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Teacher-led yoga sessions help promote mindfulness

Written by Ariel Pan

Only the sound of deep breathing can be heard as the participants of the student-staff yoga session lie on their backs in the Shavasana pose. e room is dark, and the fairy lights on the ceiling twinkle as English teacher Diane Ichikawa walks around, adjusting hands and shoulders. A few minutes later, Ichikawa leads the class out of Shavasana and concludes the session with a namaste.

Originally only open to staff , the yoga sessions were created by Ichikawa around 10 years ago as a way to share the benefits of yoga. “I know that yoga changed my life so much physically, because I have scoliosis, and I really haven’t had any issues with it since I started practicing yoga,” she said. “But then also, it does so much more than just a physical readjusting of the body. It also readjusts your mind as you go. I really liked that feeling, and I felt that the staff also needed a way to have the same opportunity.”

Ichikawa tailors each class to the participants. “I tend to have an idea of where
I want to go with the class, but I don’t decide to do that class unless I see who’s in it first and know who’s coming, and know what energy they’re bringing and what they need for the day,” she said.

World Language Instructional Supervisor Elizabeth Matchett has been attending Ichikawa’s yoga sessions ever since they began. “I really look forward to going,” Matchett said. “Because it’s here, it’s convenient, it’s free and it really helps me after a stressful day to just go decompress and relax, and it’s with people I enjoy being with.”

Another yoga opportunity on campus is the Gunn Yoga Club, which was created by senior Adele Colwell with the goal to help students have an outlet to meet new people, destress and stay active. It also serves as an additional session if one can’t make it to Ichikawa’s. “The great work that Ms. Ichikawa’s been doing got me thinking about more ways to open yoga up at Gunn and they definitely complement each other,” Colwell said. “They don’t overlap and it’s awesome to have two different teachers on campus.”

Ichikawa teaches yoga Mondays a er school from 4 to 5 p.m. and every other Tuesday during Flextime. Dates are posted on the Gunn website. Gunn Yoga Club meets every other Wednesday after school at 3:05 p.m. and both classes are held in room V-24.

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