As both educators and students work to prioritize mental health to make schools places where people feel ready to work and learn, one teacher in Bath turned to yoga for herself and her students.

Johnna Stanton teaches AP Language and Composition, 9th grade English, Yearbook, and now Yoga at Morse High School in Bath.

“As soon as I started doing yoga, and I felt so good, I thought does this make sense with teenagers? And immediately I said, ‘Yes’,” said Stanton.

Stanton, who used to coach field hockey and lacrosse, made herself available after school and weekends for students interested in trying yoga. At first mostly athletes would try yoga to improve their game, but then word spread on yoga’s other benefits, and now for the first time ever, Yoga is an elective at Morse at a time when it appears students need it most.

“They ask for restorative poses more. You hold the poses longer so that there are stretches around the muscle, and you’re more likely to have better long-term effects. It’s for people who feel out of balance, and they need to literally be restored,” added Stanton.

Out of balance is how student Emma describes how she felt prior to joining the class.

“I have anxiety and during parts of the day, when I’m more tense, yoga helps me not be so tense and anxious; it really brought my panic attacks down,” said the high school senior.

The elective now has a wait list for entry with both boys and girls enrolled who recognize the release yoga provides.

“It helped me feel more balanced in my day-to-day life. I noticed as I began to focus on my breathing, I’ve slowed down my mind, and I owe that to yoga,” said Hazel a senior.
Stanton believes so much in the benefits of yoga and its benefits for herself and her students she is now offering professional development for other teachers to help educate them on the benefits of yoga to help increase yoga’s presence in schools, not just as a quick break, but as a course worth credit.

“Kids are looking for anything to make them feel better,” said Stanton.

Integrate Yoga into your youth community

A one-day conference for educators.
Earn 5 Contact Hours.
DATE: Wednesday, May 17th 8a.m.-2p.m.
COST: $50.00
LOCATION: Morse High School, Bath