Stretching Out of One’s Comfort Zone

Peer Pair Research and Yoga

Seniors (left to right) Adrian Mendez, Josiah Rosa, Brian Quintero, and Joey Godfrey, teaching their younger fifth grade peers about yoga and its benefits on April 4, 2019 in the Abington Middle-High School Library.

Ayman Elhannawi, Staff writer


On Wednesday, April 4, a calming yoga session between Abington High School seniors and Abington Middle School fifth graders took place in the school’s co-located Library and Media Center. The event was organized by English teacher Ms. Slayton, Library and Media Specialist Ms. Milloshi, and fifth grade teacher and yoga instructor Ms.Thompson.

As a senior, it was my first exposure to yoga and it was worth it, to say the least. Yoga released me from stress and college-related worries, and made me focus on the present to devise a solid plan for the distant future.

Ms. Slayton decided to initiate the event because “the value of interaction and collaboration between younger and older peers” is important because they “each can learn from the other.” She also thought that the Yoga theme would be beneficial. “In my mind, this is right next to walking when it comes to a universal exercise that everyone, regardless of skill, age, etc., can participate in. Mindfulness is hugely important, especially in this day and age,” Ms. Slayton said.

Prior to the event, seniors were placed into groups of two and tasked with creating yoga themed posters that contained a yoga pose, background information, and research on the benefits of yoga that would teach their peers more about yoga and its many properties.

The event itself was divided into two segments.

The first segment was for seniors to display their individualized posters to their fifth-grade buddies,  as well as perform a yoga pose for a short moment, and explain what does the pose mean and its benefits as well. This gave the students a sense of security and safety.

Senior Kaitlyn Marini said, “I do think that the activity required some trust considering this was a partner project.” Furthermore, both seniors and 5th graders didn’t fear to do a yoga pose in front of an audience which made them more confident about themselves. “I had a lot of fun working the fifth graders. They seem very interested and enthusiastic to be able to work with us and try something new,” said Marini.

The second segment was presented by yoga teacher Ms. Jessica Thompson. She performed a yoga session with the participation of both seniors and fifth graders. Through the exercise, Ms. Thompson demonstrated the power of yoga and how it can relieve students from stress and anxiety, as well as show them how to focus on the present time. It taught an important lesson, which is to concentrate on the task at hand and not really worry about the past and the distant future.

Senior Christian Kerr explained that “the yoga exercise relieved the mind.” He said that a benefit is relaxation and “stretching your muscles out.  It really calms you down and gets rid of bad thoughts if you practiced yoga daily.”

A word of advice is to practice yoga every day for at least 10 minutes for a healthier and happier life.