“Tree pose, boat pose, plank, cat cow, downward dog” could be heard from the Parker Elementary school gym on Friday, March 29th. Students followed yoga instructor, Sophia D’Addario from The Cortland Yoga Nest, which has recently relocated to downtown Homer, as they went through these poses. This yoga study stemmed from a project that the sixth graders are doing in Mr. Wallis’s class.
As part of the 6th grade unit on the novel, Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelson, students broke up into groups to study different forms of meditation. Yoga was one of the chosen forms.
In the novel, Touching Spirit Bear, a young boy named Cole Matthews is sent to Alaska to live on a remote island in lieu of going to prison for being a juvenile delinquent. Cole’s attitude slowly changes as he realizes he must face the challenges of living in nature and recover from being attacked by a bear.
“In this book, we learned about circle justice, an alternative system of justice used by Native Americans. Meditation plays a large part in Cole Matthews’ healing process and I wanted the students to experience similar meditation practices that Cole goes through when he is in on the island. In addition to practicing yoga, we also have been doing guided meditation, qigong and mindfulness meditation in the classroom” said Mr. Wallis.
Mia Gore, a sixth grade student in Mr. Wallis’s class said, “I really like doing yoga because it is relaxing and a good work out all at the same time. Yoga ties into Touching Spirit Bear where Cole meditates by soaking in the pond so it was cool we got to meditate too.”
As well as practicing several yoga poses, Sophia led them through a guided meditation. Overall, the students left pleased with the experience and are eager to practice yoga again!