New Yoga Program Seeks to Help Survivors of Domestic Violence

A new yoga program, in the Los Angeles area offers help for survivors of domestic violence. Yoga has been found to greatly reduce anxiety and depression, which often strikes people who have been subject to intense emotional trauma, and yoga can often help erase the lingering trauma from stressful experiences.

This week a non-profit organization called The Boulevard Zen Foundation Inc., began offering yoga classes at The Good Shepherd Shelter, a shelter for survivors of domestic violence in Los Angeles. The aim of the program is to improve the lives of the many women and children at this shelter and be a model for future programs.

The program is the brainchild of actor-filmmaker and yoga teacher, Rich Tola, the founder of The Boulevard Zen Foundation. The idea for the foundation was conceived prior to his film “Boulevard Zen”, which follows the story of one man who manages to touch the lives of many through yoga.

“We are delighted to bring the positive powers of yoga to the families of The Good Shepherd,” Tola says, “and our goal is to establish a fun, educational, and challenging yoga program for all mothers and children; one that can be duplicated in shelters throughout the world. We’re working with the shelter to implement a truly unique program that addresses coping skills and new lifestyle initiatives for all residents.”

Rich Tola is inspired by his belief that yoga has the power to change lives. He has also realized, through the process of creating, Bobby D’Angelo, who is the main character of “Boulevard Zen” and a child of domestic violence, that survivors of domestic violence are in need and can benefit from yoga. Tola’s inspiration found expression when he took a trip to The Good Shepherd Shelter to drop of donated clothing from the cast and crew of “Boulevard Zen”. It was then that he decided to create The Boulevard Zen Foundation.

Studies have shown that yoga can help combat depression, anxiety, and improve overall health and well-being. In addition, the U.S. army has been using yoga for post traumatic stress disorder to treat veterans with great results.

There will be three different classes offered for children of varying age groups at the shelter, and a weekly yoga class for their mothers that targets specific needs. A class for both mother’s and their children will be taught once per month, and will offer an opportunity to come together and strengthen the family connection. For more information on The Boulevard Zen Foundation go to

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