Just in Time Wellness Service Offers Holistic Healing
JIT wellness intern and certified Yoga instructor Katie Skouse leads free yoga classes for participants.
Every other Wednesday evening, Just in Time Wellness Intern, Katie Skouse can be found unfurling yoga mats, and arranging foam blocks and straps for stability and stretching. A certified yoga instructor, Katie used to teach hot yoga and other high flow styles. Now she prefers the slower more intentional pace of Hatha.
When Just in Time participants arrive for Katie’s class, they can expect an energetic series of downward dogs and warrior 1s before melting into poses that they will hold through many breaths and with great intention.
The mental health benefits associated with Yoga are well documented. In addition to the endorphin boost provided by exercises like running or strength training, Yoga has been shown to ramp up the brain chemical gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) associated with better mood and decreased anxiety.
For former foster youth, who are 2 to 4 times more likely to suffer from lifetime and/or past year mental health disorders compared to their peers, Yoga can be a powerful tool on their mental wellness journey. A small number of studies have even shown yoga to help with post-traumatic stress disorder, helping to reduce traumatic memories.
Halfway through the class, Katie asks her students to loop a nearby strap to the ball mounts of their feet and lift their legs high into the air. From ground level, the youth gaze past their toes at the perforated ceiling.
“What does this pose do?” someone asks.
“Well, it sends blood flow to the brain,” Katie says, “And it also helps shift your perspective.”
During Savasana, a participant in the back row becomes so relaxed he falls asleep. The rest of the class giggles as they sit up and bow their heads to Namaste. There’s no judgement here, just healing vibes.
Unlike trendy yoga studios that command upwards of $20 a class, the classes that Katie offers to JIT participants are completely free! All they have to do is show up ready to flow.
“I use a holistic approach including breathwork and embodiment exercises to empower people to overcome negative emotions and create a life with more freedom and more joy.”
Katie Skouse- JIT Wellness Intern from Alliance University, Certified Yoga Instructor