Gro is different
We don’t just teach gardening, we teach mindfulness and empower our clients to take these lessons into everyday life. We don’t just teach yoga, we show clients how to spot emotions as they arise, and manage them to reclaim inner peace. We are using gardening and yoga to create better parents, better workers, better neighbors.
The Gro Gardens
The Gro farm is located in the Fairfield neighborhood of Huntington, WV. What was once two dilapidated houses became a healing space for people to gather, learn, and serve their community. The City of Huntington Urban Renewal Authority donated the half acre to Gro in August 2016, and it is now a full agricultural operation. Every week, hungry Huntingtonians come to the farm and harvest fresh food at low-to-no cost through the Grab ‘n Gro Program.
Physical labor connects people to their bodies, a welcome change in a world where most of us are “in our heads” all the time. Nature-Assisted therapies that involve labor in contact with the earth is a proven recovery tool. Gro clients check-in emotionally and physically before each workday and use their time to practice mindfulness, the process of focusing the mind to be in the present moment. Clients also manage community events and market produce, learning job skills and building social capital. When reflecting on their community service, clients often cite a phrase commonly used in AA literature: “give back what was freely given.”
Emote Yoga and Personal Growth
Trauma-informed yoga is a powerful tool for victims of assault or abuse. Fusing ancient wellness principles for connecting to breath and body with empirically proven techniques, Emote Yoga helps students reclaim their inner power by reclaiming their bodies. Neuroscience and psychology are beginning to make startling discoveries about trauma and how it is housed in the body. Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., Medical Director of the Trauma Center in Boston discusses the effect of trauma on the body:
“We have learned that trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain, and body. This imprint has ongoing consequences for how the human organism manages to survive in the present. Trauma results in a fundamental reorganization of the way mind and brain manage perceptions.”
Van der Kolk and his associates at the Trauma Center have been studying and perfecting trauma sensitive yoga for years, and Emote Yoga utilizes their principles in combination with personal growth teachings to build emotional intelligence with their clients. Having worked in drug recovery, prevention, and with abused and neglected girls, Gro Huntington provides Emote Yoga and Personal Growth to direct service organizations who seek to help their clients overcome trauma and rebuild healthy connection to their own bodies.
Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is vital to success in an individual’s inner and outer world. EQ is a better indicator than IQ on whether a person will be successful, and any rehabilitation program needs in-depth emotional intelligence development to facilitate client success. In Emote Yoga, as clients are becoming reacquainted and grounded with their bodies, they are learning emotional recognition and regulation. Once we understand what we are experiencing, we can act without being reactionary. Since EQ has an internal and social component, clients at later stages begin to use the safe space of the yoga class to relate to one another through leading movement, partner yoga, discussion, and sharing, thus building empathy and breaking down codependent coping mechanisms.