Deep Breaths

Gladden provides yoga as outlet for relaxation during school day


Max Hartsfield

Language arts teacher Tracy Gladden teaches students yoga during the second mod of AcLab. She uses yoga to help students learn methods for coping with stress.

Blake Jaycox, Staff Reporter

Whether it’s practicing breathing exercises or stretching various parts of the body through poses like Warrior I or Downward Dog, the art of yoga is becoming an increasingly more common way to combat stress and to improve muscular strength.

In order to provide an outlet for students, Tracy Gladden, language arts teacher, offers yoga for students in her classroom every Thursday during AcLab’s second Mod.

Gladden structures her lessons to help her students relieve stress by teaching them to breathe, and then letting go of worries for a moment. She knows that each of the students brings in their own objectives when learning yoga, and she’s happy to guide them until they can achieve it.

We start with breathing exercises, to help everyone get centered and settled and be here on the mat. It also gives a chance to set an expectation. Everyone has their own goals that they are working for, whether it’s flexibility or to stay focused on something or to try something new,” Gladden said. 

Senior Dara Jakob is a regular in Gladden’s yoga classes, and she enjoys the break from the stress of school.

I just like that it’s really relaxing to do and it grounds my mind a bit and it’s a nice break in the school day,” Jakob said. 

Gladden has been teaching yoga for over a decade and invites her language arts students to come and try it out. Even though many of her students may not attend the AcLab yoga session, she also includes simple breathing exercises in her regular classes as well.

I had her for her first semester creative writing class and she would do breathing exercises. She brought it up one day in class and I thought to try it because of that,” Jakob said. 

Sophomore Landon Hoener gained interest in yoga during quarantine and followed up on his interests by attending Gladden’s yoga sessions. He initially did it to heal the strain on his back.

Originally, my back hurt a lot, so I was looking for ways to take care of it. I started doing [yoga] by watching YouTube videos,” Hoener said.

Although Hoener may have started yoga for another reason, he’s found that yoga is a really good way to feel calm and centered.

“Now, yoga is much more than movement,” Hoener said. “It’s a mindful practice that makes me feel clear in the head.”