UNION COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - One Union County teacher is making the mental health of her students a priority. She started a yoga club at Sardis Elementary School in hopes of teaching children how to redirect their anxieties.
Gay Hudson is a first-grade teacher at Sardis Elementary School. She wanted to start an after-school program and was inspired by a committee she serves on which focuses on the social and emotional development of children.
“[To] teach them a different way to work with their anger, their stress, their anxiety, their ADHD and things like that,” Hudson said. “I was trying to think of a way for them to decompress before they go home. It’s like going from the frying pan to the fire, so just a way to let it all go away.”
She started a yoga club. Students in third through fifth grade can attend yoga club every other week. Michelle Salo instructs the yoga class. She says the yoga class is just like adult yoga classes.
“Yoga is a way to help them turn their thoughts inside and see how they’re feeling and guide their energy to more positive experiences,” Salo said.
Hudson says the students have given positive feedback to yoga club and are already asking if it can be held more frequently.
“When something gets me down or something, I will try to breathe in and breathe out a couple of times and it will make me feel more relaxed,” Student Amaryluzz Sierra said.
“You get lots of stretches which helps your back, so it won’t ache a lot,” Student Michelle Krauz said. “We sit in our desks on the computer a lot and leaned over writing in our notebooks which makes my back ache, and when we have yoga days it just makes my back feel a lot better.”
“I feel really relaxed,” Student Cam Salo said. “I’m crazy at home, but I’m chill here.”
Hudson says they may expand yoga club to first and second grade students next year.