West Roxbury, Mass. — In a world characterized by classes, homework, and extracurriculars, CM students are taking the time to learn how to stop and breathe.
Ms. Kaplan’s Psychology 10 Class participated in a yoga class that explored the psychological benefits of stretching, meditation, and reflection before school on Monday, October 29 in the Ronald S. Perry Gymnasium.
Providing a welcoming break to the everyday routine at CM, Boston-based instructor Braxton Rose spread out mats across the gymnasium and led the boys in a sunrise salutation. Mr. Rose has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and more than 500 hours of training as a yoga instructor. He wanted to engage students’ minds and bodies while challenging them to focus on their breathing and to let their thoughts flow freely.
The student response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Afterwards, I noticed throughout the day that I felt more alert than normal,” said sophomore Tim Chevrette.
“I had a test that afternoon too and I didn’t feel as stressed going into it. I think the yoga definitely had something to do with that.”
Yoga has been proven to decrease stress, anxiety, fatigue, and depression, according to the National Institute of Health. High school students in particular are subject to these conditions. Unfortunately, yoga tends to draw an older demographic. Fifty-eight-percent of yoga practitioners are above the age of 40, as stated by Seattle Yoga News. By bringing yoga to her students, Ms. Kaplan has attempted to bridge this gap.
“Many of the students have never taken yoga or practiced meditation, so this was uncharted territory for them,” said Ms. Kaplan.
“After the first session, many students reported feeling the most relaxed they have ever felt during the school day.”
Ms. Kaplan’s Psychology 10 class focuses on Positive Psychology, hoping to show how positivity impacts their daily lives. She cites mindfulness as one of the major points of positive psychology.
“I have asked students to engage in mindfulness practices including yoga and meditation and reflect on the possible ways positive psychology can be incorporated in their own lives.”
It is safe to say that Ms. Kaplan and Mr. Rose have several newly-converted “yogis” on their hands. Although at first uncertain, the students have clamored for more.
“Honestly, the yoga first period helped me relax my mind,” said sophomore Jack Chachkes.
“I feel I was better prepared to tackle the day.”
Mr. Rose is poised to lead a total of three classes at CM, as well as a private hot yoga session for Ms. Kaplan’s class at H.Y.P. Yoga Studio in Needham. Final dates and times are to be determined.
In the meantime, students continue to discover the crossroads between positive psychology and yoga. They plan on practicing the Warrior Pose and Downward Dog in preparation for their next, more challenging, class later this month.