Stress is a large part of Palo Alto High School students’ lives. However, resolving “stress” in general at a high school is a daunting task. There will always be homework assigned and testing will continue to add to students’ stress levels. However, there is something that can be done within Paly to reduce stress in students’ lives and explore a fun hobby. This solution is to offer a yoga class within Paly’s Physical Education (P.E.) department.
Yoga is an extremely beneficial and widely-practiced exercise form. It increases endurance and strength within the core, back, arms and more. Yoga also is helpful for flexibility and relaxation. Yoga teaches students how to be aware of breathing and its connection to the body, which, while it may sound phony, can have an immensely positive effect on one’s mood.
This type of relaxation and fitness combination is exactly what we need at Paly. Students are constantly moving from class to class, thinking about homework, tests, friends, parties, parents and extracurriculars. Moreover, after school can be difficult to have time to de-stress if that time is overridden by extracurriculars and more schoolwork.
Furthermore, students can fall into a routine of laziness and equate television with relaxation. However, this kind of de-stressing activity does not allow for an active reflection within oneself or any sort of physical benefit.
There are few times as a student when a class is relaxing and allows some sort of relief from the unfortunately common stress of a day. Even in P.E., the majority of class is running around the track, doing strength exercises or playing miscellaneous games. While there is nothing wrong with that, it would benefit Paly as a whole if there were more variety offered for P.E. credits.
Because the P.E. department already offers dance classes as an alternative option for P.E. credit, offering yoga as another option to sophomores is even more feasible.  The dance program has proven successful, suggesting that a yoga program would fare similarly if implemented. The yoga class could also be offered as a sophomore year option instead of regular P.E.
If it is successful, there could be more periods offered for students in any grade who want to learn more about the practice or who want to relax at school  and learn how to be peaceful among all the chaos in their lives.

Namaste.

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