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Give Back Yoga Foundation: yoga and mindfulness training

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From veterans to the incarcerated and first responders to those recovering from eating disorders, the Give Back Yoga Foundation (GBY) believes the transformative benefits of yoga should be available to everyone. Since 2007, this Boulder-based nonprofit has been on a mission to support and fund certified yoga teachers in serving these and other underserved populations on a grassroots level. GBY shares clinically tested yoga programs with yoga teachers who take these programs into their own communities to help participants deal with trauma and reduce stress.

One such program is Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans. GBY is presenting the 15-hour training for yoga teachers at Boulder’s Solstice Center, January 10 – 12, for yoga teachers wanting to support active duty military, veterans, and their families. GBY is offering 4 scholarships to yoga teachers who are also veterans and want to share this training to support other veterans.

GBY also provides resources for veterans. With “far too many soldiers who return from war never truly coming home, haunted by memories of death and violence,” GBY set a 2013 goal to provide Yoga for Veterans Toolkits to 10,000 veterans. This project has assisted veterans and their families in dealing with post-traumatic stress through yoga and meditation. GBY plans to provide 20,000 additional toolkits by 2015.

GBY is expanding their reach in 2014 to first responders and those recovering from eating disorders. In March 2014, GBY is hosting a Google Hangout for law enforcement officials across the country who are using meditation and mindfulness techniques to reduce stress.

GBY has already raised $50,000 to bring Chelsea Roff’s Yoga for Eating Disorders™ program nationwide. For those struggling with body image and food issues, Yoga for Eating Disorders™ uses yoga and mindfulness techniques to teach how to tune into hunger cues, deal with difficult emotions, and become more compassionate with their bodies. The program is designed to be shared in yoga studios and recovery centers, as well as with private clients. Roff provides her training in Denver, February 28 – March 1, at Samadhi Center for Yoga & Meditation.

In addition to these national programs, GBY supports local programs in the Boulder area. A previous Boulder County Jail inmate was awarded a GBY grant to start the ongoing Boulder County Jail program. This program has expanded to include a weekly Boulder County Jail Transitional program at The Yoga Workshop to reduce recidivism by providing yoga and meditation skills and tools for stress reduction and self-regulation. Denver and Boulder yoga teachers can help GBY by offering yoga classes at other local jails and juvenile detention centers, or by teaching Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans or Yoga for Eating Disorders™.

GBY requires recurring donations of time and money in order to continue to grow these Denver/Boulder, national and international programs. GBY has a strong national internship program, collaborations on the local and national level, and various projects for which short-term volunteers are needed. Certified yoga certified teachers anywhere in the U.S. can offer to teach a monthly donation class, and studio owners can share their space for GBY classes and trainings. If you’re interested in giving back to your local community by becoming involved with GBY, please contact Shanti Medina, Marketing Director.

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