Youth of today are under more pressure than ever with record numbers suffering from anxiety, depression and high levels of stress. At SEED, we believe that all change starts from within and strive to run a camp that not only teaches business skills, but incorporates a holistic view about our approach to life.
Many of our students have experienced trauma in their lives, from the loss of a loved one, sexual assault, illness, and poverty with little or no emotional support. When we asked who in the room has experienced depression and anxiety recently, nearly all the girls raised their hands.
It was heartbreaking to see.
With our SEED wellness curriculum, we aim to provide these young women with a tool kit to cope with the above. A tool kit they can take away from the camp and into the world.
Our focus has been yoga, meditation and life skills.
Yoga is fast becoming one of the most popular complementary health practices for teens.
The benefits include:
- Improved fitness and physical health by developing a strong connection to body awareness. Poses help improve balance, strength and flexibility.
- A reduction in stress and anxiety through focusing on breath and movement.
- The development of discipline and self regulation. Yoga has been found to reduce impulsivity, increase patience and improve the ability to regulate attention.
- The encouragement of creativity and improved self esteem by creating a safe and accepting environment to feel more connected to the body. Yoga encourages building flexibility not only in the body, but in the mind as well.
Meditation has recently become increasingly popular with health practitioners as a way to improve emotional well being and combat mental distress.
Studies show that meditation:
- Increases grey matter density in the brain which helps improve memory, empathy and decision making.
- Allows you to observe your own thoughts without judgement and to recognize emotional triggers.
- Increases present moment awareness, lessening rumination and compulsive thinking.
- Decreases anxiety, insomnia and depression.
- Reduces cortisol and the ‘fight or flight’ trigger response to stress, allowing you to see things from a more rational standpoint.
For many of our students, this was their first time taking an inner dive into the world of yoga and meditation. Our resident yoga and life skills teacher, Thembi Jojo, started every day off right with an hour long class followed by an open conversation around peer pressure and self love.
The response was amazing – SEED students flourished over the five day program with many girls saying it was the highlight of their week.
The girls curiosity and willingness to participate in the program was heartwarming, and we are pleased to report that Thembi is still teaching local classes in the community.
With such positive feedback we are expanding our program in 2018 to include a more in depth exploration of self care with Australian yoga instructor Kate Taylor, who has a strong background in International Health. Thembi Jojo will be teaching by her side, and together will combine forces to bring an inspiring and exciting curriculum for students to explore self growth in a safe, supportive environment. SEED will be providing an ongoing Wellness Program so graduates can have regular access to yoga classes, and are able to participate with our online community, having the opportunity to keep learning long after the camp experience is over.