Wash explores yoga in school
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Interim Principal Dr. Carlos Grant plans to help start a program incorporating what he calls “mindfulness and meditation” in order to combat the issues that are facing students in their home and personal lives. This approach would be put into place with the intent that students could spend time in a calm environment to detach themselves from stress and turmoil that they might face outside of the classroom.
Grant said that he plans on incorporating this idea of mindfulness in one of three ways throughout the day. Grant stated that an idea they had regarding this idea of incorporating mindfulness is by holding a class such as yoga in replacement of typical physical education (P.E.) classes.
Starting during the 2017-2018 school year, the district is initiating a policy that outlines limitations on the amount of P.E. waivers a student can have during a school year down to one. Students involved in activities such as show choir, sports, or overwhelming academics may find a mindfulness and self wellness class more of a productive use of their time contrary to the time that they would normally spend in the gym where they might not usually get much substance or self improvement out of that particular class. Some students may also find this to be a less pressured and more relaxed alternative to traditional P.E. classes.
“The training we got really focused on how to use yoga and meditation to deal with trauma and anxiety,” said Dr. Amy Jones, AP Psychology teacher, who took part in the training seminar for the yoga and wellness course and is anticipated to help in leading some of these sessions in the near future.
Jones’ plan would be to hold 30- to 45-minute sessions after school where the ultimate goal would be to be in a calm environment to practice healthy ways of dealing with stress and emotional trauma to the point where a student can use these practices to deal with everyday stress and improve someone’s overall approach on how to live life. “I feel like most high schoolers are way, way overburdened and stressed. I think these types of things can really benefit anybody,” Jones said.
Jones, being a psychology major, says that simple things such as doing yoga and breathing exercises provide some major benefits to your overall health. “In my classes we talk a lot about mind-body connection and we look at the physical and psychological consequences of constant stress. Learning how to do these yoga moves and breathing exercises will stop your headaches, make you sleep better at night, stop your stomachaches, help you with that neck pain then it’s a lot more of a practical thing,” Jones said.
Jones also plans on taking a different approach to the traditional spiritual yoga class that most high schoolers would have in mind when approaching the idea of meditation. “It’s not going to be some hippy-dippy thing. It’s about taking really good skills and information that will improve your mental and physical health,” Jones said.
Grant says the idea behind this is to promote positive culture in the building in a way that resonates with students. “Here’s why this is important, often times administrators and teachers deal with students who make bad choices, and that’s just part of school. But the problem is the student who makes a poor choice and at that particular point in time they aren’t in the state of mind to where they want to or even know how to inform us exactly why they decided to do what they did. The problem is that they aren’t already in the state of mind to where they even want to address the issue,” Grant said.
The issue Grant also would like to address is the fact that some students who come to school everyday and don’t cause disruptions are also struggling constantly with turmoil outside of school that their peers may not even know about.