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Students find meditation, yoga an escape from stress

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With the heightened demands this generation faces, mental health issues like anxiety and depression have reached an all-time high, especially among teenagers. With heaps of homework, an influx of afterschool activities, jobs, and more, it can be hard to find alone time. Some students, like senior Sanomi Croos-Dabrera, have found a perfect outlet for the stress that comes with busy lifestyles: meditation and yoga.

“There’s always something that you need to be doing that feels incredibly urgent,” says Croos-Dabrera. “Worrying about the future isn’t sustainable.” Through meditation she has found a way to relieve some of the worries that overwhelm many teenagers and adults. “Meditating really helps me take a step back, breathe, and finish my day with a clear mind,” she says. “When I notice that I am starting to panic, I stop and ask myself what I can do right now rather than worrying about the future or the past, both things that are out of my control.”

Croos-Dabrera says it is the balance of living in the moment and thoroughly evaluating a situation that can bring a much calmer mindset.

Physical education and health teacher Lawrence DeWolf has found yoga can also help teens and adults with managing stress. “Yoga allows physical and emotional perspectives to come to balance,” he says.

Along with management of stress, DeWolf has also found that yoga and meditation can help minimize distractions. “We try not to focus on the distractions,” he said. “If we are in a pose and your legs are in pain, focus elsewhere.”

The benefits of yoga don’t just leave as the students finish Pioneer’s 1st hour yoga class. It “sets up your day,” DeWolf says, and the “benefits continue through the transition into a regular day,” overall helping decrease stress levels.

Croos-Dabrera said she meditates after a busy day. “I usually meditate when I come home from school and my mind is buzzing with distractions,” she says, “Meditating really helps me take a step back, breathe, and finish my day with a clear mind.” Taking a break from the chaos of life can put problems into perspective and give greater appreciation for each moment, she has found.

Starting a daily meditation/yoga practice doesn’t have to be a strain; with apps like Headspace, and Calm.com, the simplicity of meditation is just a touch away. Headspace provides 10 free guided meditations which are great for beginners. Through Headspace it is easy to learn the basics which can act as a guide for continuing the practice. Croos-Dabrera says, “The great thing about meditating is that you don’t need a fancy instructor; after consistent practice, you will know what’s best for you.”

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