Former therapist and school counselor, Jennifer Dubow, has been boasting about the merits of yoga for years, claiming that it has the power to reduce anxiety, manage stress and even help control mental health issues. But after attending Kripalu Yoga Center in Lennox, Massachusetts last July, Dubow decided to show people the benefits, by opening her own yoga center—Jen’s Zen Yoga for Kids.
Jen’s Zen Yoga specializes in helping kids of all ages with mental health issues. In classes over five weeks, Jennifer teaches young individuals how to use specific techniques to target and overcome their own unique inadequacies, and to find a place where they’re comfortable with themselves and with others.
Jen starts each class with 10 minutes of visualization, leads into 30 minutes of yoga and ends with 20 minutes of a team building activity. This combination of exercises has proven to be effective in teaching these children new social skills, how to pay attention, focus better, slow down their thoughts, and avoid dwelling on scary or negative emotions.
During their first meeting, Jennifer says the children often feel nervous, and their levels of anxiety are extremely high.
“Even getting them to take off their shoes during that first visit is tough, but they get comfortable with it… and I’m completely amazed by how well the children take to it, and how much fun they have with it. I don’t know why that seems to shock me every time, but it does, and it just adds to the enjoyment.”
When asked why yoga seems to work for these individuals, she says it’s because “they have to work together, and use teamwork and communication, even when they’re in yoga poses! It’s hard to duplicate that in counseling, because it’s one thing to talk with an adult, but something completely different to interact with another child. It makes a big difference to be able to translate what we teach them into a real life skill.”
Jen’s Zen Yoga for Kids is open to children of all ages. Each class is small, with 1-4 children of the same age, and each session is tailored to those children and their special needs. $20 per class. For more information, contact Jennifer Dubow at 419-699-3659 or 419-318-9900. 3335 Meijer Drive, Suite 450, Toledo 43617.