Bend, twist, stretch into the new year


Photo Credit: Sophie Ferreri

Ms. Silleo shares insightful words with her junior class after instructing a yoga class before winter break. She reminds her students to revert back to breathing techniques learned in the class and to have a safe, fun holiday.

by Sophie Ferreri, Senior Staff Writer

If your apathy for a typical cardio or muscle workout keeps you from reaching your fitness goals, you’re in need of an introduction to a new form of physical activity to attain your New Year’s resolutions.

Dr. Kathleen Regan, Director of Curriculumalong with Mr. Frank Violante, Athletic Director, and Mr. John Arlotta, Principal, altered kindergarten to high school curriculum to implement occasional yoga classes during physical education.

“The administration and Physical Education Teachers have been expanding the Physical Education curriculum to include more lifelong fitness activities  over the past several years. As a result, a fitness room was recently created with supporting curriculum,” Regan said.

It just helps me get out of my own head and not think. I never leave not feeling refreshed and calm.”

— Rachel McMahon ('18)

Regan introduced yoga techniques and positions to all physical education staff members over the summer during a staff professional development day. A yoga instructor that she works with in her personal time accompanied Regan. After the staff professional development day, physical education teachers continued to do their own research.

“We were eager to learn as much as possible about yoga because we realized how beneficial it would be for the students and it would be a shame if we didn’t teach it correctly,” Escalante said.

Escalante differentiates yoga from “relaxation days,” when students sprawl out on the gymnasium floor and close their eyes for the period. Both activities offer the opportunity for a student’s mind to detoxify itself, but yoga requires more of a physical aspect that improves flexibility and builds muscle strength. Teachers remind students that outside of physical education yoga classes there are varieties of local yoga studios offering varieties of intensity.

One such variety is hot yoga, an intense yoga class performed in hot and humid conditions

“I just recently got into hot yoga this school year and I’m like basically addicted to it,” Rachel McMahon (’18) said.

McMahon takes these classes at Powerflow, a local studio on Broad Street.

“It just helps me get out of my own head and not think. I never leave not feeling refreshed and calm,” McMahon said.

According to Regan, students have been practicing the positions most commonly attributed to Vinyasa Flow yoga.

“Physically, the practice of yoga can help individuals build strength, flexibility and balance. The meditation and breathing aspects of yoga can help individuals reduce the negative impact of stress and improve focus,” Regan said.

The physical education teachers have already seen an impact.

“We had a sophomore class do a full hour of yoga last week during the first slot of the day, and many people really liked it because it helped them wake up and relax before their day started,” Escalante said.