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Lions Roar : March 2014
make their own choices. We’re not here to do anything other than remind them that contemplation, wisdom, inner guid- ance, and spiritual practice are all funda- mental ways of transforming your life, and to not give them credence is actually quite foolish. Do we have the best col- lege and career coaching services avail- able? Maybe. But I think the magic is that inner transformation is at the very core of everything we do. What are some entry points to this inner transformation? Every student’s different, but every- one needs to be able to breathe, let go, and connect to their potential through breath. So that’s the first thing we teach them. Grounding practices are the sec- ond. The third is just being in the body. Often, the youth who’ve experienced sexual abuse, who’ve engaged in sex work as part of their journey of home- lessness, or those who’ve experienced a lot of gang violence or physical violence have left their body. The body work we do with them—massage, acupuncture, energy work, yoga—helps them reengage with and heal the body. I’m not inter- ested in yoga for the sake of yoga, but as a part of a process that’s being coached and where there’s a real end? That’s pro- found. That’s where yoga can play a role in poverty alleviation. It seems that confidence—that they have a place in this world, that they have a skill set, that the way they see the world isn’t at odds with the world itself—is key to your students. I think about it as potential. If you’re con- nected with your potential, it’s so differ- ent, right? You’re not homeless because you have no potential, you’re homeless because you’re in the process of discover- ing your potential. So, if you frame home- lessness in that way, it’s an opportunity to really discover through suffering, through challenge, your deeper potential. And the kids are like, “What? Really? This isn’t just the shittiest two years of my life?” [Laugh- ter.] That’s really profound for them. ♦ ® SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2014 22