Letter from Gloria
By Gloria O’Shea - SOSF Founder and President
The Sean O’Shea Foundation will soon be celebrating its 8th Anniversary. In the past eight years we have worked hard to reach over 13,000 at-risk children with full scholarships for our empowering youth programs, serving economically disadvantaged schools, at-risk kids, and kids with cancer. We have built on Sean O’Shea’s legacy by focusing on teaching skills that help kids develop self-regulation and self-compassion that create positive life changes.
We believe in making a difference. We believe every child should believe in their own potential. We believe economic and cultural factors should not be barriers to accessing mindful practices. We believe in the connection between families, schools and communities.
Research data for our participants in our programs shows increased compassion, improved confidence, emotional stability and peaceful attitude. Our SOSF team of volunteers and yoga teachers work hard and will continue to support California youth in developing self-regulation and self-compassion so they become more resilient and have confidence in their own potential.
Thank you volunteers, yoga teachers, Board of Directors, supporters and funders…thank you for believing in us and the work that we do in Sean’s name. ~Gloria O’Shea
BUILDING PEACE THROUGH MINDFULNESS AND YOGA
By Liz Fautsch, Co-Chairman of Youth Committee & Yoga Teacher Liaison
When schools close for summer vacation, the Sean O’Shea Foundation doesn’t just lollygag around. We look for other organizations to partner with.
Last summer, the Foundation widened its community of collaboration with a yoga workshop for Hands of Peace. This Chicago-based non-profit brings together teens from Israel, Palestine, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the U.S. to dialogue about the Middle East conflict, building bridges of understanding at a critical point in their lives - before their opinions harden into the often rigid views of their respective communities.
Scott Silk, director of the San Diego chapter of HoP, practices yoga himself and felt that it would be a great way to release the tension that can build up during the daily dialogues. Participants have a full schedule each day, but in a post-program survey our yoga workshop was so popular that Scott asked us for two sessions this year.
For myself and my co-instructors, Pete Hurley and Nina Payne, this was an awesome responsibility. Here was a chance to introduce kids, who live in one of the most conflict-ridden regions on earth, to a practice that helps to create inner peace - a quality they will need in spades in order to continue the work they’ve been exposed to through Hands of Peace.
We began by tuning into the breath, noticing thoughts arising, and returning to the breath. Our basic asana practice emphasized elements of a simple sun salutation they could practice on their own. From this fairly serious and calm state, we moved into one of general hilarity when everybody partnered up. Back-to-back breathing and twisting, linking arms and standing up together elicited high fives and shouts of triumph. Standing in a circle, we supported each other in tree and warrior III - bending forward and back. Nobody fell!
At the farewell banquet, a young woman from the Palestinian Territories, whom I remembered as one of the more tentative participants, gave a speech for her delegation. She talked about the restrictions on simple freedoms in Palestine that Americans take for granted. When her school was shut down she had to sneak over to her teacher’s house, defying a curfew, to continue her education. Then she spoke about all the new things she’d been exposed to during the program that she’d never expected to enjoy - like yoga! It was all I could do to keep from shouting out “WooooHooo”! In a small, but significant way, the Sean O’Shea Foundation had contributed to world peace! Back to Top
“WHAT A PERFECT TIME TO BE A YOGA TEACHER”
~ By Amber Savage (Reporting from our Los Angeles Schools)
My experience teaching the football athletes at Los Altos High School has been incredibly rewarding. There are over 60 athletes in the program. Going in, my intention was to teach the traditional Ashtanga lineage as practiced by Sean O'Shea himself and to share the message of the Sean O'Shea Foundation (Resilience and strength through self-knowledge and compassion), that I so strongly believe in and love.
I had no idea what to expect of these boys, all I knew is that I would love and respect them each and treat them as if they were my own teenagers, integrating self-discipline where necessary. From the beginning they surprised me with their attentiveness and respect. I sensed in the first class, an immaturity, but as I progressed through the knowledge, the breathing techniques and postures, an incredible transformation occurred within them.
A pivotal shift occurred when I shared Sean's video with them, I could see the profound respect and admiration for Sean in their eyes. I feel so thankful and so blessed to be able to share his vision with them.
Currently each class I share with them is based on their energy and muscle soreness so they are able to receive a well-rounded practice. The coaches are incredibly grateful and mention on a regular basis that the rate of injury has reduced profoundly for the entire team.
