Teens nowadays rarely step foot outside. Fresh air is a foreign concept to many of us. We leave our homes, go to our respective buses and or cars, and then go straight into school. Every fall Wellness Educator Allison Helfrich takes her yoga classes into a forest preserve, away from the distractions in their worlds, to encourage them to connect with nature.
Tranquility is a word that can best describe the experience. But even that cannot embody the feeling that the students have when on the field trip. There is peace, silence, and pure joy.
“[It] feels good,” said Elliot Dunn, junior. “It feels good to be out here because it feels relaxing. Because when you’re out in the wilderness it opens your mind up.”
Because the trip, which took place in November, was outside in the woods, students were able to actually connect with one another during this experience.
“It was overall just a great experience, and I think that the amount of team work that you have to do on this trip was a lot of fun,” said Eunice Ji, junior. “It was very interactive, and I got to do a lot of hands-on stuff so it was fun.”
In elementary school, students are given breaks during the day when they can just to go outside. Once students reach high school, there are few opportunities for recess. When we are kids, we are so happy and excited to go outside and play in nature. Now, it is as if we need opportunities to relearn how to embrace the world beyond ourselves. Yoga can offer that opportunity.
“When we are practicing yoga each day, we are working on just one aspect of our practice which is physical and connecting the body and the breath. When we’re on this trip we’re able to practice our yoga in a different way and apply the lessons we’ve learned on the mat,” said Helfrich.
The field trip also provides students the opportunity to work with a group of people, working together to practice what has been learned in class and collaborating to overcome any challenges.
“We’re using the lessons we’ve learned on the mat, and transferring them to a different aspect of our life,” said Mrs. Helfrich.
So, with the weather getting warmer, the sun coming out, and spring fast approaching, I implore you all to take what you’ve learned and do it outside. Go for a walk, ride a bike, sit on a park bench and read a book. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you.