Fifty people came together on Saturday, November 3 at Power Yoga Canada Oakville for the first ever Jam for Joy in support of CameronHelps. Jennifer Dwyer, yoga teacher and board member for CameronHelps, planned the event to raise awareness and reduce stigma around teen mental health problems.
“As someone who really struggled with depression and anxiety in high school and university, I know how isolated and alone these teens can feel,” Jennifer said. “Yoga was instrumental in my healing and played a big part in where I am today. I wanted to share our mission at CameronHelps with the yoga community, because I believe that they are so closely related.”
This event was a way for the community to come together and take a stand for teen mental health. Some participants have had a personal struggle with these issues, while others know someone who has. Everyone was united with one intention, to show these teens that they are not alone. The hour-long class, where students practiced to music, focused on creating hope for those living with depression and anxiety.
Power Yoga Canada student, Lindsay Hyslop, started practicing yoga over a year ago. She says she “started doing yoga as a way to get into shape and improve my flexibility. Now the mental benefits far outweigh the physical. It’s a place where I can escape my busy mind for an hour and just breathe.” There is no arguing that yoga and mental health go hand-in-hand. Most new students come to the studio to see physical results, like touching their toes, and as they continue to practice, they see that yoga is really so much more than that.
Lindsay attended the event because it is a cause near and dear to her heart. “Not only have I struggled with anxiety and depression but people very dear to me have as well. Yoga is the one thing that can give me hope when I am at my very lowest. I think physical activity is so important for everyone.”
And that is what the 50 people that came together at the event did. They moved their bodies and showed up powerfully to support people who have suffered or are suffering from mental illness. Lindsay says, “I don’t think that people realize just how common anxiety and depression really is. Jam for Joy created a sense of awareness in everyone who participated. It was a really touching event for an amazing cause.”