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Yoga in Schools

Today I found something that makes me even madder than the people who stand in my way on the sidewalk when I’m running towards them. In fact, I’d say this makes me exponentially madder. Parents are suing a school system in California because the school system is offering yoga classes. Yes, you read that correctly. A school system is being sued because they offer yoga. The reason being…. it is a violation of church and state. I think my face just turned a new shade of red.

This issue is personal to me because on any given day I see gang signs being thrown around, I hear horrible, horrible language, I see kids not try because they are afraid of failure, and I see kids not knowing how to deal with emotions so the choose negativity instead. With all of me being, I believe these kids need yoga and that they need meditation in their lives to help connect with who they are as a person.

A short definition from Wikipedia describes yoga as being a commonly known generic term for physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines which originated in ancient India. Discipline. That word really sticks out to me. We expect our students to behave in a disciplined manner but do we help them get there? Do we teach them how to discipline the mind or the spirit? No. Nobody taught me and my curriculum certainly does not include lessons on training the mind or spirit. But isn’t that something we could all benefit from? Yes, and that is what running and my occasional yoga practice have taught me. Discipline and strength.

I love my students. No matter how many times they make me want to cry or my blood boil, I still love them.  The one thing that always amazes me, is that no matter how bad a person may seem, when given the opportunity to openly express emotions and see goodness in the world, their entire outlook on the world changes. We have to remember that children are human beings too, and they experience the world just as we do. The feel hurt, they feel angry, they feel love, they feel sadness, and they feel happiness. Why try and take something away that helps bring the mind, body, and spirit together? I want my students to know what running, yoga, and meditation have brought to my life and how they have helped me grow as a person. Every morning during my planning, I roll out my yoga mat for a few yoga poses. If I didn’t, I’m know sure where I would get the strength to finish the day.

And to add one more thing… I started a wellness club this semester because my students begged me to start it. They actually requested Friday morning yoga at 6:30 am and what is even more surprising is the kids who you would least expect to try a downward dog, were they ones most interested. They don’t want to be angry and bitter. They just need a chance to experience something different.

Happy Trails, Happy Running, and Happy Yoga Poses ;),


Recovery Update: My legs continues to feel better and I am becoming more and more optimistic every single day. Today I went to the gym and got in a nice cardio workout on the bike. Oh bike intervals, how I’ve missed thee. I will add that it was nice being at the gym. I missed some of my gym buddies.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. I bet your students think you are an awesome teacher and an inspiration. I am sure your starting the wellness club will inspire even more students.

    February 22, 2013
    • Thank you Regan! If anything, they think I’m the crazy little lady who speaks Spanish and talks too much about nutrition and running 🙂 And I do my best to inspire them. I’ve gotten a few students to give up fast food 😉

      February 22, 2013
  2. Tracie,
    Again you have shown how your passion and determination and love makes the world a better place. Your students are lucky to have you, and they are learning compassion through you. People who follow-through on these bizarro threats (like suing a school because it offered yoga) generally act out of fear. They fear change, they fear they will lose control, and they fear that someone is imposing their will on them. (Ironic? yes).
    Glad your leg is healing nicely.

    February 22, 2013
    • Thank you Tania for your kind words. You always make me feel good about myself. 🙂

      People fear what they do not know. My guess is the people who are suing the school system have never tried yoga nor do they understand it. It just makes me sad that they are trying to deny young people such an amazing opportunity. I really really really hope they lose 🙂

      February 22, 2013

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