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New yoga class impacts students physically, spiritually

Photo by Jace Riley ’16 — Greg Vogel ’15 (left), Kyle Sourbeer ’15 (middle), and Joe Pierson ’16 (right) pose during their 7th period yoga class.

By Gabe Morrison ’17

A new class is giving students an opportunity to escape the busyness of daily life and meditate.

Taught by Mrs. Karen Parise, yoga counts as a PE credit, and the class meets seventh period in Harper Great Hall. Mrs. Parise, who has done yoga for eight years, will finish a 500 hour advanced teacher training program Nov. 7 to certify her as a master teacher.

Mrs. Parise said that the skills learned from yoga can be replicated in real life.

“Yoga is a science that is replicable, so those tools can be applied in real life… What you bring to the mat you bring to life,” she said. “So for example, the postures, the breathing, all of that can teach you self control; how to increase your focus, how decrease your anxiety, how to manage yourself.”

Senior Kyle Sourbeer ’15, a member of the class, said that even small amounts of yoga can have profound positive effects.

“I think I’ll probably pursue yoga in the future … especially meditation and the small things,” Sourbeer said. “There is a morning routine and you just do it for five minutes, and that stuff has changed my perspective. I think that one notable thing is that yoga has changed the perspective of a lot of people that do it.”

Mrs. Parise said that the class is not just about physical activity and movement.

“I’m a huge believer in the emotion, physical, and spiritual, and that pyramid is applied in yoga,” Mrs. Parise said. “For me the spiritual piece is about ‘be still and know that I am God… It’s going inside and praying.”

Mrs. Parise pointed out that the “be still and know that I am God” is repeated in almost every religion.

Sourbeer said he can see the emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of yoga.

“It’s through the physical aspect that you reach a mental state you sort of let go of everything that’s going on in your day and just the stresses of school and life,” Sourbeer said. “Yoga is a lot about just being in the moment and living in the now.”

Sourbeer said that since the class has started he has also gotten better at yoga. Mrs. Parise said the entire class’s skills have improved.

Mr. (Joe) Stickney brought his religion class in yesterday. So instead of 16 kids we probably had 40 kids, and I had my kids demonstrate. And the amount of improvement they had made was astounding,” Mrs. Parise said.

Mrs. Parise said that she originally introduced yoga to Brophy as a wellness program for faculty, but that ended when there was not enough interest.

“(Principal) Mr. (Bob) Ryan wasn’t sure how I would combine this with counseling and how I would find the time, but what I said was, ‘I can reach 20 kids at a time versus one and give them skills for life,’” Mrs. Parise said.

Mrs. Parise said she is unsure if the yoga class will grow beyond her one class.

“I’d like to expand it, but I don’t want to give up my practice here as a student assistance counselor so I’m not sure how that is going to play out,” she said.