Reaching for Relaxation

SHS teacher starts a yoga club to help students and staff’s well-being


Grace Elder

Senior Aija Bowman rests in her final pose of the session. This pose is called Shavasana.

Environmental science teacher Rachel Brunsell was assigned a history project on yoga when she was just a high schooler. As a part of her research, she picked up yoga and it’s been an important part of her life since. She now incorporates little doses of peace and self-love into her school life. Brunsell has created a yoga club.  

“We’re all way beyond stressed right now,” Brunsell said. “So if you can do anything selfcare for yourself, and even if it’s yoga for 20-30 minutes once a week, that’s something that you’re doing for yourself.”

The yoga club focuses on unique athleticism and being an entertaining form of stress-relief for SHS students and staff.

She decided to create the club to introduce yoga to the student body here at SHS.

“No one else was doing it,” Brunsell said. “It was something that I could do and contribute.”

She wants to help relax students through yoga sessions and guided meditation from 2:10 p.m. to 3 p.m. every Thursday. It has become a positive outleft for many students, including junior Cashmere Smith.

“I like yoga because it is relaxing to me,” Smith said. “It’s very stress-relieving.”

In these sessions, she aims to get students into a subconscious state of mind to allow them to feel what she feels afterwards. Brunsell describes it as a great feeling that gives you immediate feedback.

“I like how it makes me feel and I like to be able to share that with others,” Brunsell said.

Along with decompression, Brunsell’s goal with forming the club is to provide everyone with exercise. She wants to offer an inclusive environment to the school.

“It doesn’t matter your age, gender, or fitness ability,” Brunsell said. “Everybody can do some type of yoga.”

Brunsell hopes that she can help bring awareness to different types of athleticism. Students don’t often see yoga as a go-to exercise.

Oftentimes, she does yoga with individual sport teams here a

t SHS, more so football. While being 25 weeks pregnant, Brunsell could “out-yoga” the, as she describes, tall, buff boys with ease. 

She likes that she can show athletes and other-non athletes that there are different ways to be athletic.

“They obviously are much better footballers than I am, but I can do something that they cannot,” Brunsell said.

The club is very welcoming and attendees of the sessions enjoy each other’s company in a carefree space.

“The people that I do it [yoga] with are really nice,” Smith said. “And they do not care if you know what you are doing or not.”

With a lack of participants this year, Brunsell enjoys sessions with her small group of students and she encourages others to join. 

Students frequently come and don’t take it seriously. They don’t focus or show interests and then don’t show up again.

“Try it,” Brunsell said. “If you come and you try it, and you actually put effort into it, more people than not enjoy it.”