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The Tongva Times

Students get fit with yoga

Bren Belmonte

By Bren Belmonte | Staff Writer

   Imagine waking up and starting the day at first period with peaceful white noise echoing from a TV as one does yoga poses in a class setting. Located in the second story of the M building, for three days a week instructor Steve Swanson assists in leading yoga poses to his students on mats.

   Yoga is an alternative physical education course that students can take to practice mental wellness.

   “Yoga is meant to be just calming… and giving back to just knowing your body,” Swanson said with a grin. 

   Swanson took inspiration from his wife, a yoga guru, to become the yoga instructor at Gabrielino High School. He enjoys starting his day by doing yoga with his students, and at the same time, he encourages the personal development of the class as they become more flexible. 

   When teaching, Swanson makes sure to incorporate wellness in order to create a calm and relaxed environment. 

   Besides yoga, a couple of times a week, the class alternates between doing PACER walks and working out in the weight room to help condition themselves for being able to do poses. For example, weight training is done to make an individual feel better about their movement. 

   “I wanted something a little bit different than P.E. and yoga is easygoing,” stated sophomore Amanda Wang.

   The chill atmosphere that Wang enjoys is a product of the great teaching style Swanson uses. In the large room where yoga is being practiced, there is a TV showing a video of a certified instructor to help guide their workout. 

   Swanson also introduces his students to different types of yoga, such as Pilates, which is a more intense and powerful form of yoga that involves muscle strengthening in the poses.

   “Some of the yoga that we do, especially some Pilates [exercises] that we are doing… is tough,” Swanson elaborated. 

   Senior Layla Serrato has grown to love and enjoy the exercise of yoga. “It’s very calming, I have it the first period so it is a great start to my day,” she said enthusiastically. “I definitely would recommend this course to other people.”

   As an athlete, Serrato considers the course very fun. Her favorite yoga position is the “child’s pose.”

   “You’re basically on your shins in a bent position with your hands behind you,” Serrato explained. 

   Another aspect of the class is learning about the human muscles. 

   Swanson quizzes the class on which muscle is involved in a movement while doing a certain pose. 

   For extra credit, he quizzes the students on everyday poses by asking them to show him. 

   The class also occasionally incorporates workouts with yoga to help challenge the students, including a mix of pushups and isometric exercises. 

   “There is strength involved, and there’s balance involved, the progression would be to hold poses longer to make it more [difficult],” Swanson expressed. 

   Waking   up, heading   to 

school, and starting off the day with relaxing yoga is the perfect way to calm oneself before the academic school day ahead. 

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About the Contributor
Bren Belmonte
Bren Belmonte, Staff Writer
Bren Belmonte is a Photographer and Staff Writer with three years of experience on our newspaper team. Outside of journalism, Bren enjoys cosplaying, photographing friends, reading manga, watching anime, and listening to music. Bren chose the journalism class in sophomore year after encouragement from family members in the industry. Since then, they've recognized it as a future passion and career interest.
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