Yoga workshop offers students opportunity for relaxation


photo by Irit Skulnik

Students and faculty practice yoga poses in a yoga workshop during lunch and Community Time. It was the third part of the school’s wellness series, which also included dog therapy and hypnosis sessions.

Irit Skulnik, Reporter

On Feb. 8 during lunch and Community Time, high school students were given the opportunity to take part in the third wellness workshop of the year. The workshop featured a yoga and mindfulness meditation taught by yoga teacher Lisa Danahy.

Approximately 20 students and staff attended the workshop. The program taught students a variety of poses and breathing strategies. It ended with Shavasana, commonly known as the corpse pose, and a mindful meditation. Danahy has previously taught yoga to CESJDS teachers in after-school workshops.

Danahy has been practicing yoga for over 30 years and has been teaching it since 2011.  Danahy is the founder of INA Wellness, Create Calm and does work at Radiant Child Yoga. She is also a published author on yoga and mindfulness practices for school. According to Danahy, yoga has helped her become more focused and relaxed.

“Yoga makes me feel really good and powerful … it has allowed me to feel successful and accomplish a lot more while feeling really healthy and capable,” Danahy said. “It taught me to love myself.”

Students remarked that they really enjoyed the workshop and that it helped them feel relaxed. Sophomore Josie Stein said that this workshop was her first time practicing yoga, but she now plans to do it regularly.

“Today, I learned the importance of breathing and being aware of your breath to help with stress,” Stein said.  I learned that fear is just excitement without breath so you should always keep breathing.”

The previous two mindfulness workshops this year included dog therapy and a hypnosis workshop. According to High School Guidance Counselor Rachel Soifer, a pilot program of the wellness workshops was implemented into last year’s Human Development classes. The counselors received positive feedback from students in these classes and decided to bring them back this year. They aspired to have six workshops total, open to all high school students and faculty.

“Really what we wanted to do is introduce different kinds of strategies that kids can use throughout their day that are simple, accessible, and promote a sense of well-being and a healthier, larger community,” Soifer said. “Even just having the workshops, I think it keeps the idea of wellness alive and present as a value in our community.”

Freshman Eilah Goldberg has attended all three of the workshops. She specifically liked this workshop as it allowed a way to “forget about all the work” around her, which she thought made it unique from the previous workshops.

“I think this one is really good because it’s more relaxing than the other ones, the other ones were fun to watch or fun to play with dogs; they weren’t really like relaxing,” Goldberg said.

Soifer appreciates all the feedback from students and finds these workshops beneficial in day-to-day life to ease mental health.

“I think it’s really good to challenge and push yourself and try new things because sometimes you can sort of get into a pattern or stuck in limiting ourselves with our coping strategies and it’s really good to try new things,” Soifer said.  “That’s why I love meeting with students and getting their ideas because it pushes us to go in directions that in added to might not otherwise think of.”