Yoga is helping some high school students

June 08, 2017 08:31 AM

ALBANY - How do you help some energetic high school freshmen calm down, focus and maybe even improve their grades?

One high school is trying yoga.

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Nearly 100 freshmen at Albany Leadership High, a charter school for girls, have been attending yoga and mindfulness classes once a week, for 12 weeks.

"Our freshman this year have been a little challenging, more so than usual," said principal Christina Roberts. "This gives them a space to just stop for a moment and be silent and still, which sometimes that's half the battle."

The girls take a short walk from the school building on Hackett Boulevard to St. Paul's Episcopal Church where they meet yoga instructors, Suzanne Martin and Laurel Englesson, founders of the Holistic Youth Project. There's a buzz, the girls are excited and chatting away with the energy of a teenager. But, as soon as the soothing sound of a gong rings through the room, the girls immediately quiet down and listen. Martin and Englesson walk them through some simple deep breathing exercises, and then some simple yoga moves.

"Sometimes they walk in, and it's pretty chaotic," says Martin. 

But, she says they are seeing results.

"The girls are telling us how they're using the breathing exercises in their personal lives with fights with siblings or just difficult situations at home or even before taking a test."

Summer Martin, 14 years old, says she sees a difference within herself, and how she handles conflict at school.

"I'll just remember to stop, talk about the consequences identify a good way and choose so if somebody is being annoying, I'll choose to leave," says Martin.

And, some girls say their grades have also improved within these 12 weeks.

Principal Roberts plans on running the class again next year, for the entire school year.

For more on the Holistic Youth Project visit their website:


Subrina Dhammi

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