Yoga Club provides stress relief at no cost for students, staff

Abby Ann Ramsey, Entertainment Editor

With tests around every corner, extremely heavy class loads, and overall high tensions in the building, Bearden students are always looking for a way to relieve some stress. This year’s new yoga club provides an outlet to do so.

Yoga Club was started by Mrs. Tammy McKibben, who has been taking yoga for more than three years. She and BHS counselor Mrs. Kelly Nash, who practice yoga together, noticed the anxiety in students at Bearden and wanted to find a way to help.

“I saw the benefits that it provided me, and I thought that it would be extremely beneficial for the student body and the faculty at Bearden in mainly managing stress,” Mrs. McKibben said.

They talked to Kristen Evans, an instructor at Blue Ridge Yoga, about what they were trying to do, and Evans offered to teach at the club meetings, free of charge.

Evans has been practicing yoga for more than 15 years and has been a certified instructor for five years. She sees yoga as a great opportunity for anyone and everyone to eliminate stress, especially in a challenging school environment.

“I’ve always been a pretty hyperactive, anxious person, so when I started practicing yoga, it gave me an outlet that helped me to learn how to be a little more still and listen to my body,” Evans said.

Yoga Club is open to anyone and everyone, and any skills can be modified to fit the specific person’s level. The goal is to establish a safe place where everyone can relax and unwind from the pressures of academics.

“Those that have begun practicing have seen the benefits and they have enjoyed the effects of it and just coming together in a nonjudgmental, neutral, relaxed environment,” Mrs. McKibben said.

The club is completely free to students and faculty, while most yoga classes in Knoxville can cost up to $20 a session.

Mrs. McKibben hopes to use the club to give back to the school and community, not just to practice yoga. She wants to be able to gain enough members that they can help out with certain projects, since the club is free, like they recently did by helping raise socks to donate for Virtual Enterprise’s sock drive.

“My ultimate dream would be that we as a community would be giving back to our school in various things,” Mrs. McKibben said.

Yoga can truly reduce stress and anxiety, if students are open to it, which is the main reason Mrs. McKibben and Evans are encouraging participation. Both have already seen the benefits of what the club can do, and cannot wait to see how students feel after joining.

“I think what it has shown me is just the stress that they feel in their body, not just the students, but the teachers at the end of the day, being in school, sitting at a desk, that they really benefit from getting the blood flowing because you don’t get a lot of opportunities to move during the school day,” Evans said.

Students can pick up a permission slip outside Room 411. They are welcome to bring their own mats, but the club can also provide one free of charge.