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Monday, May 20, 2024

Sexual assault victims find peace with yoga

Yoga has been known to improve health and center one's mind, which are attributes the Alachua County Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center hopes to impart to those in need.

The center is now offering yoga therapy to victims of sexual assault.

Along with group-session counseling, victims also receive yoga lessons to learn positions that alleviate stress as well as meditation and breathing techniques to relax them.

"The group session can bring up emotions, causing the women to feel really wound up," said Laura Kalt, a victim-advocate counselor at the center who also leads the group. "It's hard to get back to life, and yoga gives them a chance to clear their mind."

The group meets for two hours once a week for 10 weeks. The first hour is dedicated to therapy, and the second hour is spent doing yoga exercises with an instructor.

In addition to yoga, there are several other "expressive healing exercises," including poetry writing and dramatic readings. Kalt said it helps the victims sort out and deal with their feelings through different outlets.

"It is hard to live normal lives sometimes," Kalt said. "But when you connect to the group, you can start getting back to that."

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