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Youth Yoga @ GBHS

Tuesday 23 February, 2021 - Tuesday 14 December, 2021

Anahata Yoga Health & Education Trust is delighted to announce its milestone collaboration with Creating Balance NZ and Golden Bay High School to bring the benefits of yoga and meditation to youth in our community.


AYHET is honoured to have received a grant from the Lottery Covid -19 Community Wellbeing Fund to run a Youth Yoga year-long programme initiated by Priyadhara of Creating Balance NZ and enthusiastically endorsed by Golden Bay High School.

Weekly classes have offered a space where youth can learn ways to nourish their being; feel relaxed, calm the mind, feel clear and focused; where they can explore techniques that develop emotional understanding and awareness.

The Youth Yoga programme is a community initiative that aims to support positive youth development through a well-rounded yoga practice that can encourage Rangatahi to connect with and strengthen their capacity to:

  • Increase self-awareness, and a mindful relationship with oneself and others
  • Nourish a healthy, positive mindset and outlook on life
  • Manage emotions and develop distress tolerance skills
  • Cultivate self-care and self-esteem 
  • Unlock their potential and believe in themselves
  • Increase focus and concentration
  • Develop resilience and the ability to make good choices

Read more about the youth yoga initiative in this Golden Bay Weekly Article by clicking here

Creatingbalance_High School-36


“Over the last few years, I have experienced the increase of rangatahi presenting with higher levels of anxiety with behaviours related to increased distress, dissatisfaction, pressure and existential awareness. Rangatahi can struggle with the conflict between fitting in and belonging, adhering to their values under peer pressure and an increased ability to access information via social media and Google. They are deeply aware of the state of the world and some feel hopeless to change or impact their future. 

To create a balance for the anxiety and chaos that many rangatahi experience, I believe we need to engage in other ways to work therapeutically and create greater connections within the school and wider community – e.g. encouraging and developing natural support systems and ways of working to increase young people’s sense of safety and being held and supported. It was important to run a programme at school during school hours which means that rangatahi who live in outlying areas and rely on the school bus for transport would have the same opportunity to access this programme.

Priyadhara has developed authentic and meaningful relationships with the rangatahi that attend her classes – she has created a reliable, safe and nourishing space for rangatahi to learn and develop new skills as well as deepen their awareness of their own ways of being with themselves and others. Working within a busy school environment can be challenging as many activities happen during lunch breaks and Priyadhara provides an opportunity for rangatahi to re-set and step away from the chaotic nature of the school day.”

– GBHS Counsellor Abbey Gilligan  


“The “free” Yoga wellness program was introduced into Golden Bay High School in (February) 2021 as an additional tool to improve the overall health and wellbeing of our students. Students who have been regularly attending Priyadhara’s weekly 50 minute class have reported a sense of peace and spaciousness, and possession of a tool with which they can practise at home. We are incredibly fortunate to have Priyadhara gifting her time and resources to holistically improve the health of our students.”

– GBHS Principal Linda Tame


“My daughter Elizabeth has been attending the yoga class on Tuesday lunchtime with Priyadhara from the beginning but did miss some of the sessions last term. She is now a regular and does not miss a session. She has often mentioned how welcomed she is made to feel and how Priyadhara shows a lot of interest in what she and the others are doing outside of yoga. Elizabeth says that she finds yoga is challenging, but that she is improving on a weekly basis. She is a keen football player and they use yoga exercises in their warm-up, so she is seeing some cross-over with other activities that she does and can see the benefits in football. Of greatest benefit to her is the ability to relax and unwind from the tensions of life….she has often commented how chilled she feels going into period 5 on a Tuesday. The breathing and ability to self-calm are of great benefit to her; it has helped her to be more attuned to her emotions and helps her cope with the stress of daily life. She feels very privileged that she and her two friends have the opportunity to attend yoga with Priyadhara.”

– Parent/Teacher Katrina Robbie


Sannyasi Priyadharabegan to explore and practise traditional yoga, meditation and mind/body energy healing work in her early twenties. She lived, studied and deepened her practice in yoga ashrams in India and New Zealand for many years. During her extensive training, she experienced yoga and meditation as an integral science of the self, a way of life and culture. She offers courses, workshops and retreats; teaches on YTTCs; has worked with youth refugees in E.U. and is currently developing community programmes for youth and mental health in New Zealand.
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