Indiana & Yoga Magazine Summer 2016 Issue 1 | Page 48


Yoga and Movement in Middle School By Ryan Baggett

Many people are ready for a nap in the early afternoon , but the 8th grade girls in Greta Wilson ’ s 1:35 pm yoga class seemed happy to enter the room . Several greeted Wilson with genuine excitement while rolling out their yoga mats . As everyone took their positions , they went through the basic elements you might find in any beginner ' s yoga class at a local studio , from warm-ups , to sun salutations , to savasana . Even a few sanskrit words were incorporated , all taught with an easy grace and gentle demeanor that did not remind me of my middle school teachers .
Behind me and my camera , half the eighth grade girls opted out of getting their picture taken by some strange magazine guy . The other half had agreed to be photographed , but in the end they were all doing yoga , and all put forth a lot of effort to enter the poses properly . And I heard zero complaints .
Principal Alecia Ostler runs this Health and Wellness Magnet School of Indianapolis Public Schools ( IPS ). She told me the concept for the school was developed in conjunction with Riley Hospitals after P . E . assessment tests ranked it to be one of the top five most obese schools in the district . Formerly known as Frederick Douglas Elementary , it is now named SUPER School 19 . The “ SUPER ” stands for Students Understanding through Powerful and Energetic Routines .
These “ energetic routines ” include replacing some of the chairs with exercise balls which burn many more calories and force the children to engage core muscles . Other classes have standing desks , and teachers look for ways to make movement a part of their lesson plans : Imagine hopscotch while practicing vocabulary words . Physical Education is taught