August 24, 2018

Community Yoga @ 56

WORKING TOGETHER — During Community Yoga @ 56, students, parents and community members practice yoga techniques and breathing skills together.

Teachers, students and parents at Francis W. Parker Montessori School 56 are trying a new approach to finding their center: yoga.

Community Yoga @ 56 kicked off Tuesday, August 14, inside the gymnasium at the IPS Montessori school on the city’s east side. Students and parents twisted their bodies into different poses and focused on their breathing during the evening class.

Earlier that day, teachers spent an hour before school in their own class. Both sessions were led by Jadine Laniado, social-emotional teacher at Francis W. Parker.

“We are working really hard in the building to focus on mindfulness and have all of our activities be brain aligned,” said Nashia Abdul-aleem, the school’s parent involvement educator. “We also have a reset room in the building, which Ms. Laniado runs for students who need a quick reset during the day. It all falls in line with the social-emotional piece that she’s doing.”

With teachers, Laniado is focused on self-care because educators often carry school stressors home and in their bodies.

“Yoga is a safe space where we (teachers) can be together and take care of us for that hour,” said Laniado.

Teacher yoga sessions are hosted every Tuesday either before or after school. For students, parents and the community, sessions are hosted once a month from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., usually on a Tuesday.

For the community yoga sessions to be effective, Laniado said families need to be involved together.

“I want them to have resources to breathe with their kids, do poses with their kids, and just be in peace,” she said. “It was really beautiful to see mommy and kindergarten holding hands doing a bridge pose, sitting in mom’s lap for one of the stretches, and just being in that shared space together.”

Overall, the yoga classes are creating an environment of peace, love, compassion and understanding.

“Everybody in the building is taught breathing techniques and relaxation and brain-sharpening activities and things to really be able to cope and relax and self-regulate,” said Abdul-aleem. “We’re finding all of these to be effective.”