Yoga breaks in Cleveland schools bring calm, focus

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CLEVELAND– The 350 students at Cleveland’s Douglas MacArthur Girls Leadership Academy have been doing yoga for a while now.

For just a half hour, a few times a week, it’s the break in the day that make things a lot better.

“It makes you like feel good it makes you feel comfortable it doesn’t make you nervous anymore it makes you liker Really comfortable,” said Santana Hughes, second grader.

The nonprofit ZENworks Yoga first partnered with Cleveland Metropolitan Schools a few years ago and stated with one school. Now, they are in 17.

Founder Sonya Patel said yoga brings calm and focus to a child’s day.

“The two factors that help build resilience is feeling connected and feeling empowered. And mindfulness in yoga helps you do that so they feel not only stronger from a physical sense, but they feel stronger from a mental sense. They’re able to control their emotions, they’re able to control their body and control their choices,” Patel said.

Fourth grade teacher Georgianne Orbany started doing yoga as her 9-year-old son battled cancer several years ago. It brought her calm and that’s something she sees for her students.

“With yoga, it’s a time that they can reach for that emotional support to make them take a step back, and pause and think about what has happened and they can move on,” Orbany said.

School officials said that discipline problems have gone down as students incorporate the lessons learned on the playground and in the classroom.

“It’s the breathing because it makes all my feelings just go away,” said Nadia Chasar, second grader.

Similar yoga problems are also in schools in Akron, Euclid and Maple Heights.

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