To complement its already robust therapeutic recreation program, The Barry Robinson Center (BRC) is adding yoga and other mind-body connection activities.
Emily Levy, CTRS, the newest Recreational Therapy team member, recently became a certified yoga instructor for children and teens.
“I have been practicing yoga for almost a year now. It became my new Covid hobby, and it really helped me cope with the daily stress and fill up all my time!” Levy said. “I decided to become a kids yoga teacher because I witnessed firsthand the effect yoga has on the mind, body, and soul. Teaching yoga allows the child to develop another coping method, teaches social skills, and regulates their energy in a positive way.”
Levy certified through Always-At-Aum Teacher Training. The 20-hour program provided her with tailored education to teach yoga and mindfulness for children and youth ages 3-18.
Yoga provides many benefits. At BRC, Levy will use yoga to help residents develop positive self-esteem, manage emotions, set and achieve goals, show empathy for others, and handle stress. During group sessions, youth will learn how to properly breathe, meditate, and practice a variety of poses.
“Learning at a young age how to properly breathe, meditate and exercise is crucial for success,” Levy said. “By implementing these activities for our children, we’re giving them more coping skills to combat the daily stressors and triggers that have an impact on mental wellness.”
Levy joined BRC in July 2021. She first heard about the center during her sophomore year at Old Dominion University when she contacted Director of Activities Allyson Hagan, CTRS, for help with a class assignment.
“After coming to campus and learning about the program I fell in love. I was so excited to see an RT job open because I love what BRC stands for. I love being a part of a treatment team that truly works towards the success of the residents,” Levy said. “BRC works to help the children reach their full potential by providing techniques for coping and strategies for overcoming obstacles.”
Prior to joining the BRC, Levy completed an internship at the Spinal Cord Injury Unit at the VA Medical Center in Hampton, Virginia. She’s also worked in adapted sports. At ODU, she worked with the Mighty Monarchs program, an adapted sports program for youth who have spina bifida or cerebral palsy. Levy also recently returned from a trip to Alaska working with Camp Webber doing adapted sports and recreation for youth with visual impairments.
“BRC and the RT department have been the best. I look forward to coming in every day because I get to do what I love at a place that I love!” Levy said. “Seeing the kids every day and being able to see their growth throughout the days and weeks is amazing.”