Taking a Deep Breath

By Courtney Fowler, Director of Communications and Marketing

Yoga is a centuries-old tradition known for its many health and wellness benefits, but a K-12 school campus may not seem like an obvious place to find many devotees. It turns out, though, that a number of different Lovett student groups - as well as employees - have been enjoying the practice on the Riverbank for some time now.

Lovett’s athletics training staff organized early-morning sessions for cross country runners this fall with Innercise Yoga’s Kelsey Armbruster, who has been working with groups on campus for the past several years. Cross Country coach Chris Mayer is a fan. “Many athletes, and runners specifically, have turned to yoga as a primary source of strength and flexibility training,” he said. “We were looking to address and get ahead of some of the injuries and flexibility issues that come along with a repetitive sport like running.” Coach Mayer saw a number of benefits for his athletes, including the team-building that came from their commitment to meet for the class early on Wednesday mornings. He supports the training staff’s plans to continue the program and is even hoping for a year-round option. “It will only be a supplement that can make us better,” he said.

Middle School counselor Sara Friedman has been using yoga for the past several years as one of the tools in her arsenal to help Middle School girls fight stress, particularly at exam-time. This year, Armbruster has worked with the 7th and 8th-grade girls during the busy (and often stressful) early weeks of December. Friedman says the girls enjoy the practice and mention feeling very relaxed after, and she hopes the sessions help students “put into practice some of the strategies we discuss around stress and relaxation: deep breathing, mindfulness, exercise, and just going outside of your comfort zone to try something new.” 
This is the fourth school year that Lovett teachers and staff members have had the opportunity to practice yoga with Armbruster, and many have become “regulars” who look forward to her Wednesday-afternoon sessions. Upper School art teacher Ashley Schick appreciates having the options of yoga (and also Pilates) after school, saying it makes it much easier to participate. “I feel healthier and happier when I'm able to take this time to exercise,” she said.
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