are held in the evenings at Brookview House. “It’s a nice, tranquil transition to the family bedtime routine,” Hughes says. Soft lighting, LED candles, essential oils, eye pillows, and mats and blocks transform the space into a studio environment.
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And it's not just the grown-up residents who are reaping the benefits. During the classes, children spend time in an adjoining room where they can play while their moms practice. “They're attracted to the calm in the moms’ space, and start to mimic the routines,” Hughes says. “We had children’s yoga classes in the past, and this reminded us that we should resume them.”
Attending the classes has helped Bones learn to improve her posture and focus on her breathing. But even more, she’s gotten better at managing her stress. “It’s helped me learn how to relax my body and my mind,” she says. “I would recommend yoga to women, men, and children so they could have the same experience I had.”