Information about media center yoga

Information about media center yoga

Madysen Krug, Writer

Media center yoga takes place in Rebecca Moore’s women’s fitness and conditioning class every Wednesday with Rachael Hassell and Fenton High’s therapy dog, Sunny. 

Yoga is known to have numerous benefits. The American Osteopathic Association listed the following benefits of yoga: “increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, energy and vitality, maintaining a balanced metabolism, weight reduction, cardio and circulatory health, improved athletic performance and protection from injury.” 

Aside from all the physical benefits, there are several mental benefits of yoga as well. According to  Dr. Nevins from The American Osteopathic Association, “Stress can reveal itself in many ways, including back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, drug abuse and an inability to concentrate. Yoga can be very effective in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life.”

Senior Keira Chaffin, who partakes in Moore’s fitness class, enjoys doing yoga with Hassell and Sunny. 

“Yoga makes me feel very relaxed and calm, especially during stressful weeks with lots of tests and assignments,” Chaffin said. “One of the most relaxing parts is the guided relaxation because I am able to feel so connected and aware of my body. It’s definitely something I look forward to doing each week in Mrs. Moore’s fitness class.” 

Hassell not only teaches FHS students yoga, but also participates in yoga classes outside of school and at home. 

“Yoga itself is its own form of practice; however, it is also a mindful practice,” Hasell said. “Because we are doing yoga at a public school, it is important that we keep it secular (non-religious), so we practice what is called Hatha Yoga, yoga that focuses on breath and movement. This is both mindful and stress relieving in many ways. First, when we practice yoga “on the mat” we are focusing on our movements and listening to our bodies. This can transfer to our time “off the mat” or general life by practicing listening to our body’s needs in all situations: eating, drinking, sleep, device/social media usage, quality time with others, etc.” 

While doing yoga, the human body naturally relaxes and feels an urge of release from everything going on. 

“I find yoga to be extremely stress reducing,” Hasell said. “When I am focusing on my breath and my movement, I am being truly present. For the time I am ‘on the mat’ I am pushing out stressful thoughts, to-do lists, etc. and I am just focusing on my yoga practice, or matching my breath to my movement and paying attention to my body and its needs. This also transfers to my time “off the mat” because it gives me the practice to focus on the moment, not what is stressing me out, as well as take care of what needs to be taken care of in the right moment.” 

Yoga also focuses on one’s breathing and makes you aware of your body. 

“In general, practicing breathing exercises, like the seated or standing breathing postures reduces stress in our physiological body as well,” Hasell said. “When our breathing slows and becomes calm, deep and deliberate, it signals to our brain and other parts of our body (like heart rate, muscle tension, etc) that we are calm and safe. That is usually why right after we do a breathing exercise, even if it is only for a few seconds, we feel more calm and grounded.”

“The relaxation posture or body scan as we sometimes call it too, is also really great for many reasons,” Hasell said. “Most of us do not slow down enough to take time to go inward and check in what is happening in our bodies or even just rest. This can lead to chronic stress and health issues. It is really important to spend even just two to five minutes every day or so to pause and reflect on where we hold tension, anger, sadness and other emotions that, if undealt with, can lead to general unhappiness.” 

 “I have personally found that the more I utilize this form of the yoga practice, the more I can tell when I am starting to stress because I have been paying attention to my body for a long time. I notice when I move from relaxed to tense or stressed, and the other way around. So when I am tense, I can feel it and start breathing and stretching a little to calm down and not let my emotions take over.” 

Overall, yoga is a great addition to Moore’s fitness class where all students can learn more and be informed on how beneficial yoga can be.