A step towards prevention through meditation
Published 10:33 am Friday, March 18, 2016
Students at I.J. Holton Intermediate School got a glimpse at a healthy way to relieve stress Thursday.
We Oppose and Resist Drugs, or WORD, students, got the chance to learn a bit of yoga Thursday as Sara Mentel from the Yoga Studio and Massage of Austin came in to talk about relieving stress through this healthy activity.
“I’m going to in a nutshell break down the practice and history of yoga and how it kind of came about,” Mentel said before the class. “I’m going to give them a specific story of a real-life person that transformed their self from addiction through yoga. I think one of the key opponents is awareness of the self that yoga offers, how it’s mindful, the breath work, the movement, meditation.”
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The after-school program is one of many students can choose to sign up for, and this year there were about 90 students who signed up.
Farin Delaney, one of the school counselors, said the year has focused on various alcohol, tobacco and marijuana prevention methods. She, along with school counselor Angie Taylor and YMCA of Austin youth director Ruth Chamberlain, organized WORD.
“We also want to focus on healthy living,” Delaney said. “So part of that is finding a healthy way of coping with stress. Over the year we’ve talked about how sometimes stressful situations and things like that can lead to possible drug or alcohol use, and so this is just another strategy for students to check out if they’re feeling stressed.”
Mentel is a registered yoga teacher and shared a story of a man who was addicted to pain medication who became substance-free with the help of yoga and is still alive and happy.
“It was the first time he’d really felt himself, felt his body, felt who he was,” she told the students. “And it just clicked with him.”
She noted many people reach for pain medication before trying to fix their aches themselves, but yoga and meditation can change the mindset to look inside yourself first.
“What does my body need, what can I do myself rather than go to the Advil, or go to the alcohol, to fix my problems,” she said.
Once a month, the students participate in a drug-free activity, such as going to Farmer John’s Pumpkin Patch, going to the Rohler Rink in Brownsdale, having a movie night or decorating cookies.
“Once a month we tie it to a drug free activity just to kind of show kids there’s other things they can engage in that are healthy and good for you and positive,” Delaney said
“We’ve talked about sports but I think sometimes yoga maybe isn’t always mentioned,” she added. “So just exposure to yoga and meditation and treating your mind well.”