Taking the Edge Off with Yoga
An excerpt from Taking the Edge Off with Yoga
They don't always have an outlet to cope with it, but one junior high school in the Reynoldsburg School District, is offering yoga for the first time as an elective class.
- Much of the anxiety junior high students experience comes from family, academics and the ability to make and keep friends
- An elective yoga class offered at a junior high school in Columbus is providing a calming support for students
- Currently, Waggoner Road is the only school in the district offering yoga to junior high students
It aims to help take the edge off and relieve stress for students like 13-year-old Makalya Howard.
Each day she looks forward to coming to her yoga class Waggoner Road Junior High School.
She said she feels like the class has given her a new start.
"I feel like my attitude became more positive since I started yoga," said Howard.
But her mornings didn't always start out this way. In fact, they were tough.
"I would probably have a panic attack in the morning and I would be really bummed out all day and just really upset for reasons I probably didn't know,” said Howard.
“I would probably have a panic attack in the morning and I would be really bummed out all day and just really upset for reasons I probably didn't know.”
- Makalya Howard -
When she'd get home from school, it didn’t get any better."I'd usually just go in my room and just like cry. That's all I used to do," Howard said.
That’s because Makayla suffers from anxiety.
Social Worker, Amber Knight says, she along with guidance counselors see at least 80 percent of Makayla’s peers struggling with the same thing, in addition to depression and suicidal thoughts.
They add, that much of what students deal with comes from issues with family, school, and the ability to keep or make friends.
For Makayla, her biggest challenges were with academics and Dyslexia. She says, it was so bad that she was failing a bunch of classes at the beginning of the year.
Makayla is just one of many students with these types of challenges.
But she's not alone.
13-year-old Johnathan Tackett has had his own share of struggles.
He says, he didn't just have moody Mondays, but moody weeks. That’s because he says he was getting bad grades.
“I had a really good friend for a really long time recently just kind of leave me,” said Tackett. “So, that really left me really stressed and really upset and then like in yoga it's just easy to release it all."
Many students like Johnathan and Makayla appreciate this class, especially at the beginning of the day, with the help of teacher Jessica Lewis.
“She just brings so much happiness and joy into that class and it makes me feel like set free or free," said Howard.
“She just brings so much happiness and joy into that class and it makes me feel like set free or free.”
- Makalya Howard -
Right now, Waggoner Road is the only school in the district offering yoga to junior high students.
School counselor, Tammy Wallace and teachers, see the difference it’s making.
“Teachers have said, you know I've seen some improvement, in grades just due to their self-confidence and when they're taking a test...maybe their test anxiety isn't there as much, which is a huge benefit,” said Wallace.
And now it’s got more students hoping to take the class next year instead of PE, which is a bonus for those who struggle socially, according to the school’s social worker, Amber Knight.
“It gives kids too, that don't necessarily love PE and that might give them some social anxiety, a different option to be active and to be just at a calmer state," said Knight.
With the school year just about over, Makayla's Howard’s smile is brighter now that she's gone from failing classes to making all A's and B's by taking it one day at a time.
While she isn’t sure what things might be like today if it wasn't for her mom and others supporting her and recognizing her challenges, she’s grateful for the changes that have taken place.
In the meantime, the school hopes to add more yoga classes next year, so more students will have the chance to take yoga throughout the day.
Taking the Edge Off with Yoga
BY TONISHA JOHNSON
Johnson, Tonisha. "School Yoga Class Helps Students Take the Edge Off." Spectrumnews1.com. 10 May 2019. 13 Aug. 2019 <https://spectrumnews1.com/oh/columbus/news/2019/05/06/school-yoga-class-helps-students-take-the-edge-off>.
Rachel Wixey & Associates
I resonate with this news segment because in today's society, young students are facing issues that we may never know about. Our children spend a majority of their day at school to get an education that will guide them through life. Why not learn about themselves and how to find peaceful solutions to life's most difficult problems?