Were you among the students who questioned why some of your classmates were walking around with black cylinder-shaped bags? Well – it turns out that these are simply the yoga mats used for Ms. Kaye’s new yoga class.
Yoga? Yes, for the first time, Ms. Kaye (a health teacher at BHS) is offering a new class this semester that acts as a gym alternative. And after asking Ms. Kaye about the goals of the class, one will quickly realize that it does much more than just fill a P.E. requirement. Students are given the opportunity to learn valuable life lessons. You might even go as far as saying that if taken seriously, the skill-set being taught could be life changing.
Ms. Kaye shared her hopes that, “The process of linking body and mind with breath will encourage students to be more mindful” and give them the opportunity “to have the tools and the skills to regulate their emotions, [in order] to bring themselves out of a situation that might be causing them stress and to perceive it differently [because] typically perceptions direct our actions.”
Other key lessons include: finding a balance between all of the aspects of our lives without judgment. She encourages students to have a new mantra when something unexpected, or typically frustrating or saddening occurs. Saying, “Isn’t that interesting” is better than labeling a situation as bad, or unhelpful, which, “opens everything up to us to accept things more readily.”
If you don’t believe it, you simply have to turn to your peers in the class. The students in this new class have given their instructor “a lot of feedback.” Kaye says, “They’ve shared situations in which they’ve used the breathing…[and] mindfulness to help them sleep at night [and] accept situations that maybe would have been more difficult to accept before.” They also share with her stories of newly gained self-acceptance.
In further success, the community has embraced this new idea as well. There has been coverage from both the local newspaper (The News Times) and the local news station (Fox 5 Connecticut), and both were positive and supportive, which is some exciting news for Bethel. The district is being recognized for embracing yoga in the curriculum and granting students the opportunity to unwind, in addition to empowering them with tools to learn self-regulation.
For those interested, Ms. Kaye has an optimistic attitude toward the continuation of the class. If there is not one next semester, surely there will be more opportunities next year.