Curtis Students are trained in yoga instruction

Greer Gerney

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Curtis High School has offered yoga as a gym class for many years, but last year, for the first time, students were offered a special opportunity. Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) is a certification class taught by Ms. Rossi and Ms. Korten in partnership with Be Yoga and Dance, a local yoga studio in Rosebank. By the end of the year, students who take the class are certified to teach the Journey Into Power (JIP) flow by the International Yoga Alliance. Generally, YTT is more work than a regular gym class but based on student feedback, it is well worth it. Samantha Chango, a junior, became certified last year and teaches the Friday Night Teen Studio classes at Be Yoga. In talking about YTT, she said, “For me, this class really hits right to the soul. [When I began this class last year], every time I had a bad day, it felt like the quotes we read from Journey to the Heart were meant for me. This class really helps you to help yourself and, ultimately, other people.’’

The potential teachers begin the course by memorizing the JIP flow and going through each position as a group. Understanding the flow through repetition is important because it makes for better teachers who are more adept in describing and aiding the people that they teach. Throughout this process, students guide one another in new poses, with the intention of developing their teaching styles. Larissa Schiano-Gonzalez, the founder of Be Yoga, participates several times a month in student classes at Curtis in the new yoga gym. Once flow memorization is finished, the yogis spend most of their class time teaching. As they work to complete the mandatory 200-hours of training by the spring term, students will be evaluated several times on their teaching, including tone of voice and the visual cues they employ. The final and most important test takes place in April or May, determining whether or not the student is prepared to teach. 

In the past several years, yoga and mindfulness have become prevalent in the public school system as mental health is taken more seriously. The practice of yoga has been linked to relieving stress and sharpening mental awareness. Considering the pressures put on high school students, it is definitely for the best that more students have been given the opportunity to take yoga at Curtis High School.