Students use yoga to learn to calm down and raise their self-esteem

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COLUMBIA - The Gentry Middle School parent-teacher association gave students a chance to learn yoga Thursday.

"We're helping them focus on liking themselves," Yoga instructor Kristin Walls said. "It's not all about the tree pose."

THE PTA brought in Walls, the owner of Sunlight Family Yoga, to teach students ways to relax and learn self-appreciation.

She said the yoga helps kids learn new ways to calm down both inside and outside of the classroom.

Max Juengermann, a 7th grader at Gentry Middle School, said he loves how yoga can help him get better on the soccer field.

"It helps me calm myself, and helps me get in touch with my inner self and take out all the distractions." he said.

Juengermann said, now, when he's playing, he knows he can simply ignore the crowd and worry about what he thinks instead.

"Knowing that I don't have to focus on anybody else, just myself and my team, helps us to get the win," he said.

Fairouz Bishara, the principal of Gentry Middle School, said social media has had potentially negative impacts on many students' self esteem.

"They pay so much attention to what other people think of them, and they go to social media and thinks that the amount of likes determines the kind of person you," Bishara said.

She said the yoga program, however, has been a positive experience for students; that it gives them a sense of self-worth, despite outside negativity.

"For them to be able to let go and forget about what others think of them and focus on their bodies and their breathing, is just a great lesson,"  Bishara said.

The program will be hosted at Gentry Middle School again May 3.