Oakland Teen Credits Yoga for Helping Turn His Life Around

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    NEWSLETTERS

    An 18-year-old Oakland resident credits yoga for helping him save his life. Cheryl Hurd reports. (Published Friday, Jul 25, 2014)

    For an 18-year-old African American teenager, surviving in Oakland is not always easy.

    "Where I'm from, there's a lot of way to get caught up," said Stacey James. "Like drugs, gangs. I could easily get guns."

    James, who just graduated from high school, said he was heading down the wrong path in life and was using drugs to help pass the time. He also was robbed at gun point.

    The teen was on the brink of throwing his life away when Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley heard his story during a speech.

    O'Malley was able to get James a job at the county's Family Justice Center, where he helped launch a yoga program.

    "I wanted yoga cause I was stressed, depressed, traumatized and hurt. I was messed up," James said. "I was a messed up kid."

    James said his introduction to yoga in high school changed his life. He practices yoga at home before work, sometimes during breaks and in the evening. He credits yoga for helping him focus and work toward his goals.

    He plans to go to junior college in the fall and continue working part time at the justice center.