Fall is here and students are back in school. This year more students than ever will be given the opportunity to experience yoga and meditation, two modalities that can change the world if everyone takes time to practice. In this issue we explore the work of Molly Schreiber and others to bring yoga to classrooms across the state of Iowa. Yoga is beneficial to every student, but especially transformative for those struggling with language, attention or behavioral issues.
School was never easy for me. In teacher conferences, my parents were told that I was a day dreamer who had trouble paying attention. In elementary school, I was moved into special needs classes because I couldn’t keep up. It became apparent that I wasn’t learning the same way as most students. I struggled with phonics and would sometimes switch letters around or misread words. By middle school, I learned to cope by memorizing words as whole objects. The school system eventually got better at understanding my specific limitations and I got better at working around my strengths. I was able to attend regular classes once again.
Our schools have gotten better at handling students with diverse backgrounds and learning styles, but we still have a long way to go. Yoga would have brought such calm and joy to my elementary school experience and introduced me to my practice at a younger age. I also think it would have made me a better student. Early programs incorporating yoga into Iowa classrooms are showing similar results. Yoga has the power to create change from within, empowering our youth to make unbelievable strides.
Fall brings change for grown-ups too. As the sun sets earlier and the weather gets cooler, it’s important to maintain a healthy routine for both our physical and emotional well-being. We examine this connection of mind and body with Amy Wheeler, who works with elite athletes incorporating breathing, posture, visualizations, exercise and diet into a holistic approach to healing and performance. For more diet inspiration, Lily Allen-Duenas offers up recipes to try this fall and Val Brown details 5 Ways to support stress-free holidays to find comfort, help gut health and ease tension in your body. And Linsey Birusingh describes a style of yoga that involves taking time in postures, breaking down the fascia and exploring the emotions sitting in your body.
In this season of gratitude, I want to express my appreciation to the writers, contributors and staff who made this issue of YogaIowa possible. And thank you, the reader, for welcoming us into your heart and mind.
— Ally Thompson
This article was originally published in YogaIowa’s Fall 2017 issue.