Pioneer High School offers yoga for students in grades 9-12. The class curriculum includes the practice of yoga with techniques to help support students in both academic settings and life. This consists of breathing techniques, relaxation techniques, centering activities, meditation, community building and postures. These skills help build healthy lifestyles and awareness of self. Students also learn skills to understand their emotions and realize they are in control of them.
This not only helps them at school but in life as well. Stress and anxiety are an issue for many teens, so students learn techniques to lower both their stress and anxiety levels.
Many students at Pioneer start each morning with yoga, helping them to become energized and open to learning throughout the day. The current class focus is to be present at all times and set goals.
By being present we learn to respect the individuals around us and the subject of learning. Bringing students into the present moment — the most basic requirement for learning.
Putting down the phone and giving time to the person in front of us teaches respect. Students focus on the lesson, tuning out all other distractions.
Goal setting is another major part of the class. Students must set goals at the beginning of class and create a plan of action to achieve their goal. When one goal is met, another is set. Students discuss carrying these skills into the real world as students transition to the workforce or post secondary schooling.
The benefits of practicing yoga are endless. Yoga is beneficial to our health and mind. Being part of students’ journey with yoga and seeing their awareness and understanding reach fruition is exciting. The students are strong with self-assessment, a skill which helps them self-evaluate and improve on their individual needs. Self-assessment and goal setting are helpful skills in and outside of the classroom.
When the students were asked what they gain from the class a variety of responses were provided.
“Yoga helps me to have goals in my life,” said McKayla Fortner, a junior at Pioneer High School.
Ashley Alexander responded with, “Yoga has me think about my health and body.”
Cheyenne Knigge stated, “Yoga helps me concentrate.”
Another student mentioned, “Yoga helps with my anxiety.”
We hope these skills carry through in their lives. One of the best pieces of feedback from a student about what the student perceive as an important part of taking this yoga class is the student has a happy and safe place to go to each morning. That’s a start to the student’s intrinsic desire to learn.
You can learn more about the connections of yoga and brain science at the following link: http://learnsuperbrainyoga.com/evidence/index.html.
Tanya Long is a teacher at Pioneer High School Teacher and yoga instructor.