In the overleaf of my book, Yoga on the Yellow Brick Road, I quote the Dalai Lama, “If meditation was taught to every eight-year old, we could eliminate the world of violence in one generation”. My guest today, Beth Reese, founder and owner of Yoginos: Yoga for Youth has taken up that challenge and dedicated her life to changing the world, in exactly that way. Like so many, this life mission was born out of a set of unsettling circumstances. It is said that there is a “bless in every mess”. Despite a very successful career as a professor, researcher, published writer and university administrator, in her own words, two unrelated messy family events took her down this noble, yet completely unplanned path.
She says: “When my 6 year-old daughter started hurling chairs at me in the dining court of the Salt Lake City airport, I knew something was up. I was used to handling her explosive temper tantrums in grocery stores, malls, and other public places—even though I sensed they were unusual for someone her age. But long gone were the days when I could snatch her up and move her to another area of the store or to the car, or shrug it off with an attitude of she’s just a toddler to the glaring shoppers. Beth will elaborate on how this, plus a second major event in her life, led her to her current mission
Now the second part of the story: “When I started Yogiños: Yoga for Youth® I was married to a brilliant and successful internationally-renowned trial lawyer with benefits like first-class international travel, sometimes for as long as a month, a condo in Park City, and a full-time nanny/housekeeper. I can count on one hand the number of times I unloaded our dishwasher in the ten years of our marriage. The adage that money can’t buy happiness rang true and with 4 cars, 3 kids, 2 houses, 2 dogs,1 cat and a desperate desire to feel enough, accepted, and loved, I ended the marriage. She will elaborate on how this would serve as her road-map toward discovering that the enough, accepted, and loved me was there all along. Many thanks, Beth for agreeing to be my guest and share with our listeners, a message that is truly critical to the future of our country.
- The anxiety and depression levels among teens today are truly at all-time highs. In a recent survey, 70% of teens reported mental health to be a big issue in their lives. What are the causes, as you see it and how can your initiative and others like it catch this at an early age?
- You invented something called Flower Power as tool for kids. Some of our listeners of a certain age may think we’re talking about San Francisco in the 1960s or Woodstock, please elaborate on this technique.
- SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) is an acronym that we’re seeing a lot these days when the topic of preparing children for life comes up. Please elaborate on this and why it’s so important?
- I heard someone say recently, “don’t let schooling get in the way of your education”. There is so much emphasis on cognitive learning and the pressure to make good grades that the critical importance of developing the social skills to deal with life gets lost, doesn’t it?
- Your focus, includes parents and teachers and almost anyone who works with kids. Is it important to include the adults in the lives of each child, so they can spot problem behavior, and not brand the child as “problem kid” and just think that punishment is the remedy?
- As you know, Patanjali, said some 1700 years ago, that the purpose of yoga was to “calm the agitations of the mind”. We know from the previous question that the “agitation” is hitting teens at an unprecedented rate. Since your program starts at the Pre-K level, are you finding high stress and anxiety levels even at that early age?
- When “changing the world” given the global epidemic of stress and anxiety seems so important, the quote from the Dalai Lama resonates so well, because once we all reach adulthood, it then becomes a “rehab” challenge, doesn’t it? I think both of us can attest to the fact that it works well in adults, but, often health destroying habits are already in place and have to be dealt with and so many just give up.