By Karen Billing
Carmel Valley mom Jamie Dicken is doing all she can to help mothers find balance and encourage young “tween” girls to be healthy and happy. Her mother-daughter yoga program “Believe In She” aims to help boost self-confidence and grow stronger bonds between moms and their girls.
Not even a year old, the organization’s classes in Solana Beach and La Jolla have been filling up and their March 3 event, Party for a Purpose, raised $7,500 for City of Hope, a non-profit that supports cancer, diabetes and AIDS research.
“I know that I’m making a difference, that a need is there,” Dicken said. “It brings tears to my eyes. I’m so grateful.”
Dicken, who also works as the vice president of a digital media company, is a La Jolla native who moved to Carmel Valley 11 years ago. The Believe In She movement really started when she started to take her longtime yoga habit more seriously.
At 40, she really started looking at what she wanted for the next stage of her life and she started training to become a certified yoga instructor just for herself—to really understand the philosophy behind the movements.
It was around that time when her daughter Juliette was approaching her tween years.
“I was watching my daughter and I just saw this shift in her when she turned 10,” Dicken said.
“Suddenly my confident, beautiful, amazing daughter was hiding in big sweatshirts, not making eye contact with adults. And I would listen to her friends say things like ‘I’m fat,’ and ‘I’m not smart.’”
Dicken realized that yoga had done so much to keep her life balanced and centered—why couldn’t that work for 10-year-old girls as well?
Through her research she found that young girls’ self esteem peaks at the age of 9 and then “takes a nose dive” and she was determined to do something to shift that self esteem cycle. She became a certified life coach and started Believe In She in October of last year.
Believe in She is broken into four, eight-week sessions looking at topics such as body, voice and power.
The classes include 45 minutes of mother/daughter yoga, led by both Jamie and Juliette, as Juliette was also certified as a yoga instructor for children 8-13.
The class also includes about 30 minutes of discussion on topics like body image, friendships and healthy choices, really allowing a mother-daughter bond to strengthen.
Each class is capped with a 15-20 minute art project—in one class the girls made eye pillows using socks filled with rice.
A big part of Believe In She is journaling.
The girls are prompted for journaling exercises, such as writing about what they are grateful for or what their dreams are. They learn movements that help express what they are feeling, like headstands when they feel joyful and breathing poses for when they are more contemplative. The journals also provides them a “dumping ground” to get out all of their thoughts and feelings.
“I teach the girls to be able to really let our all their emotions when they feel they can’t talk to anyone else about it,” Dicken said.
The girls also learn to set their daily intentions, such as intuition, “I am heard” and compassion, “I am loved.” Believe In She has a special necklace that moms and daughters can wear—they pick the jewel that symbolizes that intention and lock it into the heart of their necklace, giving them a reminder throughout the day.
Two series of classes are running right now at Akasha Yoga in La Jolla and the Center for a Healthy Lifestyle at the Solana Beach Boys and Girls Club. Another class had a full waiting list.
Dicken is also planning a girls leadership camp for the summer and her son Spencer is already pushing for a Believe In He.
The best part about Believe In She is that Dicken was able to find her daughter again. Through the program her daughter has gained the confidence to lead discussions and yoga and at the Party for a
Purpose event last week even spoke in front of a room full of people when before she sometimes couldn’t look people in the eye.
“I was so proud of her,” said Dicken. “She walks tall, she wears clothes that fit her and she’s so confident and happy…I really created this for my daughter but if I’m able to help a wider group of girls then it will be more successful than I ever imagined. And if I’m able to start a movement to help girls all over and shift that cycle, it would be a dream come true.”
To learn more about Believe In She, visit facebook.com/BelieveInShe or email Jamie Dicken at Jamie@believeinshe.com.