Teacher Explains Benefits Of Yoga
Wolf Point teacher Tressa Welch aims to improve her students’ mental health because she realizes some experience a variety of challenges throughout the day.
Near the end of the school year, Welch had her Native American studies’ students learn about yoga techniques in a way that results in relaxation.
Prior to performing yoga each day, students affirmed the 12 virtues of humility, perseverance, respect, honor, love, sacrifice, truth, compassion, bravery, fortitude, generosity and wisdom.
After leading the students in different yoga movements, Welch explained some of the benefits of the activity.
“When you’re angry or depressed, it helps you with your mental health,” Welch said.
When she asked her students to rank their level of stress this school year between 1-10, students agree on the number 10.
She said she hopes to use the affirmations and similar activities next school year. She feels the movements increase self love and confidence.
“It’s an exercise to help center themselves,” Welch said. “This helps them keep their focus.”
She expresses concern regarding recent comments from Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen to eliminate a state-mandated ratio of school counselors to students in K-12 public schools.
“Native Americans statistics are high, and with Superintendent Arntzen wanting to get rid of counselors, I decided to start implementing healthy coping strategies in case her bill passes,” Welch said. “I am not happy to know that our kids might be without a mental health resource.”
Welch noted that Native Americans have a higher ratio of mental health challenges than other students.
Renee’ Schoening, executive director of the Montana School Counselor Association, was quoted as responding, “We need to have more school counselors, not less. And it needs to be in the [state] standards as a minimum requirement for quality