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West Jordan Middle School using yoga to reduce student stress

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WEST JORDAN — Some students are finding balance with the demands of middle school by trying out yoga during the school's "pride time," which is like a study hall hour.

Just walking into the room at West Jordan Middle School and students feel more relaxed. The group of students is doing yoga poses and different breathing techniques to music.

“Yoga can benefit people on many, many different levels, you know, starting with just the obvious physical level, going inward from there,” said Dr. Olin Levitt, the school’s psychologist who is also a certified yoga instructor.

He’s been doing yoga for decades and is now gathering data on how it’s working for these students, saying it’s helping them be less stressed, less anxious and more mindful as they go about their day at school and home.

Levitt says studies show how much things like yoga and mindfulness are helping students — fewer detentions, better feeling in their school work and their home, less anxiety, less stress.

"You know this is one tool, and you can’t have too many tools in your toolbox. And if yoga or mindfulness mediation are tools that help, why not put them in the toolbox," Levitt said.

Students who show gradual improvement in academics and attitudes throughout the year are treated to an end-of-the-year yoga party where they are given their own yoga mats to continue practicing at home.