Post Content

By Heather Wise

For the past year, boys involved with the Department of Youth Services (DYS) have experienced the transformative effect of yoga. A new yoga program has become an integral part of residential life at Casa Isla, one of DYS’ secure residences for adolescent boys located in Boston.  In just one year, the pilot yoga program has shown some very positive outcomes. After a month of the program’s inception, not a single incident of assault or restraint has occurred for any of the yoga participants. Testimonial from all DYS clients at Casa Isla reflect participants’ greater self-awareness and the belief that yoga practice has been beneficial and tremendously useful — both on and off the yoga mat. They also indicated an interest in continuing their practice once they re-integrate into their communities.

According to Theresa Conti, Program Director at Casa Isla, DYS clients have noticed changes within themselves.  Many have shared that they have discovered an ability to slow themselves down, clear their minds and/or be able to calm themselves more readily.  More recently, Casa Isla residents practicing yoga have begun making a point of coming to yoga when angry or frustrated and found that when they do, they say they feel better and recognize the value and calming effect of yoga practice. Clients also report that after doing yoga stretches they experience a kind of release –  a positive feeling – and that they are using yoga more to alleviate bad moods.  They also say that the practice helps them feel that they can get through something difficult, ultimately building their self-confidence. Kids who participate regularly notice that there are days when they can do more and days when they can’t. Alluding to greater self-awareness they say they are, “noticing differences in themselves.”

Overall, the experience of offering yoga to boys at Casa Isla has been overwhelmingly successful. The program was made possible through a generous grant from the Romano Family Foundation DYS recently learned that this grant has been extended through 2012, and the agency looks forward to continuing to offer these opportunities to clients at Casa Isla.

Heather Wise recently completed a Communications fellowship at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services

 # # #

Written By:

Recent Posts

A Summer of Friendship and Growth posted on Aug 22

A Summer of Friendship and Growth

Shannon Curtin’s second summer in the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Urban Youth Collaborative Internship Program (UYCP) was spent, among other things, leading a dance party for two at Resources for Human Development, Boston, Inc. Curtin who grew close with one particular individual, said she   …Continue Reading A Summer of Friendship and Growth

Coffee and a Familiar Face posted on Aug 11

Coffee and a Familiar Face

Braintree’s Rick Swan, who is legally blind, runs a small coffee shop in the lobby of One Ashburton Place in Boston – home to many state agencies including EOHHS. Swan started running the shop with his wife, who is also legally blind, approximately four years   …Continue Reading Coffee and a Familiar Face

A New Hope for Women with Addictions posted on Aug 8

A New Hope for Women with Addictions

The second phase of the Women’s Recovery from Addictions Program (WRAP) in Taunton opened in July, 2016 officially closing the chapter on the day when women with substance use disorders are sent to prison for treatment. State officials who recently toured the new unit including Governor   …Continue Reading A New Hope for Women with Addictions