The boys share with me how they look forward to yoga each week. I've also heard wonderful feedback on how yoga has improved their relationships, schoolwork, concentration and athletic performance. It's truly a beautiful time to be a yoga teacher. Back to Top
This is a picture of the early summer group. Come July, the team triples in size. Good luck to the Los Altos Varsity Football Team this season! We will be rooting for you!
“PASSING THE TORCH”
A Letter from Jenny and James Bouwer
March 14, 2005 the doors opened to the Four Seasons Yoga Studio thanks to Sean O'Shea! Since his passing in December of 2006, Sean O'Shea's legacy continues through the work of the Sean O'Shea Foundation.
I became the owner of Four Seasons Yoga in February 2008. It was a dream come true and an honor to take the torch from the O'Shea family. For the past 7 years I've enjoyed growing this amazing yoga community as all of you!
Now, after many months of contemplation I have decided the time has come to pass the torch to someone new, awesome and dedicated. It has been an honor, and overall, a true learning experience to say the least. I am full of gratitude not only for the opportunity but for getting to meet and practice yoga with all of you! This is not a good-bye, it's just a new chapter for me as I am excited to continue teaching classes at Four Seasons Yoga and taking classes too, so I hope to see you
on the mat. http://fourseasonsyoga.com
And now for the GOOD news ~I am excited to announce the new owner of Four Seasons Yoga Studio, Mandy Van Buren. Needless to say, Mandy is very excited, motivated and blessed to step up into this role. We've been working together for several months now to make this transition graceful and smooth. I feel confidant Mandy's heartfelt love and enthusiasm for yoga is meant to be and I look forward to seeing all that she will create and add to the space!
Six weeks left to participate in the Toddler Yoga Camp…every Friday from 10-11am. Yoga Teacher Mandy will donate 50% of the proceeds to the Sean O’Shea Foundation.
~Yoga Rocks the Park FINALE– Sunday, September 13 Benefiting the Sean O’Shea Foundation!
click the link above and scroll down to the September 13th date benefiting the Sean O’Shea Foundation – All the O’Shea family will be there! Come do yoga and visit. This is a family event, register early for the kids’ yoga and receive a free SOSF t-shirt (to the first 25 children who sign up)
~Coming October 17th from 2-4pm
Yin Yoga with Sylvi Clatt and a restorative yoga with Sharon Dawson
~1 hour of yin yoga, ~1 hour of restorative yoga, accompanied with the singing bowls.
Location will be the Sattva yoga Center in Escondido owned by Rached Maloof
More information on this workshop coming soon!
~ Special Event Coming September at Dang Good Yoga
Stay tuned for more information Back to Top
Special THANKS to our 2015 Ambassadors who have been busy raising funds for the at-risk youth we serve in their communities:
If you have one hour per week or 10 hours per month…we are looking for YOU!
Be a volunteer yoga teacher or assistant in the classroom – 1-2 hours per week
Be a project volunteer – 4 hours every other month
Be a Board member – 40 hour per year
Serve on a committee – 20 hours per year
Get as involved as you like. Any volunteer accumulating 40+ hours is invited (With a guest) to our annual Volunteer Appreciation luncheon. Contact us today: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (760) 966-0987 Back to Top
NEW SOSF BOARD OF DIRECTOR - HEATHER GRAFF
Heather Graff started her yoga practice in 1998 at North County Yoga Center with teachers Trish O'Reilly, Sharon Webb and Valerie Innes - looking for relief from postpartum depression. For the next nine years, she practiced in the style of Viniyoga. An injury in 2007 brought Heather back to Valerie Innes for private instruction to rehabilitate her body through yoga. Seeing the benefit of a regular yoga practice to the body as well as the mind, Heather decided to pursue a Hatha yoga teacher-training course through Willows Yoga with Sherry Schreck in 2010.
Heather brings her unique and eclectic teaching style to her yoga classes. Heather has also completed Yoga for Trauma Training and is a 2014 graduate of the Prison Yoga Project Training. She is also a supporter of Yoga for Hope, benefiting the City of Hope. In addition to teaching Hatha yoga, Heather is a dive master, music lover, and a motion picture trained make up artist. “Community and social service is so important to me. It is a privilege and an honor to be a part of the Sean O'Shea Foundation” ~ Heather Graff
Welcome to the Sean O’Shea Foundation family, Heather. Glad you are on our team! Back to Top