Soul Warrior Program
There is a formidable body of evidence regarding the efficacy of mindfulness and yoga related practices in the support of positive maturational development and increased resilience in adolescent males. The problem is that getting this target population, especially "high risk" adolescent males, to engage in these practices appears to be an insurmountable challenge.
Practices often prove unsustainable in a manner that provides a critical dosage - a dosage that bears the fruits of an embodied awareness in participants, and is observable in meaningful ways in their lives.
The Soul Warrior program seeks to meet these challenges by applying principles and methods specifically designed to appeal to the target audience of adolescent males, with an emphasis on young men of color with a history of high risk behavior.
The Soul Warrior program is developed and delivered by Martin Francisco Muller, the founder of Polaris Education and Guidance Services Inc., an agency providing a menu of well-regarded professional development training for adults, and wilderness and adventure education for youth, since 1995.
Martin is a former adolescent treatment program director, and is certified in several related communication, development, and leadership methodologies, including integral meta-theory, ontological coaching, NLP, as well as being a yoga teacher.
Soul Warrior Principles
I. EMOTIONAL REGULATION: Emotional regulation is a primary key for self regulation and becoming a responsible man. Lack of competence in emotional regulation is the primary force driving compensatory behaviors such as violence, substance abuse, and even dropping out of school. Emotional regulation can be directly taught through body-based practices such as breathing, movement, posture and concentration.
II. MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVE TAKING: The ability to adopt multiple perspectives is a fundamental step in personal growth, including empathy and (self) compassion. There are four key elements in this development of the self: introspection, interior awareness, perspective taking, and the viewing of connective patterns. This perspective-taking sequence can be taught and and strengthened though the use of techniques adapted from wilderness, drama, and narrative therapy disciplines. For example, adolescent males can learn how to take multiple perspectives on their own "hero's journey" into manhood.
III. CULTURALLY RELEVANT & DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE: In order to attract, and more deeply engage the target participant population, the program uses developmentally appropriate and culturally relevant means.These means include:
the power of the "tribe" or peer group
rituals and rights of initiation
focus on developmentally attractive issues of personal "power"
role playing adventure frames
"gameification" elements included in the process
heroic and archetypical metaphors (such as the “hero’s journey” and the identity of
being a “warrior”);
the use of local and indigenous leaders; attention to multiple intelligences,
communication, and learning styles;
the use of evocative music and other mood inducing rituals to create a dramatic
state experience as a powerful attractor for ongoing practice.
“For me the world is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable; and my interest has been to convince you that you must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous time.”