Born out of the need for a dedicated yoga studio on the Aviva Family and Children’s Services premises, Rajashree Choudhury–yoga teacher, motivational speaker, and advocate for youth and women’s causes—collaborated with the non-profit to create a peaceful practice space.
Prior to meeting Rajashree, Aviva High School (part of Aviva Family and Children’s Services) had been teaching yoga to at-risk Angeleno teen girls in a makeshift space, making it difficult for students to relax and focus. With the help of Rajashree’s daughter, Laju (also a yoga teacher), two former storage rooms were overhauled and converted into a serene setting. The color palette was chosen for its warmth and symbolism. As Laju explained, “Reds and oranges represent energy and the sun, which hold a symbolic meaning when practicing yoga. Sun salutations are traditionally done at the beginning of the class to bless and energize one’s practice until the very end.” She chose specific mandala artwork for the wall décor; they hang on acoustic panels that insulate the studio. Rajashree outfitted the space further with Flotex flooring, durable yoga mats, yoga blocks, and straps.
Completed in June, the Rajashree Choudhury Yoga Studio has been embraced by students and will continue to empower them with yoga’s positive health benefits.
From the Aviva website “From the warm orange glow and gentle music that fill the air to the cushiony-soft Flotex floor, the Rajashree Choudhury Yoga Studio is a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. For the girls at Aviva High School (AHS), the yoga studio is more than a space for relaxation; it’s a place to heal. Yoga helps the girls overcome the pain and trauma of abusive childhoods and violent neighborhoods. In addition to physical benefits, such as improved posture, flexibility, and circulation, yoga also provides numerous emotional benefits such as reduced stress and improved focus, mood, and attitude.
The yoga studio was made in collaboration with Rajashree (Raj) Choudhury–yoga teacher, motivational speaker, and youth and women’s advocate. Raj wanted to bring yoga to the abused and neglected girls at AHS, but saw that there was no appropriate space at Aviva to practice yoga. Two storage rooms were remodeled into the yoga studio, which was designed by Raj’s daughter, Laju. Laju meticulously selected the mandala artwork for the walls, acoustic panels, and the color palette of reds, oranges, and yellow undertones for their warmth and symbolism. “Reds and oranges represent energy and the sun, which hold a symbolic meaning when practicing yoga,” Laju said.
Currently, the yoga room is in high demand; classes are held four days a week, twice a day. Yoga is offered as a physical education elective with approximately 6-8 girls participating in each class. Aviva has partnered with Uprising Yoga to implement a curriculum specifically designed for at-risk teen girls. Aviva would like to thank our former board member Greer Saunders for connecting Raj with Aviva, and we would like to thank Raj and Laju for their time and generosity. The Rajashree Choudhury Yoga Studio will serve as an important hub of learning and healing for the girls at AHS for years to come.”