Mats of various colors lay sprawled across the floor in a clearing of shoved aside desks. The lights of room 22 have been dimmed save for a small table lamp, and a soundtrack of wind chimes and Tibetan bowl music is quietly piping from an iPod.
Kate Crutcher (12) sits on a pale green mat at the front of the room. She presses her palms together and softly calls for the room to center themselves. The next hour is dedicated to the practice and improvement of yoga and meditation.
The NCHS Yoga Club was formed with the intention of “sharing yoga with others at a similar age level and teaching them skills they can take with them even when they part,” says previous instructor Alexis Fawley (12). Fawley is a certified yoga teacher, leading at the local Your Heart studio and Welcome Mat Family Yoga. Sponsor Ms. Chessare, English teacher, shared in the vision.
“A lot of teachers ask me the difference between Yoga Club and Mindful Iron,” Chessare says. “Yoga Club focuses on the physical aspect of yoga and meditation, while Mindful Iron is the mental aspect. But people interested in one club might be interested in both, because they compliment each other.”
The club practices routines of Vinyasa-style yoga, a basic form consisting of poses such as sun salutations, cat/cow, tree, torch, and boat/bridge. The club’s serene environment allows complete dedication and focus to the movements.
Crutcher has recently been instated as the new leader of NCHS’ Yoga Club after the departure of Fawley, who moved to Arizona in early November. Fawley believed Crutcher was a natural leader at guiding Yoga Club through poses and meditations. Also, she volunteered first.
A brief trial teaching period allowed Crutcher to receive constructive criticism from Fawley on instruction. She recalls the experience as “insightful, exciting, and nerve-wracking.” Fawley commended Crutcher’s incorporation of colorguard stretches into classical Vinyasa yoga.
Yoga Club ends with a ten minute guided meditation, where practitioners lay in “corpse pose” on the ground. However, these corpses are breathing rhythmically, echoing Crutcher’s voice through her narration. When she finishes, she grins and tickles the feet of whoever dozed off. Mats are rolled up, desks slid back in place, and the lights flicker back on. “Namaste!” she calls. “See you next Tuesday!”