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Boys and Girls Club begins new Mindfulness Matters yoga program

Courtesy Photo Above, instructor Amanda Boboltz, center, poses with students in the Mindfulness Matters yoga class at the Boys and Girls Club of Alpena.

A grant from the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan’s Youth Advisory Council has made it possible for a new yoga program at the Boys and Girls Club of Alpena.

Members can now participate in Mindfulness Matters, a structured, authentic yoga program aimed to achieve a higher sense of self-awareness through the practice of yoga. Yoga accomplishes this through deep, slow, rhythmic abdominal breathing, which relaxes the nervous system and calms the mind, encouraging participants to focus on themselves in the moment.

Over the last decade, yoga and other mindfulness practices introduced into school curriculums have shown to reduce impulsive behavior, depression, and anxiety among students. The incorporation of Mindfulness Matters into the Club’s regular programming aims to build self-esteem, reduce stress and impulsive reactions, and help members become more mindful of their decisions and behaviors.

“The unfortunate reality is young people today deal with a tremendous amount of pressure and anxiety, both at school and at home,” said Boys and Girls Club of Alpena Executive Director Bradley Somers. “That can lead to depression, low self-esteem, and even unpredictable behavior in some. At their age, these kids haven’t yet gained the life experience or maturity necessary to appropriately navigate such overwhelming feelings. Through Mindfulness Matters, we are trying to equip them with the proper tools to help.”

Mindfulness Matters is guided by local yoga instructor Amanda Boboltz, and is for members ages 8 and older.

Currently, it takes place at the Boys and Girls Club of Alpena on half days and no-school days as well as once a week during the Club’s summer session beginning in June.