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YogaIowa Fall 2017

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 offer​s ​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.

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