Each month, Brianna Schiavoni works with children in the Gainesville, Florida area on issues such as depression, dyslexia, and bipolar disorder. What she has found is that by contorting their bodies and lowering the volume of their minds, their symptoms subsided. This effect is what Schiavoni likes to call the healing power of yoga.
The 34-year-old is a mental healthcare counselor, clinical social worker, and yoga instructor. Through her business, Yoga 4 Youth, she is able to concentrate her passions into a one program that helps local children achieve balance in their mental health.
Schiavoni hopes that her business can be a source of relief to parents and caregivers who are often to spread out to have the resources that their child needs for their condition.
“I hope to continue to build a community that is interested,” she said. “I feel very strongly that it takes a village to raise a child.”
Schiavoni’s classes concentrate on the practice of mindfulness; this type of meditation allows her students to focus on being in the present.
Furthermore, through the utilization of yoga poses, games, and discussion in her classes, she teaches her students how to create “ups” when life has them feeling “down.”
Schiavoni has stated that all of her students find improvements in their social, motor and communication skills, along with their self-esteem, through her yoga infused mental health program and parents are noticing a difference as well.
Christine Miller has a 7-year-old son, Hayden, who has shown symptoms of attention deficit hyperactive disorder and through Schiavoni’s yoga therapy has been able to stay focused in school and control his emotions.
Miller said that even though they have tried other forms of therapy for her son, yoga therapy has proven to be the most effective when it comes to Hayden’s success in the classroom. She also stated that this form of therapy allowed her son to practice what he learned at home, providing him with around the clock stress relief.
Being surrounded by other children who have their own struggles makes Hayden feel a little more comfortable.
“Instead of being the odd one, it’s nice for him to feel normal for a while,” Miller said.
Schiavoni hopes that through her work she can spread the use and benefits of yoga therapy in the mental healthcare community.