Crim community yoga promises mental, physical health benefits

Crim community yoga promises mental, physical health benefits

Many have had the experience of driving home from work, pulling into the driveway and having no recollection of trip. The mind was on “auto-pilot,” thinking about the day’s events or maybe tasks that needed addressing later.

The practice of mindfulness is regarded as the opposite of auto-pilot and it has far-reaching health benefits, including reducing stress and improving concentration. Importantly for many Flint children, whose health and emotional development have been of greater concern since the city’s water emergency, the practice has other advantages, too.

Mindfulness incorporates the standard yoga mental, physical control and balance techniques, and has been positively received among students and families.

“Studies have shown that mindfulness can mitigate the impacts of lead, especially with children’s brains because they are still developing,” says Canisha Norris, who leads outreach and community engagement with the Crim Fitness Foundation’s Mindfulness Initiative.  “Mindfulness helps to create more neural pathways, or connections, in the brain, and the more pathways you have, the better. Mindfulness – just paying attention to one thing and being focused – helps that.”

Yoga, which Norris calls “mindful movement,” is an extension of the concept of mindfulness.

The Crim Fitness Foundation, with funding from Community Foundation of Greater Flint, is harnessing the potential of mindfulness practice, along with mindful movement, offering it to students in local schools. Yoga taught in the community through the Crim is a secular program not tied to any religious practice.

“You get the same brain benefits with the added benefit of healthy movement,” says Norris. “We encourage physical activity and getting moving for a healthy lifestyle.”

The Crim has engaged more than 18,000 children and community members during training, events and school-based learning through the mindfulness initiative.

At Brownell K-12 STEM Academy Norris, who is a yoga instructor and mindfulness educator, observes the program benefits.

“There aren’t any other yoga places on the north side of Flint, so the class gives people access to yoga and mindfulness practice who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity,” Norris says.

Apart from school-based programming, community yoga is offered at various locations like Brownell and the Crim’s office downtown. A packed house of up to 50 guests fills the lobby.Children are welcome to attend community yoga with their parents, who can participate in exercises and training similar to what’s offered in schools.

If increased funding becomes available the Crim Fitness Foundation hopes to make mindfulness and mindful movement available to the whole community.

“We would like to expand these services across Flint,” adds Norris. “We are in the schools trying to appeal to the students, teachers and parents.”

For more information about the Crim Fitness Foundation’s Community Yoga program, visit or stop at the Crim to attend a free, monthly class session.

Community Yoga Sites:


Community Yoga every 1st Wednesday of the Month

Once a month 5:15-6:15pm

Crim Fitness Foundation

452 S. Saginaw St.

Flint, MI 48502


Community Yoga (North) every Wednesday

Every Week 4:30-5:30pm

Brownell STEM Academy

6302 Oxley Dr.

Flint, MI 48504


Community Yoga (South) every Thursday

Every Week 5-6pm

Southwestern High School

1420 W. 12th St

Flint, MI 48507


Mindful Monday every 2nd Monday

Once Monthly 5:15-6:15pm

Crim Fitness Foundation

452 S. Saginaw St.

Flint, MI 48502







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