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The 27-year-old yoga teacher founded The Human Plant Project, to deliver yoga and mindfulness programming to under-served communities in New York City.
“What greater reward is there than to teach young people, as their petals unfold,” says Layden.
In her journaling and meditation classes, “I have them write 'hot letters,' to someone they’re really mad at. Their thoughts stay in their journal, and they’re able to release anger in a healthy way,” she says.
Since many of her students don’t feel safe in their home surroundings and bodies much of the time, Layden uses a method called sensory counting to help them achieve a state of calm.
“I ask them to lie down in Savasana, and imagine a place that makes them feel really peaceful – outside at a beach or at grandma’s house. Next, they write down five things that they can see, hear, touch, feel, and smell in that location. I try to show them a way that they can find peace in their own minds,” she says.