Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

January 23, 2013

Yoga class in session at Lockport school

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Some can’t wait for Friday, but there might be a few Charlotte Cross students who are looking forward to Thursdays too.

The school, which houses the city school district’s Lockport Opportunity Projects, is offering a yoga class for students Thursday mornings. So far, students are finding the class beneficial, saying it has not only helped improve their health but self confidence as well.

“It helps relieve stress,” said Jessica Urbanczyk, 16.

The yoga class is a part of STARTS, which stands for Students Taking All Roads To Success, a group of programs designed to increase student awareness of community resources and job opportunities.

The activities are held every Thursday for juniors and seniors, while ninth- and 10th-graders attend Orleans/Niagara BOCES for vocational programs for career exploration. The idea is to expose students to a variety of activities that will allow them to acquire skills and prepares them to be successful and contributing members of the community, said Russell Buckley, director of alternative education for Lockport City Schools.

The response has been great, Buckley said, especially to the yoga.

“The young ladies involved simply love the program,” he said.

Some of the other STARTS programs include the school newspaper, the school store and recycling program. There’s also historical studies through film, where kids watch movies or shows and then discuss them in a classroom setting. Finally, the students in the school and community beautification program do some improvement work around the school and the Lockport area.

Yoga is an exercise system consisting of different physical, mental and spiritual disciplines, originating from ancient India. The idea isn’t just to improve physical health, but the entire person.

The class is run by Susan Holguin, a teacher aide with 20 years of experience practicing yoga. She studied at the Himalayan Institute and has a background in Feng Shui and massage therapy.

With Holguin’s expertise and the students’ interest, the yoga class has exceeded expectations, Buckley said. Some have even started practicing yoga at home.

In class, the group does the usual stretches, poses, meditation and breathing exercises. The key is to relieve body tension, which is helpful in combating stress and anxiety, Holguin said.

But the girls also talk about nutrition and lifestyle choices, as well as other things that may be affecting them personally. The group has grown close since the program started in October, Holguin said.

”We have a real nice bond with each other,” she said.

Buckley said the STARTS programs will continue in the fall.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick

at 439-9222, ext. 6241.

THE CHARLOTTE CROSS STARTS PROGRAM Students earn credit for participating in special activities every Thursday such as, • School newspaper • School store and recycling • Yoga • Neighborhood beautification • Historical studies through film

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241.