It’s no secret that the media isn’t kind to girls. From unrealistic, Photoshopped pictures of women in fashion magazines to overtly sexualized images of tweens and teens on television and in movies, many girls grow up with diminished self-esteem, believing they’re neither pretty enough nor thin enough to hold worth in our society.
Enter Kids Yoga Instructor Jen Hess and her GirlPower! program, designed to help girls in 4th and 5th grades focus on personal strengths and self-empowerment, instead of the negative media messages surrounding them.
“Girls this age are at a confusing stage in their lives, “ says Jen. “My goal for this yoga-centered program is to help them increase their level of self-awareness, channel their feelings, and connect those feelings to actions and words.”
In addition to yoga, each girl will be given a book for journaling, and will create an individual magazine to capture the positive messages learned in class.
“I want to affect change in girls’ lives before they hit high school, and absorb the baggage that comes from strong peer influence, and influence from the opposite sex,” Jen stresses. “Girls need to learn how to recognize and trust their own voice, to choose wisely when something doesn’t feel right to them, and to be confident enough to do so. This program will absolutely help with this.”
As a longtime yogi, a certified instructor of children’s yoga for the past 4 years, and the mother to a young daughter, Jen knows firsthand how yoga can foster feelings of self-empowerment and trust. Yoga has been transformative in her own life, and she is passionate about giving kids the same opportunity to find ways to manage stress and how to listen to—and nurture—their bodies and minds. She hopes to teach girls in her GirlPower! program how skills learned on the mat can translate into their everyday lives, a topic she often covers on her yoga-inspired blog, karmaspotkids.com.
Each class will begin with 45 minutes-to-1-hour of yoga, followed by discussion and writing in journals. The class will be a safe space where girls are encouraged to talk freely about their feelings without fear of judgement. Jen, who holds an MFA, will then assist each girl with the creation of her personal magazine.
This amazing program is open to Midtown members only, and girls are encouraged to reach out to their friends and invite them to enroll. I wish my own two daughters were old enough for this program. Clearly, they believe they’re ready now.
GirlPower! takes places on Sunday afternoons from September 9th through October 28th from 4-6pm in Yoga Studio B. The cost is $140. Membership is not required.
Contact Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mind/Body Director Randi Lattimore at email@example.com with questions. And to learn more about the benefits of yoga for kids, click here and here.
If you have a daughter in 4th or 5th grade, the lessons she’ll learn in GirlPower! will prove invaluable for her as she navigates through the confusing and often negative world of our media-driven culture. We hope to see her (and her friends) in class.