A juvenile court magistrate is sentencing kids to yoga class in Larimer County. It doesn't address the problems of those who are going home to poverty, abuse and addiction but it does give them a space to focus on themselves without outside pressures, even if it's for a short time.
FORT COLLINS - Eric Campbell was not particularly enthusiastic when he learned that, as part of juvenile drug court, he would have to attend weekly yoga sessions.
"I thought it was crap," he said, quickly apologizing for his language. "It wasn't going to help me. I was just going to go and mess around."
Six months later, the 18-year- old feels differently.
"It's cool," he said. "It's like a mental and physical thing. Right now, I wouldn't know what to do without it."
His concentration was evident he and 14 other teens followed the direction of yoga teacher Cathy Wright.
She asked her students to keep their spine straight, roll their arms in and breathe.
"You come to yoga to learn to relax your tensions, but you have to be able to perceive it to relax it," she told the young men, who are all dealing with some form of substance abuse and were ordered to attend the class by Magistrate Mary Jo Berenato.
A year after Berenato became the juvenile magistrate for the 8th Judicial District and took over juvenile drug court, she launched the yoga program.Rocky Mountain News.